Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday Tales: Hidden Paradise by Janet Mullany (Giveaway)

Thanks so much for having me visit today!

I think it’s fascinating to think about how ideas for books evolve. Some of my books have started from a visual image—for instance, my first book Dedication, (2005, rewritten and reissued earlier this year by LooseId) started with the image of a man knocking at the door of a London house in Regency London. Others have started with a first line: She turned me into a frog (the opening line of Little To Hex Her in the anthology Bespelling Jane), Sometimes the title comes first, as was the case of all my Regency chicklits written for Little Black Dress.

When I first started writing Hidden Paradise I had a vague idea that I wanted to draw together a lot of elements in my writing. It was contracted as a contemporary erotic romance for the Spice line, which has now ended (apparently I am the kiss of death to lines) and I knew I wanted to write a hot book with a relatively large cast of characters that brought together the Jane Austen elements I’ve written elsewhere and my love of the Regency. So I created a cast of characters who were in an isolated environment—a popular literary device—and waited to see who would do what to whom.

Goodness, they were badly behaved.

Now the idea of the Regency reenactment house is not a new one either; there was a documentary series made in 2004 by British TV, the Regency House Party, where participants were given Regency identities and had to form romantic connections. It didn’t work too well. Sure, the setting was gorgeous but the women, and a few of the men, found the restrictions a little too much and were very bored. One of the eligible bachelors fell for one of the chaperones which was not in the plan! So I came up with a setting and clothes that were beautiful and authentic, but with some modern conveniences (such as plumbing) so characters were not continually agonizing over their armpits or grossed out by chamber pots. I also became fascinated with how Paradise Hall would run: who’d look after the clothes, cook and serve the food, perform the day to day running of what is essentially a resort hotel. There’s a lot in the book about servants, in particular Rob, the head footman (also known as Hero #2) and the relationship between upstairs and downstairs.

If you had the chance for a getaway in a Regency setting, what would you enjoy most? The setting, the dancing, the handsome men in their great Regency outfits? How authentically would you like to live?

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Janet Mullany, granddaughter of an Edwardian housemaid, was born in England but now lives near Washington, DC. Her debut book was Dedication, the only Signet Regency to have two bondage scenes (and which was reissued with even more sex in April 2012 from Loose-Id). Her next book, The Rules of Gentility (HarperCollins 2007) was acquired by Little Black Dress (UK) for whom she wrote three more Regency chicklits, A Most Lamentable Comedy, Improper Relations, and Mr. Bishop and the Actress. Her career as a writer who does terrible things to Jane Austen began in 2010 with the publication of Jane and the Damned (HarperCollins), and Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion (2011) about Jane as a vampire, and a modern retelling of Emma, Little to Hex Her, in the anthology Bespelling Jane Austen headlined by Mary Balogh. She also writes contemporary erotic fiction for Harlequin, Tell Me More (2011) and Hidden Paradise (September, 2012).

Twitter @Janet_Mullany

Hidden Paradise
by Janet Mullany


Louisa Connelly, a recently widowed Jane Austen scholar, needs some relief from her stifling world. When a friend calls to offer her a temporary escape from her Montana ranch, she is whisked into a dizzying world of sumptuous food, flowing wine...and endless temptation. 
 She's an honored guest at Paradise Hall, an English resort boasting the full experience of an authentic Georgian country-house weekend. Liveried servants tend to the every need of houseguests clad in meticulous period costume: snug breeches, low-cut silken gowns and negligible undergarments. 
It's Mac Salazar, a journalist immersing himself fully, deeply, lustily in the naughty pleasures of upstairs-downstairs dalliances, who piques Louisa's curiosity-and libido-most. He's a dilettante straight out of a novel: uninhibited, unapologetic and nearly insatiable. But Lou's not romantic about this much, at least: Paradise Hall is a gorgeous fantasy, nothing more. A lover like Mac is pure fiction. And the real world beckons....


[Rob the footman after dinner in the drawing room]

The pianist played a final chord and during the applause Rob opened the door and ushered in Dejan and Ivan and their trays. Neither Peter nor Chris was present, which was unusual, and the guests looked a little drunk, which was not unusual at all. At least Lou was pretty much sober tonight. She was sitting next to one of the guys who messed around with the plaster and paint, talking to him with great animation. Mac, meanwhile, across the room, gazed at her, and Rob wondered why he didn’t just go and talk to her. Like poor old Peter had done, clumsily touching him and gazing at him like some sort of pathetic spaniel. It wasn’t the first time a gay guy had propositioned him—it happened, no big deal—but it was a big deal when it was your boss and he looked so sad and scared. Hell, he was even older than Rob’s dad, and he felt more pity for Peter than he could for his own father.

“Tea, ma’am?” he said to Lou.

She took a cup from the tray without even noticing him. “Sixteen layers!” she said to the decorating guy. Jon Nesbitt, that was his name.

“You’ll have to come and look at my samples,” Jon said in his plummy posh voice. Would Rob talk like that, too, after Cambridge?

“Oh, I’d love to.”

Christ, she was practically having an orgasm about looking at paint layers or whatever she was planning to do. He moved the tray away before Jon could take a cup and went to the next guest, the one Downstairs voted most likely to put out. Unfortunately, she also tied for the honor of most annoying and demanding.

“Hi, Rob.” Sarah took a cup of coffee. “Is this organic?”

“Absolutely. And fair trade. Tastes nice, too,” he said vaguely, staring straight into her cleavage. He couldn’t help it. It was just there, all ripe and pillowy and gorgeous with its mysterious deep shadow, and she was sitting and he was standing, and if he wasn’t careful he’d tip half a dozen cups of tea and coffee into its depths.

Janet will pledge $1 for every comment made on the blog tour to Heifer International (which has absolutely nothing to do with the book but is one of her favorite nonprofits), up to $250.  Additionally, she'll award the choice of the following eBooks from her backlist to one randomly drawn commenter at every stop:  Forbidden Shores (erotic historical romance w/a Jane Lockwood), or Tell Me More (contemporary erotica) or The Rules of Gentility (funny sexy Regency).  Follow the tour for more chacnces to enter:


  1. Hi there, thanks for having me visit and allowing me to ramble on about my books.

  2. I loved the regency period. I would love everything about it. I wouldn't even mind the chamber pots.

    Your story sounds like such fun. it will be interesting to see how each person reacts.

  3. I have absolutely no rhythm and I am a notorious wallflower, so a ball would be hell for me! I think I'd be more comfortable in a country house setting where walks and horseback riding were more the norm. I'm also not a fan of dresses, but for a trip to the Regency, I would make an exception;)

    Congrats on your release, Janet!

  4. Hi MomJane and Charlotte, thanks for stopping by. I think the idea of spending time in a historical setting is very attractive--particularly if you have a lot of servants to do the hard work! Charlotte, I like getting dressed up in Regency clothes. I find my Regency stays are more comfortable than a bra; there's a bit of arm movement restriction but they give lots of support and you feel very graceful in the gown.

  5. I'd enjoy all of the above.


  6. That is one smoking cover. The book has me intrigued. I haven't ever heard of a story line like this and it is hard to find a unique storyline. I will definitely be checking this out!

  7. What an awesome initiative! Congrats!

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Looking forward to getting this book.

    sdunavan at frontier dot com

  10. Hi Janet (and Carrie Ann)! Janet, thank you so much for your great information on how you write in your guest post as well as your great story. As a closet writer, I learn so much from kind and talented people like you!