Monday, August 15, 2011

Author Stalking: The Roguish Donna MacMeans


Kat Sheridan


My guest blogger, and I hope future contributor, is Kat Sheridan. She's a good friend (and writer) who recently attended a book signing at Barnes and Noble for Donna MacMeans--another very cool writer. Kat shares her thoughts on Donna's latest book and her experience at Barnes and Noble with us.
  

Let me preface this by saying that over the past year or so, Donna MacMeans and I have become friends, first via her (fabulous!) books and an online chat group for historical romance writers (waving madly at the MR Debutantes!) and then in real life. Those intelligent heroines and deliciously roguish heroes that she writes about? They all have a (more than a little) bit of Donna in them.


In her latest work, Redeeming the Rogue, the central plot is summed up nicely by the hero’s best friend (and intriguing, mysterious, delicious sidekick) Phineas Connor: “Have you considered the absurdity of it all, Rafe? That you, a son of Ireland, are traveling to America to impersonate a British minister in order to catch a fellow Irishman?”

In Redeeming the Rogue, Michael (Rafe) Rafferty is an Irishman working as an agent for the Crown to develop a peaceful, political solution to the question of Irish Home Rule. Ranged against Rafferty are the Home Rule League and the Fenians, who killed his parents and believe violence is the only way to achieve Irish independence. Rafferty, with his network of street urchin spies, is more at home in the rough alleys and taverns of London than in its ballrooms. Unfortunately, the new role he’s been asked to play requires more polish.

It also requires someone to play his hostess. And that “someone” would best be a wife.

Lady Arianne Chambers, the daughter and sister of a duke, has lived her whole life in diplomatic circles. Polish, politics, and protocol are in her blood. But like Rafferty, there are secrets in her past and she has very good reasons for wanting to escape London and head to Washington DC with her reluctant, recalcitrant, delightfully roguish protégé. 

I loved that this sensual, sexy, and slyly funny romance included a solid mystery and interesting plot to drive the story. The historical scaffolding on which Donna builds the romance doesn’t overwhelm the central love story, but provides a solid framework for it. Rafferty and Lady Arianne feel like real people. My heart broke right along with Lady Arianne’s (yes, 2:00 in the morning, I’m flipping pages as fast I can and crying my eyes out). Just as she did, I fell in love with Rafferty. And of course, because this is romance, the ending made my heart go pitty-pat. Le sigh.

I had the great fortune of attending my first ever book signing to get my autographed copy of Redeeming the Rogue. Donna’s logo/motif/signature is a peacock feather. She stamps one in every book she signs, and gives you a real one. Since I was a book signing virgin, I’d emailed her to ask what the protocol was. Donna was the Lady Arianne to my rough and unready Rafferty.  I asked Donna: “Will there be readings? Is this a white tie affair? Should I wear my tiara? Is it BYOB? Most importantly, will there be cupcakes?”

No, there weren’t readings (although I understand she thought her fellow co-signer, the delightful Susan Gee Heino would be good at that). Casual attire was fine, but since Donna is well known for her to-die-for feather Victorian hat, we decided the tiara would be fine (have you ever worn a tiara in a crowded Barnes & Noble on a Saturday afternoon? The trick is to act with aplomb, as if it’s perfectly normal, and NOT as if one is on a day pass from a nearby “facility” for the off-kilter).

We did discuss if the final “B” in BYOB stood for books (it’s tacky to bring your own from home—support your bookstore and buy your copy there), or if it stood for bourbon (sadly, liquid refreshments are frowned on in bookstores). Also sadly, the “B” did not stand for “baked goods”, in spite of my fervent hope there would be cupcakes. Because Donna always strives to please her fans, she did add a pink cupcake stamp alongside her usual green peacock feather, just for me!

I hope you grab your copy of Redeeming the Rogue by Donna Macmeans and settle in for a read that will have you cheering and crying and smiling and falling in love (best served with an icy Manhattan. And cupcakes).

Have you ever been to a book signing, either as an author or (slightly rabid) fan? What was it like? Most importantly, were there cupcakes?




Kat Sheridan is an aspiring author, fond of shiny things and bourbon. http://katsheridan.wordpress.com/

25 comments:

Enid Wilson said...

That's a lovely autographed copy. I love the book cover and plot. It seems very intriguing.

Every Savage Can Reproduce

ptbertram said...

Kat, I love the photo of you and Donna. You look like sisters. I've never done a book signing at a store, nor have I ever gone to one, at least I don't think I have. I'm sure I'd remember cupcakes!

Other Lisa said...

I've done book signings where we had wine, which was pretty awesome! I don't think there have ever been cupcakes though...

Kat Sheridan said...

Sia, thank you so much for allowing me to commandeer..er..guest on your blog! Pat B, Donna would definitely be the sensible sister. And Lisa, I want to come to YOUR book signings.

I also forgot to mention that Redeeming the Rogue is book 3 in the Chambers Trilogy. Book #1 is The Education of Mrs. Brimley, an book #2 is The Seduction of a Duke. Each one stands alone, but all of them are fabulous!

Kat Sheridan said...

Enid, I didn't provide a picture of her regular signature. Every book she signs has her tradmark peacock feather in green stamped over the signature. It's tres elegante.

Tonya said...

Donna is GREAT! I'm fortunate enough to be in the same RWA chapter with her and it's a hoot. We also do a lot of the same local conferences. She's super amazing!

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog, Kat! Loved Donna's book.

Rose Maybud

Judi Fennell said...

I'd say "only you would wear a tiara to a book signing," but that's something I'd do, too. :)

Kat Sheridan said...

Tonya, I used to belong to the same chapter! And yes, Donna is so much fun! And Rose, glad you enjoyed it!

Judi, the difference between us is that you would wear a tiara as an author signing books, in much the same way Donna wears her lovely Victorian chapeau. It would be a signature look for you. But I'm betting you wouldn't wear if you were just a fangirl wandering around getting autographs.

This is where I should mention that a few weeks ago I went to have lunch with some ladies I'd never met before. Other people might carry a rose or a book as a recognition signal. I wore the tiara. Because yes, I AM the sort of nut who wears tiaras in quiet little cafes!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Morning, all. Just dashing in to refill the goodies on the bar and make sure there is plenty of coffee.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Lisa, I really want to go to one of your book signings! Who knows, maybe you'll get to St Louis this time and I can. :-)

James Rafferty said...

Hi, Kat. I'm highly amused to see that the lead character of Donna's book is the rogue Michael Rafferty. Among my ancestors, a man by that exact name is rumored to be the one who decided to forsake the emerald isle for a stateside residence, which of course led to establishing our branch of the family here.

Sounds like my family would have a lot of fun with this book. It also reminds me a bit of a short story that I wrote, which also features sons of Ireland in the US.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Kat,
Thanx for a lovely post about our Lovely Victorian Bandita! Yes, Donna is a founding member. In fact, if you go waaay waaaay back in time, you will discover that Donna was the first to bring up a group blog to the 06 Packers. ;-) Donna can also often be seen with the Golden Rooster at readers and writers events.

Unfortunately, the only book signing I've done with her is the Literacy signing and even though we are fairly close in the alphabet, we were still several tables apart. :-(

BTW, last summer I did a book signing at a local winery. It was a HOOT! Hmmm, they didn't invite me (or any other local authors) back this year...

AC

Kat Sheridan said...

James, I thought perhaps you might enjoy the hero's name! It takes an Irish devil to know one!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Aunty, were you imbibing the wine? Y'all got wild with laughter didn't you?

Kat Sheridan said...

Loucinda, Donna is a natural born instigator. And the book signing at a winery sounds like a great idea! What a way to lure in readers!

~Sia McKye~ said...

James, I thought of you when I read the synopsis of this book, lol! I'm not at all surprised at the roguish part either. Seems to have continued in the Rafferty line. Just sayin' lololol!

Isis Rushdan said...

Sia, thanks for swinging by my blog. Figured I'd say hi since you left the link, and follow you :)!

Kat, unfortunately I haven't been to a book signing. I have heard horror stories as well as a few a dream come true stories from other writers. No one ever mentioned cupcakes.

Donna MacMeans said...

Kat - FIrst let me give you a big fat MWAH! sloppy kiss. What a wonderful gift that you used the blog to review my book.

Ptbertram - You're right! We could be sisters - what a hoot that family reunion would be!

Other Lisa - I love the idea of a book signing at a winery! I'm not sure I'd get to drink much as I'm a bit of a talker at these signings, but afterward - whoa momma! Yeah - like this idea a lot!

Tonya & Rose - waving madly - love you too

Judi - You could carry it off, girl. You know that. I think RWA should require suitable headware at the literacy signings. Wouldn't that be a hoot! Hmmm...who do I know on the board...

Donna MacMeans said...

James Rafferty - How cool is that? You know, I went through a number of names for this character and none of them clicked till I hit Rafferty. Are you a rogue as well? LOL.

Sia - Waving madly - hope you're feeling better. I know you were under the weather for a bit.

AC - how cool to find you here! I may have suggested we form a blog but you were the one that made it happen. Kudos to you and all the Romance Bandits.

Isis - I hope you go to an author's signing sometime. I'm always paranoid that no one will come to mine - which is why I was so glad that Kat came. I was so honored to be her first...wait...that doesn't sound right. I think I owe her a downright edible cupcake for writing this blog.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Donna, this blog was a great idea and all Kat's. Having her around is loads of fun and so I'm glad she was able to be there with you.

I love the picture too--how many can say their friends wear tiaras and feather hats? and I've been around watching you and your hats--which always make me giggle. It's like you put on a hat and it lets *little* Donna come out and play, lol!

And I love the Banditas--I need to get a couple of more you for next month. You make the blog so much fun.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Isis, I really enjoyed your review today on the latest Harry Potter movie. Thanks for stopping by and for the *follow*!

James Rafferty said...

Donna, all of our Raffertys have our roguish moments. ;-)

I'll have to check out the book and see how well this man carries the family name.

Kat Sheridan said...

Isis, I always found some excuse not to go to a book signing. Too far away, wrong time of day, needed a nap, etc. But I know authors are so often afraid of just being left there all alone looking like some sort of desperate decoration. I couldn't let that happen. Turned out Donna (and Susan) had quite the crowd of supporters. I took to dragooning total strangers who made the mistake of stopping to gawk (even if they said they didn't read romance, I convinced one or two that an autographed book would be a great Christmas gift for that difficult auntie or grandma! Try it, Isis. Some author will be so grateful!

Talli Roland said...

Sounds fantastic! I do love the Irish... :)