Distracting the Duke by Elizabeth Keysian + a #giveaway

Barbara Monajem here, asking you to welcome my friend Elizabeth Keysian to Embracing Romance. This week, her novel, Distracting the Duke, was released! Three cheers, Elizabeth, and over to you.

lizkeysian banner

What’s the most unusual place you can think of for a hero and heroine to share their first kiss?

In my debut novel for Entangled Publishing’s Scandalous line, I opted for a camera obscura.


Why? Because I needed my heroine, Lady Clara Tinniswood, to be trapped in a confined space with the hero, Marcus, Duke of Ulvercombe. And she had to be in need of comfort…I can’t disclose the reason, however, as it’s buried deep in the book, which, of course, I would like you to read.

Where did the idea of a person-sized camera obscura come from? I was inspired by a small gazebo built out over the moat at Kentwell Hall, an ancient  manor house in Suffolk, England. I was a participant in a re-creation of Tudor times which involved bringing the house back to life in the most authentic way possible. The gazebo had its windows blocked up, except for a small hole, and became a walk-in camera obscura.

camera obscura1

What is a camera obscura? The name, literally meaning “darkened room”, describes a box which displays an external image projected through a small hole in one side. The rays of light bouncing off the subject cross over at the hole, so the image projected onto the inside of the box is back-to-front and upside-down. Using a series of lenses, the image can be corrected, and artists such as Canaletto and Vermeer used large camera obscurae to help them produce paintings of almost photographic quality. If you’ve ever made a pin-hole camera, you will understand the principle!

Dyrham roof
Roof at Dyrham Park

Where is the camera obscura sited? In the story, the construction is on the roof of Kessington House, the Duke of Ulvercombe’s main residence. Its remoteness is crucial in two pivotal scenes, at the beginning and at the end of the book. Also, for the purely practical reason that being elevated means nothing would obscure the passage of the light.

I already knew what the roof of a stately home looked like, having walked around a covered platform raised above the roof of Dyrham Park in Gloucestershire so visitors could see the repairs being made. Not for the faint-hearted! Lady Clara Tinniswood, my heroine, shows her mettle by walking across the roof when no one else dares to do so. This single act of bravura has consequences which resonate throughout the story and result in her being forced to confront her demons more than once. What are her demons? Ah, but that, I’m afraid, would be telling…

Distracting the Duke (Wayward in Wessex Book 1) by Elizabeth Keysian for Entangled Scandalous

Devonshire, England, 1820

Determined to avoid the strife-filled marriage of his parents, Marcus, the Duke of Ulvercombe, wants an amenable, biddable wife, and has set his cap for a certain pretty miss. Unfortunately, her vastly opinionated, frustrating, and lamentably beautiful guardian, Lady Clara Tinniswood, keeps distracting him, tempting him to consider a far more tempestuous—and passionate—union.

Recently widowed Lady Clara Tinniswood wants only to organize a quiet new life for herself, beyond the control of any man. But one shockingly unguarded moment while confronted by Marcus’s gloriously naked body catapults her headlong into a forbidden passion and threatens to undermine all her well-laid plans.

Even if Marcus abandons his sweet ideal and surrenders to his growing desire for Clara, there’s one unalterable issue which could destroy their hopes forever…

For sale on amazon.com http://amzn.to/2lKJRBQ , Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2kqygrp and

Kobo http://bit.ly/2kyfkly and via the publisher’s website http://bit.ly/2l8wYym

Please visit me at www.elizabethkeysian.com or sign up for my newsletter at http://eepurl.com/cxe369

Elizabeth Keysian giveaway


Barbara again. Elizabeth has a grand giveaway with lots of prizes going on until the end of February. The link is on the above banner, but I’ll give it again here for convenience. Sign up for her newsletter to be entered in the giveaway.





Follow Barbara Monajem:

Barbara Monajem started writing at eight years old. She has wandered from children’s fantasy through mystery to paranormal and historical romance. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

11 Responses

  1. beppie2014

    I’d heard of the camera obscura in connection with Vermeer and his amazing work (love his work!) but hadn’t thought of using it so cleverly as a plot device. What a neat way to use it! and the photo of the roof is great, making it even more real. Pity it couldn’t be worked into the cover–but a good cover anyway.

  2. elizabethkeysian

    It can be quite hard thinking up new and interesting places or situations for your heroes and heroines to meet, or share their first kiss. I’m a bit claustrophobic myself, but would have taken full advantage of being stuck in there with the drop-dead gorgeous duke (sorry, I don’t think the latter was a term much used during the Regency…)
    I love the Dutch School too. The lighting, the tiled floors, people who looked real for a change…

  3. Katherine Bone

    Fascinating story line, Lady Elizabeth! Thank you for stopping by today and giving us more insight into a camera obscura and best wishes for the greatest success with your debut!!! 😀

  4. Michelle McLean

    sounds like a fun book, can’t wait to read it. Congrats on your new release!!