Feb 262014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!
I am excited to have Carol here today! Technically her books are not cozies as India is an agent of Her Majesty’s Government but these mysteries are full of humor, romantic tension and fantastic characters. If you like your cozies that take you back in time or across the pond you will love India Black.

Carol GB

KEEPING IT FRESH
by Carol K. Carr

            I’m four novels into the India Black series, and I’m not tired of her yet. Or of Lachlan French, Vincent, the Marchioness or any other of the series characters I’ve introduced. That may seem like an odd thing to say, but authors do grow weary of their creations. Arthur Conan Doyle famously killed off Sherlock Holmes only to bring him back several years later, in part because Doyle got tired of being harassed about Sherlock’s untimely demise by fans of the detective.india black and the gentleman thief

            But just because I say I’m not tired of India doesn’t mean that I think she should never change. We all grow and develop, even as adults, and while India would declare that she is perfect just as she is, she must also stretch her wings a little or we’ll all get bored.

            So, how to keep India interesting? Some things are easy. I’ll send her off to South Africa with French, posing as missionaries. The very idea tickles me. The comedic possibilities boggle the mind. My mind, anyway. Because what could be more amusing than a, ahem, brothel owner masquerading as a daughter of the church?

            I can also put India in circumstances that make her uncomfortable. She’s my character, after all, and I can do what I like. India claims she doesn’t possess the emotions typically sported by the average human, so why not put that premise to the test? Will she admit to a growing fondness for the Marchioness, or mistake that unsettling feeling for indigestion?

            And then there’s the painful, even tortured, relationship India shares with French. That has to move along soon. I don’t want the readers to get restless. Has the tease gone on long enough? Probably. But don’t anticipate a future of white picket fences and (shudder) children for the two of them. India wouldn’t be India if she meekly accepted the role of Victorian wife. I almost feel sorry for poor French.

Well, there are a few ideas for keeping India fresh. I hope you’ll all be around for future installments.

Thank you, Lori, for the opportunity to appear as a guest on your blog.

You can read all about India, French and the gang at www.carolkcarr.com

~Carol

Thank you Carol for visiting today!! I hope you will visit again soon!!


india black and the gentleman thief
India Black and the Gentleman Thief
(A Madam of Espionage Mystery)

4th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (February 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Alan Ayers
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262481
E-Book File Size: 1262 KB
ASIN: B00DMCV1PQ
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India Black’s double life operating a high-class brothel and running high-stakes espionage for Her Majesty’s government can take its toll. But there’s no rest for the weary—particularly when an international conspiracy comes knocking…

India Black is one of Victorian London’s most respected madams—not a bloody postmistress. So when Colonel Francis Mayhew forwards a seemingly innocuous shipping bill to her address, she’s puzzled. And when three thugs bust down her door, steal the envelope, and rough up both her and fellow agent French…well, that’s enough to make India Black see red.

The veteran spies soon discover that Mayhew has been butchered in his own bedroom. An impromptu investigation leads them to London’s docks, where India makes a startling discovery she can’t bear to tell the rakish French—she has a history with their chief suspect, the gentleman thief who once stole her heart…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Each story is better than the last and Carr’s writing and her characters continue to evolve. India is the madam of Lotus House, a London brothel, where gentleman of of very high rank in government and military are welcomed daily.  She has grown from just a madam to work as an agent for Her Majesty’s Government with full approval of the prime minister while maintaining the brothel. It makes a great cover.  I have loved India Black since the start but the India in this story starts to let her guard down just a bit. The tension both romantic and in general between India and French is reaching a peak. We also learn more about India’s past and French’s too. Having the Marchioness of Tullibardine and her entourage underfoot at Lotus House gives the story a whole new dimension and even makes Vincent shine.

The  story is full of action as India, French and Vincent travel from the War Office to the dirty, gritty docks and around the English countryside trying to catch a killer and stop a international smuggling ring.  They find themselves in some quite precarious situations.

What I love about these stories is these fantastic characters are all unique and even facing serious danger their personalities continue shine through. India is a very stubborn woman, French puts up with her and does his best to keep her safe. Their dialogue is full of sarcasm and wit and at times had me laughing out loud.

We met the marchioness in India Black and the Widow of Windsor and the gentleman thief connects to the short story India Black and the Rajah’s Ruby,which is a prequel to the series. The stories take place in pretty quick succession. We are given just a hint as to what India and French will be up to in the next installment as this story ends. To truly enjoy this series it should be read in order.

A truly great series I recommend highly.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Erika for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End March 12, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Feb 212013
 

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Carol has just added 3 signed copies to the giveaway and her publicist is providing another copy too!

THAT’S A TOTAL OF 6 COPIES OF


Just scroll down and click the link for the entry form!!!

Carol writes the Madam of Espionage Mysteries featuring India Black.
This series has me hooked. The previous book in this series India Black and the Widow of Windsor made by Best Reads of 2011 list.

I am thrilled to Welcome Carol back to Escape With Dollycas!

CKCarr-2x2Thanks for the opportunity to do this guest post, Lori. India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy is the third book in the “India Black, Madam of Espionage” series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. I’ve just submitted the manuscript of the fourth novel to my editor. Publication is planned for February, 2014.

Personally, I love a good series. There’s the delight of discovering the first book and the pleasurable anticipation in waiting for the next one, and (dare I mention this?) the crushing disappointment when the author fails to meet your expectations. So how does a writer keep things fresh for readers? How does she keep things fresh for herself? Because (and do I really dare mention this?) sometimes the author can become bored, too.

The most famous example of a writer growing tired of his creation is no doubt Arthur Conan Doyle, who grew so weary of Sherlock Holmes that he sent him over the Reichenbach Falls. Even dense Dr. Watson could have detected that Doyle needed a change when that happened. However, Doyle had to resurrect his hero when the public demanded more Holmes.

india black shadows of anarchyYou can definitely carry on a series for too long. Somewhere, on a site that shall remain nameless, I stumbled across a page called “Authors Who Should Have Quit By Now.” Yep, it’s about series which have continued past their sell-by dates. (By the way, when I was trying to find that page, I typed in “writers who” and up popped “smoke weed.” People are weird.) Anyway, back to the question at hand – how to avoid becoming an AWSHQBN. Four books into my series and I’m giving that issue some serious thought. As always, I turn to the experts: writers I enjoy who have written successful series over a period of years. Here are some of the methods they use, some of which I’m considering for use in my series.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: I know, that seems obvious. Who wants to read about a character that remains static over twenty years, no change in marital status, drinking habits, or hairstyles? But hang on a minute. The familiarity of a character is quite frequently what attracts a reader to a series. They don’t want their hero to change. They’d be disappointed if Stephanie Plum became a nun or Kay Scarpetta picked up a golf club, unless she’s going to wield it against a serial killer. The trick is to introduce just enough change in the character’s life to keep things interesting for the reader. And it goes without saying that that change has to be consistent with the character’s, er, character. I don’t think any readers expect India Black to settle down and become a housewife, obsessing over flower arrangements and doing needlepoint. But she does need a few changes in her life from time to time, just to keep her on her toes. Some big changes will be coming her way in the fourth book next year.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Some authors keep boredom away by dropping their heroines into new locales. It doesn’t have to be exotic, although that’s fun. Just depositing your character into a place that is unfamiliar provides an opportunity for your character to stretch a bit, in terms of how she deals with a new environment. Think of Mary Russell in Palestine, or Jack Reacher wandering the backroads of America. I’m going to use this tactic myself, if the publisher wants a fifth India Black. It is time for her to get out of London and head for the Dark Continent, which offers me the chance to write about one of my favorite historical subjects (British colonial history), countries (South Africa) and incidents (the Battle of Rorke’s Drift).

SEX (OR NOT): This one is problematic. Writers use sex for lots of reasons. It moves the relationship along between characters. It can be a mistake the character has to confront. It can be an affirmative, life-changing experience for the character. It may also increase book sales. (Ten points for you if Shades of Grey just popped into your head). But beware if you have included a romantic aspect to your series. You have entered a minefield. Tread carefully. Especially if you’ve made your heroine a prickly, proud and independent woman. My character India Black has a thing for the prim and proper French. They spar and flirt and strike sparks off each other. Will they ever do it? Yes. No. Maybe. I like the tease and the sexual tension. Lots of readers do. But at some point the tease goes on too long, and then you become exasperated with those two dolts who should just get it over with and clear the air. And then what? Where’s the sexual tension? Can you keep it alive? Do you want to? I doff my hat to Elizabeth Peters, who handled this subject perfectly. Even after her heroine Amelia Peabody married Radcliffe Emerson, the two continued to generate heat. It’s a rare accomplishment. Not being Ms. Peters, I shudder every time I think about how to handle this issue in my series.

These are just a few of the things I’ve been mulling over as I try to deliver a series that retains its essential characters and characteristics, yet remains lively and creative. If any of you have any ideas about how to do this, I’d appreciate your comments. Thanks again, Lori, for the opportunity to speak to your readers.

india black shadows of anarchy

India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy
(A Madam of Espionage Mystery)

3rd in Series
Historical Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Company (February 5, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Alan Ayers
Cover Design by Rita Frangie
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425255957
E-Book File Size: 679 KB
ASIN: B0099CGJHI

India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy

In Victorian London, India Black has all the attributes a high-class madam needs to run a successful brothel–wit, beauty, and an ability to lie with a smile. Luckily for Her Majesty’s Government, all these talents also make her a first-rate spy…

Revolt has spread across Europe and has now reached England. Anarchists have begun assassinating lords and earls. Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (Dizzy) has sent for India Black. He believes she is ready to handle an assignment on her own. He wants her to infiltrate the underground group he believes is responsible for the attacks. To stop their deadly plot she will travel from the poorest regions of London to the highest levels of society. All in attempt to uncover the secrets that threaten her very existence.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Carol K. Carr is an amazing storyteller, just Amazing! She takes us back to the Victorian Era and immerses us in the political and social cultures and wraps it with mystery, intrigue, and humor in her own unique writing style.

India Black is a strong, savvy, cheeky protagonist. French appears later in this story and some of the secrets of his life are starting to be revealed as are the secrets to India’s past. Their romantic tension is slowly building with hopes of a real romance. Vincent is a very colorful character. The anarchists are quite an unconventional group. One is just downright strange.

The main mystery is carefully plotted and full of surprises. India places herself in some very dangerous situations and more than once I thought she might be meeting her maker.

Carr keeps us on the edge of seats one minute to laughing out loud the next. I feel like I am watching a movie rather than reading a book. In my review of India Black and the Widow of Windsor  I said “her words are like a thousand pictures” and that is even more true with these story. You can hear the door creaks, the rats running through the alleys, the thump as India hits the ground and the splash of the water. Pictures are painted in your mind vividly. You see the squalor of Seven Dials, the bints favorite yellow dress and all of India’s finery. You can smell the stench being emitted from Vincent and almost taste what Mrs. Drinkwater tries to pass off as edible food.  

The author also leaves us a bit of a cliffhanger to tempt us as we wait for the next India Black adventure. I can’t wait foe the next Madam of Espionage Mystery.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out all about Carol K. Carr and her books here.

Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
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Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Contest Will End March 7, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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