Thursday, December 26, 2013

Venice in the Moonlight by Elizabeth McKenna (Guest Post/Giveaway)

We hope that every one of our readers had a wonderful Christmas (or just an awesome hump day if you don't observe this holiday *wink*)! Today we are welcoming author Elizabeth McKenna, who is joining us with some delicious hero inspiration and her book, Venice in the Moonlight!

Lusting After Your Hero

My first novel, Cera’s Place, is set in post-Civil War San Francisco. It features a feisty saloon owner named Cera and a war-weary soldier named Jake. When I created my first hero for what I hoped would be a long fiction writing career, I went with my ideal man – the rugged cowboy type. I pictured Aragorn, Viggo Mortensen’s character in Lord of the Rings, in all his sweaty, tangled hair glory.

(Why not Viggo as Frank Hopkins in Hidalgo, you ask? I don’t know. He was sexier in Lord of the Rings.)

I enjoyed the FOUR years I spent writing about Jake and didn’t want to see him go, but I had to move on. So, I said goodbye to post-Civil War San Francisco and hello to eighteenth century Venice for my second novel, Venice in the Moonlight. 

With crumbling Venice as the backdrop and the beautiful women’s fashions of the eighteenth century, I thought I had the perfect setting for romance, but I soon discovered I didn’t like the men’s fashions of this era. How can a man be sexy in stockings? I could get behind my hero Nico Foscari’s personality – who doesn’t love a charming rake – but every time I pictured him, my libido said, yeah, ok, whatever.

I needed inspiration, and a Google search for Italian men did the trick. 

I don’t know his real name, but to me, he is my Venetian hero. Finally, I was in lust. Of course, I only imagine him from the thighs up, preferably in a white open-faced shirt. But at least now when I think of Nico and my heart races and my skin flushes, I know it’s not just another menopausal hot flash!

I hope you enjoy reading my historical romances and that my heroes make you snap open your fan and say, “Ooh-la-la!”

Take care,
Elizabeth McKenna

Venice in the Moonlight by Elizabeth McKenna
Amazon | Kindle | B&N | ARe
A Story of Vengeance, Forgiveness, and Love

Considered useless by his cold-hearted father, Nico Foscari, eldest son of one of the founding families in Venice, hides his pain behind gambling, drinking and womanizing.
After her husband’s untimely demise, Marietta Gatti returns to her hometown of Venice in hopes of starting a new life and finding the happiness that was missing in her forced marriage.When Fate throws them together, friendship begins to grow into love until Marietta learns a Foscari family secret that may have cost her father his life. Now, she must choose between vengeance, forgiveness, and love.
Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel takes you back to eighteenth century Carnival, where lovers meet discreetly, and masks make everyone equal.

Venice in the Moonlight Excerpt

Nico shrugged in the French wingback chair they had placed by the fireplace for his portrait. He looked regal in a black silk suit trimmed in gold and a waistcoat of burgundy and gold leaf-patterned brocade. It seemed Raul had excellent taste in men’s fashions.
Marietta rolled her eyes before she settled in a chair behind the easel. “Please keep still while I draw.”
“May I talk?”
“I’d rather you didn’t.” Looking at him was going to be enough distraction. She didn’t need to listen to him also.
He ignored her request. “I have to ask—why Palladino?”
Marietta blew out an exasperated breath. “I can’t sketch you properly if you talk.”
“You could have chosen any man at the Consul’s villa. Casanova himself expressed interest in you, yet you leave with that pig.”
“It’s not what you think.” She compared her drawing to Nico and frowned. His shoulders were no longer in the same position.
“You didn’t have to suffer the man’s dismal lovemaking. What were you thinking?”
“We did not make love,” she replied through clenched teeth.
He continued as if not hearing her. “You’re the first woman in years that he didn’t have to pay, though he would never admit to his need for courtesans. I just don’t understand how you could find him appealing.”
“We did not make love.” She practically shouted it this time. “I’m not attracted to Palladino or any other man for that matter.”
This silenced him, gratefully, but only for a few moments. “Well, in that case, I know of a few courtesans that can accommodate you. I am told they are quite beautiful and skilled.”
Marietta threw down her charcoal and marched over to him. She grabbed his shoulders and repositioned him. “That is not what I meant and you know it.”
He smiled up at her innocently. “I didn’t mean to offend you, but you have refused my charms, so what should I think?”
She glared at him for her own benefit, knowing it would have no effect on the man. “You need to stop talking and moving.”
When he didn’t respond, she said, “That’s better.”
He lasted almost fifteen minutes. “So, what kind of man are you attracted to? Perhaps, I could suggest a few potential lovers.”
“How about one who has fewer conquests than fingers and toes? Or one that values honesty and fidelity over all else? Do you know any like that?”
From the thoughtful look on his face, he took this as an earnest question. “I’m afraid a man like that will be hard to find in Venice, especially this time of year.”
“Well, then, I guess I’ll have to go without.”
“How depressing. What will you do for amusement if you don’t take a lover?”
Marietta rubbed at her temples and decided she deserved more than the coins she’d already been paid. “There’s more to life than pleasuring oneself.”
“Yes, Signore, really.” She placed her stub of charcoal on the easel’s tray and rolled the stiffness from her neck and shoulders. “That is all for today. I have another appointment.” It was a lie, but she felt the need to rest and the bed in the corner was tempting her tired body.

Author Biography
Elizabeth McKenna works as a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. Though her love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). She had always wanted to write fiction, so she combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write her debut novel Cera's Place. Her short story, The Gypsy Casts a Spell, is available for free on her website She hopes you will enjoy her latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight, as much as others have enjoyed her previous works.Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and sassy Labrador. When she isn't writing, working, or being a mom, she's sleeping.

Elizabeth is giving away reader's choice of print or ebook (US/Intl) of Venice in the Moonlight and $15 gift card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble to one winner. To enter, please leave a question or comment for the author on this post and then fill out the rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. When I think of hot Italian men I picture Raoul Bova. I first noticed him in "Under the Tuscan Sun."

  2. Thank you for having me on your blog, Crystal!

  3. It sounds like a great story. I really like the cover. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  4. Elizabeth, you are a new-to-me author of historical romance and I am so very happy to be introduced to you on this post today! I have a large appetite for reading historical romances and I'm always looking for more authors to feed that habit. :-) The excerpt posted today sounds mighty interesting and I would like to read more!

  5. This sounds like an awesome read. I'm looking forward to reading it. Thanks :)
    Happy Holidays

  6. Congrats Elizabeth on the new release! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I have to agree with you on Viggo being sexier in LoTR. I do love those sexy Italian men!! :-)

  8. Congrats on the release, Elizabeth!! I'm going to add this book to my TBR!

  9. Elizabeth is a new author to me but it sounds like a really great book to read!

  10. I'm all for going ooh-la-la over a book boyfriend!

  11. Thanks for sharing the book and a chance to win!

  12. The cover looks great as does the blurb!

  13. Viggo is rather gorgeous, especially in LOTR.

  14. Congrats on this new release Elizabeth. I really enjoyed the excerpt. It's going on my TRL. Thanks for the opportunity to win. Happy New Years eve to everyone.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  15. Sounds like a great read!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    Happy Holidays!

  16. I enjoy reading historical romances and this sounds cool with the backdrop of Venice.

  17. Happy New Year! I like the pictures and your heroes sound wonderful.


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