Sizzling First Encounters with Deeanne Gist

by | Jun 10, 2010 | Fiction Book Reviews, Writing Tips | 44 comments


I’m in the middle of reading Deeanne Gist’s newest book, Maid to Match and let me tell you…FABULOUS! I love the era (1898), the setting (Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC), and the characters. WONDERFUL!

And very fitting that Deeanne’s book just came out and has a brilliant FIRST ENCOUNTER – just for my blog. She planned it just for me, I know it 😉 And my favorite encounter among her characters, Tillie and Mack, is in the dark. (I’ll let that mystery float around on the screen so you HAVE to read the book 😉

Deeanne is best known for her historicals, which are packed with loads of humor and romantic tension. She’s a gifted writer of conflict, which is also one of the reasons why she’s a two-time Christy award winner. But don’t take my word for it. Check out her website at and you can check out my reviews of some of her other books.

Deep in the Heart of Trouble

or A Bridge in the Bargain –

Okay, okay – now lets get on with the good stuff 🙂


What do you think causes great romantic tension, especially for that first hero/heroine encounter?

A slow, slow build. I want the reader to feel exactly what the heroine is feeling. That means I need to engage her emotions one baby-step at a time. If I do my job, then the tension building between the hero and heroine will ultimately extract a visceral response from my reader.

And I’m so tickled you have an excerpt from Maid to Match. Woohoo! Let’s get our sneak preview.

Mack Danver stood stiffly beneath the archway in front of Biltmore House as its heavy wooden door creaked open. His chest tightened. It might as well have been the entrance to Central Prison in Raleigh.

A middle-aged man in a dark navy suit stepped onto the landing, his jowls slackening. “Earl! What are you doing out here? And dressed like that?”

“I’m not Earl. I’m his twin brother, Mack. Mrs.Vanderbilt told me to come.”

The man sniffed. “I think I’d know if you had an identical twin, Earl.”

“You must be Mr. Sterling, the butler.” Mack extended his hand. “Earl’s told me about you.”

Sterling slapped his hand away.

Mack didn’t so much as hesitate. Grabbing the butler by the shirtfront, he propelled him backwards. “Listen, mister. When I say I’m Mack Danver, I mean I’m Mack Danver. When I extend a hand in greeting, I expect it to be taken. When it’s not, I take offense.”

“Mr. Sterling? Is everything—” A young maid stepped to the door. “Earl! What’s the matter with you?”

Black hair peeked out from beneath her small white cap. The eastern sun had reduced her pupils to dots, leaving eyes so blue they appeared almost lavender. Rushing out the door, she jumped between them, squaring off with Mack. “Stop it! Stop it right this minute.”

 Releasing the man’s collar, Mack took a step back. Did she actually believe he was frightened of her? He felt a smile tug at his lips. “I’m not Earl, miss. I’m his brother, Mack.”

 The disapproval she’d shown before was nothing compared to the horror that filled her eyes now. She pressed a hand against her stiffly starched apron. “Oh, no. You’re the brother?”

 He nodded.

 “And you came to the front door? What possessed you to come to the front door?”

 “I was just looking.”

 Rolling her eyes, she turned to the butler. “He’s a mountain man. He was engaged in fisticuffs when Mrs. Vanderbilt first saw him. I’ll take him round back myself and make sure he doesn’t get into any more trouble.”

 Mack tucked his shirt into his trousers. “I can fight my own fights. You needn’t do it for me.”

 She seared him with her gaze. “Do not say another word.”

 He bristled and opened his mouth to argue.

 She lifted her index finger. “Not. Another. Word.” With her finger still in the air, she turned back to the butler. “May I take him round back, sir?”

 Tugging the hem of his jacket, Sterling tightened his lips. “Go ahead. I’ll talk with the housekeeper and tell you what we decide to do with him.”

 Mack took a step forward.

 The maid steepled one hand on his chest. With the other, she pointed toward the gate. “That way, Mr. Danver. The servants’ entrance is that way.”

Okay Dee,

Can I write like you someday? Just pass on the creative genuis through cyberspace and I’ll be a very happy lady What a wonderful excerpt, and great introduction into the world of Maid to Match.

Thanks so much for being a part of the blog series.

****WIN A COPY of Maid to Match********

Some commenter will win Dee’s new novel. A name will be drawn by Sunday, June 13 – so make sure you get your  name in for this opportunity.

If you guys could write a novel in any setting, what would you choose? or if you are writing one right now, what DID you choose and why?

And stop by the blog tomorrow to find out who’s visiting next week for the Sizzlin’ First Encounters Blog series. It starts and ends with a BANG, with lots of fireworks in between.


  1. Ann Lee Miller

    Oh my goodness, I adore Dee’s books and would be ecstatic to win her latest!

    The novel I’m wrapping up right now is set on a sailboat because I lived on one as an adolescent in Miami, Florida. At the time, it seemed like a whole lot of people lived on boats. But as an adult, I see that I had a unique experience that others would find intriguing.

    Ann Lee Miller

    • pepperbasham

      Oh what a fun place to be this morning. All this ‘novel’ talk 🙂
      Ann, WHAT a setting. That’s a new one for me. A sailboat? And perfect for conflict too. How easy is it to get off of a sailboat when you want to get away from someone 🙂

  2. Michelle V

    I love historicals of all kinds but I am really fascinated with the Regency Era. I think that is what I would choose.

    I love Deeanne’s books! Thank you for the chance to win.

    Michelle V

    • pepperbasham

      You’re in, Michelle. Good luck.
      And REgency is a beautiful era. I’m a Janenite for sure.

  3. joysjoyfulljournal

    I’ve been taken with the regency/historical books from way back, but Deanne’s are first rate. I’ve love the sense of humor and spunk her characters show and of course I love a good love-story with a happy-ever-after! That’s why I write Christian Fiction myself.
    Great interview and I like the teaser of the book. Now, you know I can’t wait to get it!

    • pepperbasham

      Thanks for visiting.
      Dee is one of my top three historical writers, so I agree with you whole-heartedly. First rate!
      And teasing? Well, somebody’s gotta do it. believe me, it’s a worthwhile read.

  4. Linda

    I would love to win Dee’s book. Please enter me.

    A story I would like is a cold case mystery, with intricate forensics revealing the culprit.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  5. Tiffany Amber Stockton

    Whoa! Talk about a meeting that’ll stick with ya long after you part. Amazing stuff! Dee is amazing with her characterization, and her writing doesn’t just pull you in…it yanks you in with both arms and legs! I’ve been MIA on her web site since I had my daughter, but this has made me want to get back in chatting and reading.

    As for writing and setting, the series I’m doing now is set in Wyoming. I had to find a place where the railroad had a direct line and where a cattle baron might be able to easily service the Army with beef, but also where the baron’s wife could “disappear” and suffer a case of mistaken identity without him knowing. Let’s just say when he finds out his wife isn’t dead like he was told and he finds her, she doesn’t know she’s he’s wife and she’s flirting with the foreman of their ranch. 🙂

    And that’s all I’m going to say about it. Would love to win a copy of Dee’s latest. Thanks for the chance, Pepper.

    tiff at amberstockton dot com.

    • pepperbasham

      The premise for your wip sounds great. Talk about your conflict!!
      So, my guess is that it’s a historical, right? With the railroad and all.

  6. Julie Lessman

    Hey Pep,

    I’m definitely a fan of Deeanne’s work, so please toss my hat in the ring and thank you for this opportunity to win.

    I am partial to the early 1900s, and the setting I chose for my first two series is Boston. The reason why is because I started writing my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure, when I was 12 and at that time, I was fascinated with the history of Boston AND I loved Boston Baked Beans (the candy). Not much of a reason, I know, but it thrilled the socks off of me when I discovered som 40 years later (when I finally finished that early attempt at a novel), that Boston was considered the “Heart of Irish America,” which is most appropriate for my Irish family, The O’Connors.


    • pepperbasham

      How’s that for Providential circumstances. Boston and the “heart of Irish America”? Wow. And I can’t wait to show off your First Encounter next Friday. Yipee!! Any day I can take to brag 😉 And you are in my top three historical authors too. Now you just have to figure out who the third one is 😉 Bet you can guess.

  7. Edwina Cowgill

    I lovc the Biltmore House and would enjoy reading a book in that setting.

    The book that I’m just beginning work on is set in a small town, modern day.


    • pepperbasham

      Do you like the write contemps?
      Have you visited the Biltmore? It’s breathtaking, isn’t it? AMAZING!!
      Dee really brings the place to life through her book.

      • Patricia

        I love Biltmore, too! What a fabulous place. Did you know that Dee having a big party for her readers there this September? Check out the details at I’m going!!!

        • pepperbasham

          Oh Patricia,
          I’d love to go to her party. Biltmore is only an hour and a half from my house 🙂

  8. Sherrinda

    Oh goodness! That was excellent. The characters seemed to POP. 🙂 Love it when that happens. And any hero material who can take somebody by the collar and push him back…well, he’s got to be strong AND strong in temperament. I love a strong hero. No wimpy heroes for me. 🙂


    • pepperbasham

      I want to write that way, don’t you? Where the characters GRAB you from your world and pull you into theirs. Oh dear, I LOVE that!! Dee’s fantastic at it.

  9. Julia

    I would love to read Deanne’s works.

    My favorite time periods to read about are the Victorian period in England and WWII novels set either in Europe or the United States. Although I really love all historicals.


    • pepperbasham

      The Victorian era is beautiful and FILLED with lots of conflict and history. Love it. And I’m a fan of the World Wars, makes it easier to find conflict 😉
      I just finished watching the movie The Young Victoria – it was BEAUTIFUL!

  10. Jo

    I love books written late 1800’s early 1900’s. Fascinated with that time period for some reason and do love historicals.


    • pepperbasham

      You’ll love this one. Your name’s in the drawing. Good luck

  11. Deborah Leathers

    I love historical fiction too! And this one is no exception….especially by that little teaser! Deanne is so talented! I loved her book “The Measure of a Lady” it was so GREAT!
    If I was writing a book, I would probably write chick lit, books set on the beach like Julie Carobini. Or if I could be so creative, mystery/suspense like Terri Blackstock.
    Thank you so much for the chance to win a copy of this book!

    • pepperbasham

      The Measure of a Lady was a fantastic book, wasn’t it? Didn’t the ending just rip your heart out. WOW!! powerful. I love chic lit – so much fun! And Terri Blackstock? Wow!

  12. heidi Shafer-Wilson

    the won I’m working on right now takes place in two different times. Parts are in the late 1700’s in to the 1800’s and present time. They live in a small town that is not that far from me.( I grew up in this town, I love it so I decided to use it) I love books written in other time periods. I guess you can say I love historicals.
    Please enter me in your contest, I really would love to read this book.



  13. Casey

    Oh pick me, pick me, pick meeeeeeeeeee!!

    LOL, what a great sneak peek! Love that meeting. I have the first book, A Bride in the Bargain on my TBR stack and I am saving it for a loooong drive in a couple monts (13 hours to be exact). Thanks for hosting this, what fun!!

    And in answer to your question, I am writing a Women’s fiction contemp. I am really enjoying crafting that one. 🙂


    • pepperbasham

      Now Case,
      You don’t have one of these books coming soon in the mail anyway, do you? 😉 You’re in for the drawing.

  14. Linnette

    Deeanne Gist is one of my all time favorite writers! I try to keep up with her books and purchase every one I find. Please add me to your list for the drawing of her book.

    I’m currently writing “Finding Beth.” You can check out the first three chapters at my website. I actually have a double setting – Kansas City and the Smoky Mountains…Pigeon Forge, TN. My heroine is from KC and my hero from TN. If you want to know how they meet, you’ll have to read the chapters I have on-line. I live in the KC metro, but I grew up in the Ozark Mountains. When my husband took us to the Smokies for a vacation one year, it reminded me of a giant version of the Ozarks and I totally fell in love! My story is about a young woman having second thoughts about her fiance` and so she runs to the Smokies to get away for a while and pray over her future. God answers in very unexpected ways, but will she have the courage and strength to do what she needs to do and what might it cost her?

    • pepperbasham

      Are you a Tennessean? I am. Not originally, but I live a grand total of 2 hours from the Smokies. I’m in the heart of the Blue Ridge mountains. GREAT place to live and where a lot of my stories take place.

  15. Deeanne Gist

    What a great discussion you have going on! I have really fallen in love with the Victorian era but for my next book I think I might scootch into the Edwardian period. Looking forward to seeing you at my Getaway With Dee, Patricia! Hope some of you others can make it too!

  16. Missy Tippens

    Great teaser, Dee and Pepper!! I just love the Biltmore House and think it would be a great setting.

    I tend to enjoy writing small towns in the south. I guess I like to write what I know. 🙂

    missytippens [at]

    • pepperbasham

      I’m with you. I like to write about small towns in the south – not WAY south, but right around my neck of the woods 😉 Thanks for stopping by.

  17. karenk

    would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to read this fabulous novel….thanks for the chance 🙂

    • pepperbasham

      You’re in the drawing, Karen

  18. misskallie2000

    I love this review. Dee’s Maid to Match is my kind of book. Love to have humor along with a good story and fisty heroine and hero clashing.

    If I was to write a book I would love to write about the 1800’s here in America. Maybe set in Kentucky or North or South Carolina.

    • pepperbasham

      Great time period, Kallie. And great setting. I love the south 🙂 Grits and all.

  19. Martha Artyomenko

    I love Montana, where i live. I love to imagine what it was like living here before it was civilized sometimes and think about writing a story placed here, but most often, I have started several times writing a story about a woman in my time, facing the challenges I do now, living probably either in Montana, Northern MN or Western Oregon.

  20. Christy LaShea

    Ladies, I already have a copy of Maid to Match – and I love Dee’s play on words, by the way – The book is FABULOUS! Definitely her best yet and that was hard for me to come to after reading Bride in the Bargain! Another wonderful story! Talk about sexual tension! Very high in BINB and in Maid to Match. Pepper, I’m with you, I love those scenes in the dark. Just wait till you get to the end…

    • pepperbasham

      AHHH Christy,
      You tease.
      Should I skip to the end right now. Tempting…
      NAh, I’ll try to be a purist 😉
      Thanks for the hint. It’s such a great a book

  21. Sandee61

    I’d love to be included in the giveaway for Deeanne’s latest book. I’ve really enjoyed all her other books and would love to read “Maid To Match”. Thank you!



  22. Jan Marie

    Normally I prefer a more contemporary setting for reading but the teaser on this one makes me not just want, but NEED to know more. This was a great interview from both sides .. interviewer and interviewee!

    I am in the early stages of working on an idea for a present day suspense that is set in a combination of mid-sized town and a rural area. Slow going!

    Hope it’s not too late to enter!


    • Pepper

      You got it, Jan.

      • Jan Marie

        Hi, Pepper! Did you get the email I sent on June 15th with mailing info? Just checking to make sure!

        Jan Marie

  23. Katey

    If I wrote a book in any time setting it would have to be set in Scotland from a long time ago. My dad’s family came from Scotland. 🙂

  24. Jennifer

    Oh my goodness, I can’t wait to read this book!! I would love to be entered please! If I ever write a book, I would write one in Regency England. I love how many options there are now in Christian fiction for me, and really appreciate the great Christian authors who have provided those for us. One thing I love about that time period is how the heroes always take care of their lady and look after their welfare.
    : )


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