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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Guest Post with Author Darcy Burke and Giveaway

Today I would like to welcome to the blog author Darcy Burke. Darcy is celebrating the release of her second novel His Wicked Heart and has stopped by today to talk about The Art of the Grovel. Before I give the floor over to Darcy lets learn a bit about her.

Darcy Burke wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. An RWA Golden Heart® Finalist, Darcy loves all things British (except tomatoes for breakfast, or any other time of day, actually) and happy ever afters.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her devoted husband, their two great kids, and three cats. In her “spare” time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say “no,” but she keeps having to start over. She’s also a fair-weather runner, and her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge.

Places to find Darcy:

The Art of the Grovel

I love me some good groveling in a romance novel, don’t you? If you’re reading about an alpha male, chances are, you’re in for a good grovel. Or two. Or five. I find if there isn’t sufficient groveling, I’m unsatisfied. Although, I will say there are some actions that are so heinous, even mass quantities of groveling will not ameliorate the situation. Cheat on the heroine? Unforgivable fail. Hurt the heroine, children, or any other person who is not the villain with malicious intent? Really hard to get past that. A couple of my very favorite grovels occur in Judith McNaught’s fabulous Almost Heaven. Both the hero and heroine make some really bad decisions and must beg forgiveness. I won’t spoil any of it for you here, but check it out next time you’re in a grovelsome mood.

Speaking of heroines groveling, the heroine of my debut, Her Wicked Ways, gets her grovel on a bit. It’s completely against her nature, but then I guess it typically is for the alpha male/rakehell character, which is what makes the groveling so delicious. (And since Miranda’s a rakehellion, she easily falls into this category.) One of my very favorite movies is Notting Hill. It features a female protag, Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), who treats the male protag rather abominably. Not once, but twice. (Three times if you count the faux obnoxious comments she makes to her costar on the movie set near the end of the film.) The script could’ve done more to show Anna’s motivation for her bad behavior, but Hugh Grant is so fab, I just don’t care. And Anna’s groveling, by way of gifting him with a very famous and very expensive painting (a print of which hangs in his house), is delicious. She says she’s just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her. Awwww! But Hugh, er William, does the right thing and turns her down flat. (Don’t worry, he realizes he’s been a “daft p*ick,” which I actually don’t agree with. He was protecting his heart, as he should.)

I like characters who can (at the right time) admit their bullheadedness / foolishness / utter failure to behave appropriately, as Anna does at the end of Notting Hill and as both Elizabeth and Ian do in various parts of Almost Heaven. My latest release His Wicked Heart, features a hero who doesn't always do the right thing (in an effort to fulfill his father’s image of an ideal son), but who (hopefully!) makes up for it.

But can groveling be overrated? Just like the actions that get the character in trouble, it has to be motivated and work for their character. I mean, can you imagine Scarlett groveling the day after Rhett left her? “Oh, Rhett, please, please give a damn!” Nope, can’t see it.

In the spirit of groveling, here’s an excerpt from His Wicked Heart where Olivia has to face Jasper’s (well-earned) wrath. She’s just attempted a bait and switch scheme wherein she began to seduce Jasper and a prostitute came to take her place. (Read the book to see how they pulled that off!) If she’s smart, she’ll grovel. Read on to see if she does!

Saxton’s eyes were like frost, the flesh around his lips tight and drawn. Olivia moved farther inside and stepped around the table, putting the barrier between them. “Are you going to hurt me?”

He prowled toward her. “You attempted fraud. More disturbingly, you arranged for a stranger to assault me. Don’t you think you deserve some sort of punishment?”

God, she hadn’t thought of it that way. Her belly squeezed with nausea, her limbs shook with shame. She probably deserved something, but couldn’t bring herself to admit it and put herself at his mercy. “No.”

“The law would disagree. I could send for the magistrate.” His body was rigidly calm, without visible sign of agitation, save the savage expression on his face.

Fear wouldn’t help her. She gathered her courage and squared her shoulders. “You could, but we don’t have a contract of any kind, especially if I return your payment.” She strode to the dresser and retrieved her mother’s box. With trembling hands, she withdrew his money and thrust it toward him. “Here.”

He accepted the bills and, without taking his gaze from her, set them on the table. “I don’t want a refund. I want you.”

Olivia moved back behind the table. “I thought a man like you would find one woman as acceptable as the next.”

Heat leapt into the ice of his eyes and his hands fisted. He stood silent a long moment during which Olivia’s heart tried to beat itself right out of her chest. “You couldn’t be more mistaken.” His tone was soft, but razor-sharp. “I’m disappointed you aren’t the least bit contrite, particularly after I helped you the other night. Not to mention your insistence that I trust you.”

Olivia cringed. He’d actually taken her words to heart. If she were in his shoes, she’d demand punishment too. “I’m…sorry.” It sounded pitiful even to her ears.

He shoved the table to the side, eliminating the barrier and stopping just before her. Though he didn’t touch her, he effectively pinned her to the wall. “Regardless, I did trust you. We struck a bargain, and now you are reneging. If you were a man, I would call you out.”

She knew enough of men and their honor to recognize that he wouldn’t hurt her, especially after what he’d just said. He felt betrayed, but she didn’t think he’d resort to violence to seek retribution.

His gaze bored into hers with savage intensity. He was terribly handsome, even in his fury. The already hot room sweltered with the heat coming off his bare chest. Facing him at dawn seemed a palatable notion. She was far more afraid of his ability to seduce her.

Olivia swallowed. “What are you going to do?”

“That depends.” Their impassioned breathing filled the apartment as she waited for his response, every one of her muscles tensely coiled. He speared her with a fierce stare. “Tell me why.”

Though she knew he’d be insulted, she gave him the truth. “I need money, and your offer is my only hope at present. But I didn’t want to lie with you.” She hadn’t, but now, after pretending to seduce him… She could well imagine lying with him. Probably would imagine it for many nights to come.

What’s your favorite grovel scene from a novel or a movie? Is there a book or movie where there wasn’t groveling and you were horribly unsatisfied? One lucky commenter will receive an electronic copy of Her Wicked Ways! Be sure to sign up for my newsletter on my website. New subscribers will be entered to win an advanced copy of my July release, To Seduce a Scoundrel! (Contest ends June 22.)


It’s hard to be respectable…

Jasper Sinclair, Earl of Saxton, made a bargain with the devil—his father—to marry in one month’s time. But instead of declaring his intentions for an acceptable debutante, he indulges his long-buried baser needs by joining a fighting club and pursuing a delectable woman who may not be what she seems. Soon he finds himself battling addictions that threaten his already wicked heart.

When you’d rather be wicked

Orphaned seamstress Olivia West wants the chance to lead an honest, respectable life, but the arrogant Earl of Saxton launches a daunting campaign to make Olivia his mistress. Destitute and desperate, Olivia agrees to one night with the dangerous peer, and draws upon her mother’s courtesan experience to seduce him. After binding and blindfolding him, she brings him to the edge of release, only to switch places with an actual prostitute. However, Jasper detects Olivia’s deception and vows to claim what he’s owed—not his money, her.

Places to Purchase:

Check out the other books in Darcy's series:
Click on cover for more info.

Want to win a eBook copy of Her Wicked Ways1 lucky commenter will win themselves a copy. 

To Enter:
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28 comments :

  1. I can't think of any good grovelling scenes at the moment, but for a serious lack of grovelling - Judith McNaught's Whitney My Love. I read it recently to see what all the fuss was about (should know better) and no way did he grovel enough for everything he'd done.

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    1. YES! While I love Almost Heaven with the fire of a thousand suns, I loathe, loathe Whitney My Love. The anti-grovel! ;) Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I love the grovel scenes in hos to lose a huh in 10 days and sweet home Alabama! I love a good grovel. You grabbed me cant wait to read it!

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    1. Oh, I loooooove Sweet Home Alabama. I really need that on DVD. When I come across it on cable, I can't not watch it. :) (And I'll just say for the record, I don't get the Patrick Dempsey attraction. But Josh Lucas? Yes, please.)

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  3. Yes I just read the book. Paradise by Judith McNaught. I really wanted the father to grovel a whole lot more then he did. I was very disappointed that he really didn't have to do much grovelling at all.

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    1. I haven't read any of her contemporaries. Interesting that the father needed to grovel!

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  4. Wow off the top of my head hard to recall one. Not sure if it's really groveling but the scene in Affair To Remember when Grant finds out that Kerr's character was hurt badly and that's why she didn't meet him. The anger melted away to such sorrow and then such happiness....geesh gets me everytime.

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    1. I'm slightly ashamed to admit I've never actually watched An Affair to Remember, but I've seen Sleepless in Seattle a bunch of times, so I of course know what you're talking about. And I completely agree!

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  5. I like the grovelling scenes in Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire.

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    1. I haven't read that. Thanks for the tip and for stopping by!

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  6. As you just mentioned, I enjoyed the grovel scene in Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught. She combines humor and angst with great dialogue.

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    1. Definitely. I don't know why I love that book so much. My absolute fave scene is when Ian and his grandfather enter the ballroom together. She crafted so much tension, it was awesome.

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  7. I don't know if it's so much a grovel scene as much as maybe a fight/grovel scene from the movie the Notebook... love that movie!

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    1. I haven't seen The Notebook, but I hear it's yummy. :)

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  8. Thanks for a great post and giveaway!

    Ummm... having a complete mind blank on good groveling scenes in books I've read and I know that there have been a few. But for movies, all I can remember is America's Sweethearts when John Cusack gets up in front of the room of media people and says that he was in love w/ Julia Robert's Character and not her more famous actress sister Catherine Zeta Jones.

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    1. America's Sweethearts is such a cute movie! CZJ plays such a witch! ;) Thanks so much for visiting!!

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  9. Love the covers, they look sooooo Delicious!!!! My Favorite Grovel would have to be in The Wife Trap by Tracey Anne Warren, I Love that Series, oh whom am I kidding I Love All her Series. Stephanie Laurens has some great grovels in the Cynster Series as well.

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    1. Thanks, Joy! I have a fantastic cover designer. :) I've read some Stephanie Laurens and yes, great grovels!

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  10. Off the top of my head I am drawing a blank. But after reading some of the above comments I have some things on my list to read and movies to see. I do hate when I feel someone really should give a heartfelt apology and then they get away with some lame little I'm sorry. That just burns me.

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  11. I like Gaelen Foley's grovel scenes.

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  12. I enjoyed the grovel scene in Amanda Quick Novels. I really love her novel, especially when the grovel scene :)

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    1. Oooh, I love Amanda Quick. I have a ton on my keeper shelf. :)

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  13. elizabeth hoyt novels...that all i can say :)

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    1. And that's all you have to say. ;) EH rocks.

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  14. Lady Gallant by Suzanne Robinson - hero was awful but he did some great groveling but I still haven't warmed up to him yet lol, love the heroine though :)

    Thank you for the giveaway!

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