Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Kick starting my Month of May SECONDARY CHARACTERS seies is...Mary Campisi!

Mary Campisi
It's the first Tuesday in May, and I'd love you to help me send a huge welcome to my guest, Mary Campisi. Mary has kindly written the first blog for my May Tuesdays on Secondary Characters series. She's also brought along a blurb, and a tantalising excerpt, from her novel 'The Seduction of Sophie Seacrest' to share with us today. 
But first, here's why she believes secondary characters play a very important role.

Why I Love Secondary Characters
by Mary Campisi
I love developing secondary characters—whether I love them or not is a different story. (Some are just downright horrid people!) Still, if they have a place in the book, I’m going to write about them.
Secondary characters add depth and flavor to the story which is why they are so intriguing and essential. Their role is above all, to provide support to the main characters and can be done in many ways—by exposing weaknesses, divulging backstory, drawing conclusions, even making incorrect assumptions and observations. When I begin writing secondary characters I know the basic ‘shell’ but as the story progresses and they voice opinions—solicited or not regarding the main characters’ ‘problem’—they become very real and important to the story. I’ve had occasions where I’ve become so enamored with the secondary character that I decided he/she needed his/her own story. Thus was born the sequel and in some cases, the series.
As the secondary characters draw me in, I get a feel for their history, story, and contribution to enhancing the book. If I catch myself wondering about one particular character beyond what he/she can lend to the story, then I know it’s time to think of Book 2. In The Seduction of Sophie Seacrest, I very much wanted to explore Jason Langford’s tragic love affair with the vicar’s daughter, Ariana, which ended in her ‘supposed’ death. See where this is going? Jason has never forgiven himself for the part he played in his lover’s ‘death’. He will return in Book #2 of An Unlikely Husband Series and will have his own dilemmas and triumphs!
Have you ever been so caught up in a secondary character’s story, that you wanted more, maybe even an entire book just about them?
Call me slow on that one, says Nancy Jardine!

I'm fairly new to the writing process, so my answer to Mary's question would be that it was only after my first novel was published last year I realized I could make a whole new novel from a character in a historical I had written. Of course, now I've just got to get that second in the series written...

More about Mary-
I've been finding out a little more about Mary's path towards becoming an author. If you've never read anything about Mary before you may not know that...Mary Campisi should have known she’d become a writer when at age thirteen she began changing the endings to all the books she read. It took several years and a number of jobs, including registered nurse, receptionist in a swanky hair salon, accounts payable clerk, and practice manager in an OB/GYN office, for her to rediscover writing. Enter a mouse-less computer, a floppy disk, and a dream large enough to fill a zip drive. The rest of the story lives on in every book she writes.
When she’s not working on her craft or following the lives of five young adult children, Mary’s digging in the dirt with her flowers and herbs, cooking, reading, walking her rescue lab mix, Cooper, or on the prefect day, riding off into the sunset with her very own “hero” husband, on his Electra Glide Classic aka Harley.  I wonder if our readers are thinking the same as me? -That riding off into the sunset sounds just perfect.  

Mary has been published with Kensington, Carina Press, The Wild Rose Press, and Jocelyn Hollow Romance.

Today Mary has brought along the blurb for her historical novel The Seduction of Sophie Seacrest. (...don't know about everyone else, but I've just added a new one to my TBR list)
Love and Betrayal . . . Regency Style
When Holt Langford, the new Earl of Westover, returns to England after twelve years at sea, he resembles more pirate than nobleman, a far cry from the scrawny youth shipped off by his father to become a man. No one recognizes him and he’ll use this anonymity to enter a game of subterfuge in order to expose the scoundrel who has vowed to destroy Holt’s family business.
Unfortunately, that scoundrel has a devoted daughter - Sophie Seacrest. Sophie can’t deny her attraction to the unorthodox stranger who stirs her blood and makes her think things no proper lady should. Holt and Sophie are drawn into a seductive tangle and just when he’s about to reveal his true identity and his honorable intentions, she discovers the truth and must choose between love and family duty.
... and here's an incredibly tantalising excerpt from 'The Seduction of Sophie Seacrest' to whet your appetite:

He was not a handsome man by society’s standards. There was too much bulk, too much hair, good heavens, too much man, but there was something compelling about him that stuck her to her spot. Was it the eyes that appeared to consume her every breath? She could see them now, a deep navy. Or the roughness of his voice that sent a tremulous shiver through her entire body?
“And who are you?” he asked in a too soft voice as he stepped closer.
“Lady Sophie Seacrest.”
His eyes narrowed a fraction. “Ah, a Seacrest.”
“You must know our gamekeeper, Hodge.”
He shook his head and long strands of wet hair clung to his shoulders. “No, I’ve only been at Ellswood a short time.”
Which explained why she had not seen or heard of him before today. Seacrests might be estranged from Langfords but staff tongues still wagged and Aunt Vivian made it her business to stay abreast of all happenings, claiming it was best to keep one’s enemies close.
The man retrieved a blanket from a nearby bureau and settled it around her shoulders. “You shouldn’t ride when a storm is threatening," he said, his deep voice curling around her.
She pulled the blanket closer in an effort to stave off the tingling in her middle and replied, “I’m an accomplished horsewoman.”
He lifted a brow and slivers of amusement filtered his words. “But not so accomplished as to remain seated during a thunderstorm?”
She shrugged and smiled. “Apparently not.”
“Step by the fire so you don’t catch a chill.”
Drops of water slid from her gown as she moved toward the fire’s heat. What would her father say if he knew she was alone in a cottage with a stranger, an employee of the Langford’s no less? He would not be pleased. Nor would her aunt.  But they would never know for she would keep this one scrap of harmless adventure to herself and perhaps in nights ahead, pull it from her memories and think of the dark stranger.
“Drink this.” The man thrust a snifter in her hands and she took a healthy swallow, expecting brandy.
A burn captured her throat, stealing her breath as she coughed and sputtered. “This is not brandy!”
“No,” he smiled and his dark eyes glistened. “It’s whiskey.”
She coughed again and cleared her throat. “Why on earth do men find that drink so appealing? It is much too harsh and unrefined.”
“Some of the best things in life are harsh and unrefined,” he commented, glancing at her lips.
“I beg your pardon?” Her lips had begun a slow tingle, obviously a result of the whiskey.
“A kiss for example.” He moved closer and rubbed his jaw. “There are many kinds of kisses. There is the kiss you give your mother or the peck on the cheek for your father or aunt.” His voice dipped. “And then there is the other kind of kiss.”
“Oh?” The room suddenly grew very small.
He lifted a finger and traced her lower lip with such lazy perfection she forgot the dampness of her skin, forgot everything but the fiery tingle on her lips.
“Yes.” He worked his finger over her upper lip in a faint caress, then dipped into her parted mouth and stroked her tongue with the tip of his finger. “There is the kiss a man and a woman share. Harsh. Unrefined.”
She swallowed. “Oh?”
The man cupped her chin and leaned forward, brushing his lips over hers. “It’s part of an age old mating ritual, a dance which begins slowly with the faintest touch of skin to skin and escalates to,” he flicked his tongue across her lower lip, “more primitive methods of communication.”
“I see.” But she did not. Her lips tingled and burned where he stroked her, filling her with the need to…do something.
“And soon, there is only touching and all refinement slips away.” He captured her mouth once again, this time easing his tongue between her lips. He pulled her roughly to him, his massive arms circling her waist, sliding down her back.
A rush of heat spread through her as he pressed his hardness against her abdomen. She eased her arms around his neck, burying her fingers in his long hair as wondrous sensations overtook her. Eager for more, she strained against his chest and sighed when the velvet fabric of her soggy riding habit heightened the pleasure.
“And then there is no more thinking.” He cupped her buttocks with a large hand, and murmured, “Only feeling.” His mouth slanted over hers, urging her lips apart as his tongue delved inside. Sophie moaned when he captured her tongue and gently sucked.
Oh, but this delicious tasting and touching must be wrong. But did she not deserve this one small pleasure after so many years of thinking only of others?  Yes, her body cried, smothering logic and common sense. Yes!
The man eased his hand between them and worked the tiny buttons of her riding habit. “Enjoy, my sweet.” He unlaced her chemise and pushed the flimsy fabric aside. “You smell like lavender. I shall enjoy devouring you.” He lowered his head and captured a nipple in his mouth.
Sophie moaned as he licked the peak. Oh, the rapture, the tingling delight! She longed to succumb to the seductive powers of this stranger and revel in the sensations pulsing through her body. She moaned when he sucked first one, then the other nipple, skimming the pad of a callused thumb over the swollen bud. Oh dear Lord. She threw back her head and moaned again, surrendering to pure sensation. Nothing had ever felt more deliciously right.
But this was wrong. She could not add to the disgrace that clouded the Seacrest name with whispered tales, no matter how untrue. She could not do this to her family. “Stop!” She pushed at the man’s shoulders and jerked away, yanking her riding habit closed.
He stared at her, eyes narrowed, jaw set. Why had she not noticed the sinister aura about him before this very second?
“You were looking for a pleasurable way to pass a stormy afternoon with a commoner.”
“One you could moan and writhe about with when he gave you pleasure.” He took a step toward her. “You would not be able to show such zealousness with a dandy from the upper crust, would you? But a lowly gamekeeper? After he gave you hours of pleasuring, you could stick your nose up at his manure-coated boots and walk away without fear of seeing him again.” His breathing escalated with his anger. “I am not your servant and I am bloody hell not your amusement. What would your father say if he knew you were dallying with Edward Langford’s gamekeeper?”
A rush of lightheadedness threatened to topple her but she fought to regain control. “You would not tell him.” Pray, do not tell him.
He did not answer.
“Please. Can we not forget this unfortunate incident and go about our business?”
“And should we have occasion to meet again?” His voice dipped several octaves, almost a caress. “What would we do?”
So, he did see the right of it and wished to follow a prudent course should they have the unlikely occasion to meet again. “We would pretend we did not know one another,” she paused and floundered, “which actually, we do not.”
He lifted a brow but thankfully, made no comment.
She must get him to agree. Not that he would necessarily honor a gentleman’s agreement, but she must make the attempt. She could not let a few moments of ill choice heap more disgrace upon her family. Sophie looked into the man’s unsmiling face and said in her gentlest voice, “I would be most grateful if you would comply.” 
“Of course you would.” He threw her a look of disgust and said, “What an excellent schemer you are. Should we meet again, I shall remember that.”

Buying link for -The Seduction of Sophie Seacrest     http://amzn.to/JnMwTs
My thanks to you, Mary, for visiting me today and sharing your ideas.
One lucky commenter who posts an answer to Mary's final question will receive one of my tremendously useful packs of Scottish Castle Cards and Matching Gift Tags. Please make sure you leave an email contact address and you could be today's lucky winner!


  1. Hi Nancy and thanks for having me! I look forward to chit chatting about secondary characters - especially the ones that push their way into their very own book:)


  2. Hello, Mary! I've got back to base once again, after my travels and am now at the keyboard proper. Looking forward to sharing your lovely excerpt!

  3. Many times, many authors. But the latest is a secondary character from my debut book coming from the Wild Rose Press (name withheld to avoid shameless self-promotion). He is the gruff mentor to the hero of the first book, but in the second, he encounters a woman who breaks down his walls and exposes the heart he hid for years behind frowns.


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