Saturday, March 7, 2015

Erica Ridley, guest author

Ana presents romance author Erica Ridley

Tell us about the Dukes of War, and The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress.

The Dukes of War historical romance series features roguish peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England.

Captain Xavier Grey returned from the Napoleonic Wars a hairsbreadth away from catatonic. No one knows what happened but him, and Xavier isn’t saying a word. He flees London for the countryside, intending to spend the rest of his days alone in his small cottage.

Jane Downing is a wallflower with a serious book habit and well-honed inner snark. She’s tired of being invisible, and sets out to turn the man of her dreams into her real life lover. She lands on Xavier’s doorstep just in time for the snowstorm of the season.

Captain Grey suddenly finds himself snowbound with a bluestocking. And she has an unbelievably tempting plan for heating up the winter nights...

How do you deal with writer’s block?

If I'm blocked because a scene isn't working or I literally have no idea what should happen next, that usually means I'm way too close to the project and need to take a step back. More often than not, going on a long walk will jog something loose in my brain and let me see where the story needs to go.

Other times, taking my mind off of the problem completely—such as going on a Netflix or TBR binge—provides me with the right amount of distance to find my own answers.

However. If I know exactly what I need to do next but I just don't "feel" like writing, that is not an excuse to spend the next four hours with someone else's characters. I sit myself down in front of the computer and force myself to keep going, no matter how slow and painful it might be. It might take minutes or it might take days, but eventually I'll get my mojo back.

Sometimes the only trick to keeping going is just not stopping.

Who or what helped you along the way to publishing?

Joining the Romance Writers of America was the smartest thing I could’ve done. Through workshops from my local chapter, I learned so much about the publishing industry and the craft of writing. Romance authors tend to be wonderful about helping each other out, so networking at conferences often turns into lifelong friendships. I met my literary agent, Lauren Abramo of Dystel & Goderich, the old fashioned way—query letters and postal mail—and she has also been an invaluable resource and a great friend.

What do you do to relax?

I live on a macadamia farm in the rainforests of Costa Rica, so I can’t help but relax when I’m not writing! My front balcony has a rocking chair and a view of a volcano, and my side balcony has a hammock and a view of the largest lake in the country. Before moving to Costa Rica, I was an avid scrapbooker. Now I’m more likely to be found hiking in the middle of the jungle or relaxing on the beach.

Erica will give one lucky commenter a free copy of The Earl's Defiant Wallflower. Be sure to include your email address with your comment.

Excerpt from The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress

When Captain Xavier Grey finds himself snowbound with a sultry bluestocking intent on seduction, he does what any honorable soldier would do: He tries to make her think of him as “just a friend.” Failing that, he figures he can at least distract her attention with the dusty old library he hasn’t laid eyes on since leaving for war...

Xavier gritted his teeth. This was Operation Platonic Friendship. He was not to think about the taste of Miss Downing’s mouth or the sway of her hips.
They needed to spend the entirety of the day discussing Wordsworth and Voltaire. Or rather, something less… provocative. He didn’t want to make a good impression. Perhaps he ought to engage her in a lively debate on whether library books were best catalogued by size or color.
“What do you think of my collection?” he found himself asking, instead.
“Well…” She poked her head from around a corner. “The topics are varied enough, but at least half have never been read. The pages aren’t even sliced.”
“You can do the honors, if you’ve found something you’d like to read.” He adjusted a small pillow and stretched out upon the chaise longue. He didn’t much care who sliced the pages, but if offering her the privilege made him seem like a good friend, he’d be happy to lend his knife.
Eyes sparkling, she bounced in place. “I can read anything that I want?”
“As long as it isn’t…” He hesitated. What had she mentioned earlier? Sugar? Shogun? “…shunga scrolls.”
The corners of her mouth quirked. “Nobody reads shunga scrolls. They just look at the pictures.”
He cut her a flat look.
She gave an innocent flutter of eyelashes and selected a book from the shelves. “Lay back down. I’ll read something to you. How about the Odyssey in original Greek?”
He couldn’t even remember purchasing it. “Do you mind if I snore?”
“I hope you do. But I’ll translate aloud in case you manage to stay awake.” Rather than take another chair, she perched at the foot of the chaise longue with her back toward him. “Ahem. Page the first. ‘Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero…’
There. Xavier relaxed his head against the cushion. Nothing could be more respectable.
Or less stimulating. He hadn’t actually intended to snore, but nor had he anticipated the level of mortal dullness in which Miss Downing read aloud. She could not have infused less life into her tone had she merely been counting sheep.
He might have told her not to bother translating, since it wasn’t doing either of them any favors, except he saw no advantage to being rude. His goal was to be perceived as a friend, not the enemy. Enemies could incite passion.
Miss Downing’s monotone could only incite slumber.
After a while, he let his eyelids drift closed. It had been a long, cold night filled with nothing but vivid waking dreams. He had been exhausted from the moment he rolled out of bed. Her tone was pacifying in its relentless uniformity, the words forgettable and relaxing.
He almost didn’t notice when she skipped from Calypso to Circe in the space of a breath. Her low words droned on without hitch. His eyes flew open. How could she have turned thirty pages at once without noticing? How could she have skipped the Trojan horse without noticing?
Sleep forgotten, he propped himself up on one elbow to glance over her shoulder at the text.
And roared. “What the devil are you reading, woman?”
She jumped, her cheeks flushing a rosy pink. “You said I might read whatever I wished.”
“You said you were reading the Odyssey!”
“I said I would read you the Odyssey.” She motioned him back to his pillow. “I’m reading something else.”
“That’s not ‘something else.’” Heart galloping, he reached for the book.
She held it aloft with her other hand. “You can’t have it. I’m right in the middle.”
“Absolutely not. That’s The Memoirs of Fanny Hill, and it’s not fit for human eyes,” he ground out.
Her brows arched. “Then why do you have it?”
“Because I’m inhuman! Give me the damn book or I’ll—”
“Oh, lay back down. You were almost asleep. I’ve already read most of what you’re afraid of, so there’s not much harm in reading the rest.”
He collapsed back against the chaise and covered his face with his hands. No wonder the woman’s storytelling abilities had been execrable. She’d been quoting from memory whilst reading an entirely different story. One in which an innocent country miss was procured by a bawdyhouse madam and then descended into a life of erotic abandon.
“What part are you at now?” he rasped, his throat dry. 

The Captain's Bluestocking Mistress is on sale for 99 cents right now at

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Author Bio
Erica Ridley learned to read when she was three, which was about the same time she decided to be a writer when she grew up.
Now, Erica is a USA Today best-selling author of historical romance novels. Her latest series, The Dukes of War, features roguish peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England.
When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip- lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.
Facebook: Twitter: Goodreads: 


  1. Great excerpt, Erica. And I'm very envious of the views from your balcony!
    I agree about 'not stopping' - I think that was the only way I managed to complete my latest novel when I felt like giving up!

    1. Congratulations on cpleting your latest novel even when you felt like giving up! I know how hard that can be!!

  2. I have to confess I've never read historial romance, but this extract has certainly whetted my appetite. I'd love to read more.

    1. Yay! I hope you give historical romance a try!

  3. Hi Erica!

    Thanks for being at Heroines with Hearts today!

    I loved your line about Jane having a 'serious book habit'. I can totally relate!

    And, wow, from your bio, you sound like a very adventurous lady! :)

    1. Thank you! I'm so happy to be at Heroines With Hearts!

  4. Hi Erica, welcome to HWH. My daughter just returned from a vacation to Costa Rica and it sounds like a beautiful country. You're so lucky to have such lovely landscape as inspiration!

    1. I hope your daughter had a wonderful time in Costa Rica!!

    2. She loved it and the pictures were beautiful!

  5. I love Erica, I love this series!!!

  6. I love Erica, I love this series!!!

  7. Jane is an amazing heroine. Xavier has no chance!
    jmcgaugh (at) semo (dot) edu

  8. Congratulations to the winner of Erica's free book: Margaret Mayo!