Christi Caldwell – Interview and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Christi Caldwell who is celebrating the recent release of Along Came a Lady. Leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win a print copy of the book *US and 18+ only please*

Christi told me she can pinpoint the moment she knew she was going to be a writer. She was in 6th grade and had started writing her first romance novel (all hand-written in a one-ring notebook – she had about 20 of them). However. life went on, and she went on to college and graduate school, her love for historical romance led her to get an history education major.

“I always say my writing can be divided into two parts: the romance novels I wrote before my son was born…and then after him,” she explained. “My path to motherhood was a challenging one. I’m one of the 6.5 million women in the US dealing with infertility. As such, all my emotional energies and really my whole life became fixed on my infertility treatments. When my son was born, we learned of his diagnosis of Down syndrome. My world was completely rocked. I confess, my knowledge and understanding of Ds was limited. I learned quick that there were many health conditions that accompany Ds: GI issues, of which my son had and has many of. Cardiac conditions, which required frequent monitoring (before we were ultimately discharged from his cardiologist… that was one of the happiest days of my life.) Needless to say, there were constant specialist appointments and therapies. Books remained as they always had been throughout life, a great escape. Writing however, proved the greatest.

“When my son was just a baby, he was hospitalized. After a serious health issue and a hospitalization, we were forced to give up our house and moved into a one-bedroom apartment. My husband and I slept in a walk-in closet so our son could have a bedroom and space for his therapy. We couldn’t afford food, let alone books. (Thank God for libraries. Truly. They kept me sane and brought me joy.)

“I still remember the night, unable to sleep, I walked out of my closet-bedroom, and grabbed my old laptop and decided to resume writing. The decadent, lavish life of Regency England was one I felt so removed from. I couldn’t even heat my house. And yet, that world was one I loved so much to read and write. In that moment, I decided to write the stories of characters I could relate to. The working-class heroines and heroes who knew financial struggles, and who found themselves thrust in the ‘fairytale’ worlds of High Society. Imperfect characters whose lives seemed charmed but were a challenge. Characters who struggled…and ultimately triumphed. Characters whom most of us can relate with and to. Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride was the first full-length book I wrote in our tiny, cold apartment and became the first full-length novel to land on the USA Today Bestseller list.”

She has since seen 65 books published and has 3 more in various stages of production.

I asked her if she could choose a favorite.

“I always say when I’m asked to pick a favorite, that it’s like a parent whose been asked to pick their favorite child. It’s really an impossible task. That said, in that same vein…there are certain things about each of my children that makes them special, and fills my heart. Along Came a Lady is one of my favorite stories I’ve written. I’d had the idea of a duke with illegitimate children whom he wants to make amends with for many years, and was sooo eager to dive into the world. This story fed so much of what my author soul LOVES to write about: big families. Light moments. Heartwarming ones.”

“What comes first, the plot or the characters?” I wondered.

“Ooh! I LOVE this question. For me, it’s always the couples. More specifically, I start with one character, and because my worlds tend to be interconnected, a series where secondary characters in one book will have their happily-ever-after in a future one, I’ll know them in some way. In my head, I explore the layers of the hero or heroine, and consider what their ARC will or should be, and then build their happily-ever-after character, and ideal partner with this question in mind. As I believe all the best relationships are partnerships, I try to provide each hero/heroine with the person who can challenge them, but also help them grow.”

She knew she always wanted to be an author, so she pursued a history education degree so she could teach and also write. She did this for a while, but then life threw a spanner in the works.

“I found myself on bedrest with my now 7-year-old twin daughters. As a teacher in Connecticut, I didn’t have maternity leave or long-term disability, and as such, when my pregnancy became complicated, I was out of a job, and out of a paycheck. I spent my days writing…and also self-publishing those stories I’d had on my laptop.

“I oftentimes say I wish I could go back and show my younger self that I was living the dream I’d always carried.”

Her writing schedule is pretty strict. Before Covid, when her children were all in school full time, she would work from 9-2. But, she’s had to adjust her writing habits and her schedule.

“I write from 9-11:30 where I’m writing for 25 minutes with my sprinting partner, LaQuette, and then we have 5 minutes off where we can do social media or email checks,” she told me. “We’re so productive when we’re together. Then, I’ll join my kids for their school lunch break from 11:30-12:30. Then I resume writing for a block of 1-3. I tend to see to my social media work at night when the kids are sleeping!”

Finally I asked, “What is your most embarrassing moment?”

“I come from a family where my parents are extremely proud of everything I do. My dad, who is one of my best friends, has always been my most ardent supporter in EVERYTHING. When I had my first job interview for a teaching position, I had to perform a demonstration lesson. Basically, a teacher is asked to prepare a grade-appropriate lesson for a class of students you only just meet. I was obviously both excited and nervous.

“But because I’d been living away from home, and because I wanted to share the news about my first interview with my dad, I forwarded him the email from the school district.

“After I completed the first person of my interview, a one-on-one interview with the principal…I stood up to go for my demonstration lesson…when the principal slid a piece of paper across the desk. It was the email I’d forwarded my dad…only, he’d accidentally replied to all (which I discovered in the interview that day.) In it, he wrote about how much he loved me, and called me a #1 Draft Pick (we were big baseball fans and watched all the Yankee games together.) and proceeded to explain how foolish the district would be not to hire me. The principal circled his email, highlighted it, and walked out.

“I was so embarrassed in the moment. To this day, however, our family joke whenever my sister or I have special news to share is: email it to dad.”

Rafe Audley detests his father, the Duke of Bentley, for abandoning his family. Born illegitimate, he has worked the mines his whole life to care for his younger siblings. Edwina Dalrymple has spent her life making a name for herself as an instructor in etiquette, and she has yet to fail in preparing her charges for Polite Society. When Edwina is tasked with teaching Rafe the ways of a gentleman, she soon learns that Mr. Audley is no ordinary charge. Rafe is wholly uninterested in joining the Gentry, making his lessons Edwina’s most difficult undertaking yet. Taming the unruly man would surely elevate her status, but can Edwina put her own feelings aside in order to get the job done? As the bold teacher and stubborn pupil work to sabotage each other at every turn, Edwina and Rafe will learn that while opposites attract, the unlikely pair have more in common than they think.

About the Author: Christi Caldwell is the USA Today bestselling author of the Sinful Brides Series and the Heart of a Duke Series. She blames novelist Judith McNaught for luring her into the world of historical romance. She enjoys torturing her couples before they earn their well-deserved happily ever after. Originally from Southern Connecticut, Christi now resides in North Carolina, where she spends her time writing and being a mommy to an energetic little boy and mischievous twin girls who offer an endless source of story ideas.


Flaws Make the Man in Christi Caldwell’s In Bed with the Earl – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Christi Caldwell who is celebrating yesterday’s release of In Bed with the Earl. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card as well as a digital copy of the book.

Flaws Make the Man in Christi Caldwell’s In Bed with the Earl

My newest release, In Bed with the Earl, features an unlikely Regency hero. He was born to nobility, was kidnapped, and grew up in the roughest streets of London, as a ‘tosher’…a sewer scavenger. Nothing about Malcom or his past is in any way conventional, but he also represents how our pasts shape who we are. And there is no doubting, his past molded him into who he is… a man who doesn’t let people close…and who protects what he does have. Which is why…when he does meet Verity, someone who wants to be close for him (first, for reasons related to her work…and then, the more she knows him, simply because she’s falling for him) he resists.

People are impacted by life, in different ways. We all have many layers; and for Malcom, those layers are protective ones; a shield to protect himself from being hurt…because he’s already known so much. Yes, he’s coarse and ragged, and rough, but beneath that, readers (I hope) will see what Verity sees…that he has a good heart, and is deserving of a happily-ever-after, not only for who he is to others, but because, with the life he’s lived, he deserves it for himself.

To solve a mystery that’s become the talk of the ton, no clues run too deep for willful reporter Verity Lovelace. Not even in the sewers of London. That’s precisely where she finds happily self-sufficient scavenger Malcom North, lost heir to the Earl of Maxwell. Now that Verity’s made him front-page news, what will he make of her?

Kidnapped as a child, with no memories of his well-heeled past, Malcom prefers the grimy spoils of the culverts to the gilded riches of society. Damn the feisty beauty who exposed the contented tosher to a parade of fortune-hunting matchmakers. How to keep them at bay? Verity must pretend to be his wife. She owes him.

The intimacy of this necessary arrangement—Verity and Malcom thrust together in close quarters—soon sparks an irresistible heat. But when the charade ends, the danger begins. Will love be enough to protect them from a treacherous plot devised to ruin them?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“May I help you, Miss Lovelace?”

That lethal purr sounded from the front of the room, a silky taunt.

With a gasp, the page slipped from her fingers and fluttered to a damning place at her feet.

Mr. Bram yanked the cloths from his eyes, and he took in Verity beside Mr. North’s open desk. And all the color left his face. “Oh, bloody hell.”

Oh, bloody hell, indeed. And all thoughts of having been rescued by a savior, and even the importance of this story, fled in the face of the danger staring back at her in his ruthless gaze.

He is going to kill me…

Verity swallowed hard. “If you’ll excuse us?” Mr. North murmured.

Verity took a step toward the door.

“Not you, Miss Lovelace.”

Mr. Bram climbed awkwardly to his feet. “Oi’m so sorry,” he said hoarsely, an apology that went ignored by Mr. North.

Her heart lurched. Every muscle in her body lurched. This was bad. Which would have been the understated statement of the century. She curled her toes into the soles of her borrowed slippers and followed the stranger’s—nay, he was no longer a stranger in name—the Earl of Maxwell’s gaze. As dread slowly wound its way through her, Verity curled those digits all the tighter.

And as it was all the easier to focus on matters within her control, she looked to her older patient as he limped across the room. “Be sure and try out those remedies, Mr. Bram.” She felt Mr. North sharpen his gaze on her person. “And I’ve something that might help with that limp, too,” she promised.

The older man stopped. “Do ya, now?”

She may as well have promised him the sun, moon, and stars for the way he looked at her. “Oh, yes. You’ll require—”

“Bram,” Mr. North snapped, and the older man instantly scuttled off, but not before flashing her an apologetic look.

“It is really not Mr. Bram’s fault. He’s not done anything wrong. You really shouldn’t take your…”

Not taking his eyes from her person, he reached behind him with an agonizing slowness and drew the door shut. Click. That soft but decisive snap that served as a seal of her fate.

Just like that, Verity’s bravado flagged. She clutched at the fabric of her skirts. Wanting to be the composed reporter gathering her research, and undaunted in the face of peril.

And she came up … pathetically empty.

That cold smile affixed to hard lips remained in place, a grin that no person would dare mistake for anything but the feral threat it was. He pushed away from the door and started a languid stroll toward her.

Had she truly been relieved about determining the identity of her savior and captor?

It was now all muddled.

“Now, Miss Lovelace? If that is your name?”

“M-my name?” Wasn’t it? Even her name eluded her in that moment. “Of course it is.” Her voice ended on a croak as he drew ever closer; the ice that frosted his gaze sprang her to the reality now facing her, the menace that spilled from his broad frame. Mayhap she’d been wrong. Because she’d experience with earls—was, in fact, the daughter of one. They were nothing like the predatory devil that stalked her now. “I am Miss Verity Lovelace. What grounds would I have to lie?” She hurried to place the chair of his desk between them as another barrier.

He stopped his pursuit. “And how may I help you?”

Ironically, the stranger—the gentleman—could have uttered no truer words than those.

They fortified her, and sent resolve creeping back into her spine as she brought her shoulders back. Verity met his gaze squarely. “Are you the Earl of Maxwell?”

Except, she already knew as much … she simply sought the confirmation from the gentleman’s mouth.

His eyes grew shuttered, but not before she caught the flash of horror in their blue-black depths.

He was a man unaccustomed to being challenged. And his unsettledness eased away further frissons of fear. Verity slid out from behind his desk chair and glided slowly across the room. She stopped when only a handful of steps separated her from the very stranger who’d put a knife to her earlier that night.

“Do I look like an earl?” he countered, belated with that reply—that deliberately evasive one.

Taking that as an invitation to study him, Verity peered at Mr. North. That slightly hooked nose, which had been broken one or more times, did little to conceal the aquiline appendage that served as a signal of his birthright. The small white nicks and scars merely marred a canvas of otherwise flawless high, chiseled cheeks and a hard, square jawline.

Glorious. Her pulse throbbed a beat harder. His features, melded with those flaws, only served to mark him beautiful in his masculinity.

His mouth crept up in a tight, one-sided smile that didn’t meet pitiless eyes. “Did you have a good look, Miss Lovelace?”

He’d noted her appreciation. Verity’s cheeks burnt, and she curled her toes into the soles of her borrowed slippers. He merely sought to disconcert her. It was a familiar state she’d found herself many times before, with many men before him. Feigning nonchalance, Verity gave her head a little toss. “You have the look and the tones of an earl,” she pointed out. “And more…” She gestured to those private missives she’d availed herself to. “You have letters written regarding the Baron Bolingbroke.” Verity stretched up on her tiptoes so she could at least hold his gaze and not be peered down at. “Therefore, Mr. North, I would say you are, in fact, the Earl of Maxwell, after all.”

About the Author:USA Today Bestselling, RITA-nominated author Christi Caldwell blames Julie Garwood and Judith McNaught for luring her into the world of historical romance. While sitting in her graduate school apartment at the University of Connecticut, Christi decided to set aside her notes and pick up her laptop to try her hand at romance. She believes the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections, and she rather enjoys torturing them before crafting them a well deserved happily ever after!

Christi makes her home in southern Connecticut where she spends her time writing her own enchanting historical romances and caring for her three spirited children!

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You Might Be a Bluestocking If… by Christi Caldwell – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Christi Caldwell, who is celebraring tomorrow’s release of The Bluestocking. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card plus a copy of the book!

You Might Be a Bluestocking If… with Author Christi Caldwell

Gertrude was such a wonderful character to write. She’s the eldest of her siblings and firmly on the shelf. She’s incredibly diverse in her strengths and in her interests and in the knowledge she possesses: it’s a knowledge that really is all-encompassing, spanning furniture-making to the care of animals to skills for surviving on the streets. In addition, she’s been responsible for educating the children in her family’s care, and what I found so fascinating is that she knows the value of education and what she’s been providing has been so important, and yet so many have failed to appreciate the power of her contributions.

In honor of Gertrude, an intelligent, interesting, and ultimately irresistible heroine, I have written a short game of “You Might Be A Bluestocking If…” so you can test yourself to see what you have in common with Gertrude.

•You might be a bluestocking if…you have more than one cat.
•You might be a bluestocking if…your hands are permanently ink stained from your writing.
•You might be a bluestocking if…you have an in-depth knowledge of ancient furniture design.
•You might be a bluestocking if…you prefer lectures to balls.
•You might be a bluestocking if…you would rather have a book in your hands than needlework.

Gertrude, the eldest Killoran sister, has spent a lifetime being underestimated—especially by her own family. She may seem as vulnerable as a kitten, but given the chance, she can be as fierce as a tiger. Her adopted brother, Stephen, has just been snatched back by his true father, and she’ll be damned if she relinquishes the boy to the man reviled throughout London as the Mad Marquess.

Still haunted by a deadly tragedy that left him publicly despised, Lord Edwin holds only hatred for the Killorans—the people he believes kidnapped his son. And not one of them will ever see the boy again. But when Gertrude forces her way into the household and stubbornly insists that she remain as Stephen’s governess, Edwin believes he may have found someone madder than himself.

With every moment he shares with the tenderhearted Gertrude, Edwin’s anger softens into admiration . . . and more. Is it possible that the woman he loathed may be the only person who can heal his broken soul?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Who was this . . . daughter of Diggory? The one few spoke of and about whom little was known.

Edwin pushed himself away from the door, and folding his arms at his chest, he took slow, predatory steps closer, walking a path around her. His earlier assessment in the darkened foyer of the woman had proven correct. Drab brown hair. Nondescript brown eyes. Of medium height, and in possession of a slender frame that left her cloak hanging unflatteringly upon her, there was nothing extraordinary about the last unwed Killoran. Which was no doubt why she’d not snagged herself a wealthy or powerful husband as her sisters had already done. At his lengthy scrutiny, she dared him with her eyes. And yet for her . . . ordinariness, there was a strength of spirit that radiated, casting a soft blush upon cream-white cheeks, that marked her as . . . interesting. She was interesting. He stopped abruptly. Seeing this woman in any light except the darkened one was a betrayal to his late wife and his children, both living and dead . . . and himself.

“I was clear with my demands. Get out now, Miss Diggory.”

The stubborn chit pursed her slightly too-full lips. “As I said earlier, you were less clear than you give yourself credit for,” she challenged, ignoring the latter part of his directive. My God, she is an insolent bit of baggage. “And my name is Killoran.”

The names were synonymous and interchangeable.

Edwin stopped before her so only a pace divided them. “And tell me, where was I not clear?” he purred. “Was it the part about making sure Broderick Diggory hangs, as he deserves, that was not clear?” The color bled from her cheeks. “Or was it my stated intentions for your sisters . . . what are their names? Ophelia? Cleopatra?” he asked, mocking that Shakespearean queen’s name, and the woman in front of him frowned deeper. “How . . . unfortunate it would be if their business ventures were both to fail.”

The young woman curled and uncurled her coarse hands at her sides. “Do not threaten my family,” she said coolly.

He’d hand it to her. She remained undaunted.

“Or what, Miss Diggory?” A muscle ticked at the corner of her right eye, but she did not rise to the bait, either. “Will you set my townhouse afire and attempt to steal my son . . . again?”

Her features leached even more of their color, leaving those previously blushing cheeks a ghastly grey-white. And for her earlier brave show, it was her turn to falter. “I didn’t . . .” And he celebrated that triumph over his enemy.

“What was that?” he barked, cupping a hand around his ear. “You didn’t what?” Destroy my life? Shatter my family? “Kidnap my son?” he settled for, refusing to voice aloud his greatest agonies before this of all women.

She flinched.

“Now leave, and tell your real brother if he violates our arrangement once more, using you or another one of your . . . sisters or his henchmen to do his work for him, I’ll take you all down.” His in-laws’ earlier recriminations flooded forward. It was just something else they’d been right about.

Edwin had stomped over to his desk when he registered the absolute silence—more specifically, the lack of retreating footfalls.

He turned back.

Miss Diggory jutted her chin up defiantly. “No one sent me, my lord. I am here of my own volition.”

He chuckled, that rusty, ill-used laugh more a growl than anything that could ever be confused with a real expression of mirth. No one came here of their own volition. As a rule, the world avoided him.

Shifting direction, he returned to the stubborn chit’s side, and leaning down, he placed his mouth close to her temple once more and fought the maddening pull of whatever damned perfume she dabbed behind her ears. “Do you think I’m foolish enough all these years later to believe a lie dripping off a Diggory’s lips?”

The young woman’s back moved up and down, an indication of her rapid breath. Of her fear. A lifetime ago, he’d have sooner chopped off his left hand than deliberately taunt a woman and take pleasure in her fear. No longer. That pathetic excuse of a man who’d gotten his wife and babe killed, and the other son snatched, reveled in this woman’s unease. “Hmm?” he prodded, and she jumped.

“I have no reason to lie to you, my lord,” she said calmly, and as she spoke, her breath, containing a whispery trace of honey, filtered from her lips and fanned his mouth. Another unexpectedly sweet scent, at odds with her past and name and sins. It enticed, drawing his gaze to her mouth and holding his focus there, mesmerized. “There is nothing I want, need, or desire.” She darted her tongue out and traced the plump seam of her lips. And God forgive him, his gut clenched. For even as self-loathing spiraled through him, something far worse, far more perilous and viler and more treacherous, held him in its snare: desire. “The only reason I’ve come . . . the only worry I had . . . was for Stephen.”


That single name, spoken aloud, snapped whatever siren’s trap she’d sucked him momentarily into. “August.” Had there ever been a doubt as to his insanity, this quixotic fascination with the woman’s slightly too-full mouth as she spoke was evidence enough of it.

She tipped her head, and one of the few brown strands that had managed a curl bounced at her shoulder.

Edwin flared his nostrils. “His name is August Rudolph Thadeus Stephen Warren, the Earl of Greyley.” He flicked a stare over her face. “You’ve no relation to him. He is His Lordship to you.” Stalking over to the front of the room, he pulled the door open. “Now that you’ve seen him”—he peeled his lip in a mocking sneer—“safely delivered to his rightful home, you are dismissed. You may leave now.”

Gertrude Killoran drew in a breath. “I am afraid I cannot do that.”

He narrowed his eyes. “And whyever not?”

“I’m not leaving.”

“I beg your pardon?” What more could she possibly want or expect of him?

The young woman clasped her palms before her, like a nun at the abbey. “I’m staying.”

Confusion rooted around his mind. “Staying?” he repeated. “Staying where?”

“Here.” She settled her features into a serene expression he’d have believed impossible for a Diggory. “Indefinitely,” she clarified.

Edwin rocked back on his heels.

My God, I’ve finally found someone madder than myself.

About the Author: USA Today bestselling, RITA-nominated author Christi Caldwell blames authors Julie Garwood and Judith McNaught for luring her into the world of historical romance. When Christi was at the University of Connecticut, she began writing her own tales of love. She believes that the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections, and she rather enjoys torturing her couples before crafting them a well-deserved happily ever after.

The author of the Wicked Wallflowers series, which includes The Governess, The Hellion, and The Vixen, Christi lives in southern Connecticut, where she spends her time writing, chasing after her son, and taking care of her twin princesses-in-training.

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