Monday, April 9, 2012

GUEST LAUNCH PARTY + GIVEAWAY: Lessons After Dark by Isabel Cooper

Please give a warm welcome to fellow Sourcebooks Casablanca author Isabel Cooper, here to celebrate the release of her second books with Sourcebooks, Lessons After Dark, which is in stores this month!

It’s been a good couple of weeks, let me tell you guys.

First of all, it’s April, which means spring even in New England. (Well, most of the time. Hopefully.) Easter has hit, which means that I’ve stocked up on both Cadbury Crème Eggs and the off-brand sort that taste more vanilla-y. And Lessons After Dark released on April 3rd!

I’m very excited about this book, the sequel to No Proper Lady, where my crew of Victorian mystic weirdos starts getting organized about this evil-fighting thing. That means training other mystic weirdos, and that means starting a school and hiring faculty. Faculty like Olivia Brightmore, who shows up to teach the magic she now actually knows after spending about ten years faking it. Faculty like Gareth St. John, the school doctor with a magical talent for healing, who’s met Olivia before and doesn’t trust her one bit.

Between the students’ misadventures and the stranger, darker things going on at Englefield, though, it looks like they’re going to have to get along, at least a little bit. The alternative’s pretty bad, after all. And the benefits, though neither Olivia nor Gareth wants to admit them, start to look pretty nice.

Here’s a scene from Lessons After Dark, to give you an idea of the tension building between Olivia and Gareth:

“I hope you enjoyed the lesson,” Olivia said in her most pleasant tone of voice.

For an instant, St. John’s face showed both surprise and alarm. Then he inclined his head toward her—the movement slightly rough, as befitted a man a little out of practice with Polite Society, but not bad at all—and smiled. “It was highly educational and extremely surprising. I couldn’t have asked for more.”

He was quick. Part of Olivia wanted to kick him for it, but part felt the same thrill she’d gotten stepping out on stage for the first time.

“I’m glad to hear it,” she said. She paused momentarily, tilted her head to look up at him, and added, “I hadn’t expected to give a lecture to such an important guest. Some women might have found it extremely intimidating, you know.”

Another hit. Olivia could see his eyes narrow at some women, the some slightly emphasized. A rather interesting shade of green, those eyes. Darker than Charlotte’s, not quite hazel. More… moss? She was no artist. Besides, she didn’t care.

“I’d hate to cause any distress,” St. John said, almost curt. He stopped there for a second. Olivia fought the urge to smile with triumph and wondered why that triumph should be faintly disappointing as well. Then St. John shrugged and went on. “But I’m sure a woman of your experience is more than capable of disregarding any opinion that fails to please her.”

Experience, like some as it had come from her mouth, carried just enough weight to make the meaning clear. Anger swept up Olivia’s body, and she knew it showed on her face. Not for the first time, she wished she’d managed to acquire a suntan, no matter how unfashionable it was.

Never mind. Carry on.

Olivia smiled. She bared her teeth, at any rate. “I assure you, sir, I am quite capable of doing so. But the respect of a colleague is a very different thing, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Certainly,” said St. John. He took a step forward and looked down at her, raising his dark eyebrows. “In fact, given the mission of this place, I would say we have even more responsibility than usual for the character of its students… and so more responsibility toward each other.”

In other words, yes, he had been watching to make sure she didn’t somehow corrupt the students, and no, he wasn’t going to stop.

If Olivia had been ten years younger, she might have slapped him then.

And I can’t help but celebrate a little bit at this launch party, because Lessons After Dark has received some great advanced praise:

“Funny, sensual, and occasionally dark, this charmer is laced with both humor and danger; another magical romp that fans are sure to enjoy.” –Library Journal

“The drama and tension worked into the story as the war begins between human and demon is well expressed by the author. As they learn how their powers work and try to save the students and perhaps the world, you won’t want to leave your chair until you’ve reached the end.“– Long and Short Reviews

“A direct sequel to Cooper’s debut, No Proper Lady, this second volume is, if anything, even better. Seamlessly weaving the paranormal elements around the romance between Olivia and Gareth, Cooper’s worldbuilding is solid and believable. Both Olivia and Gareth are sympathetic characters, and it is a real joy to watch them negotiate their inner and outer lives in order to create a life together.”—RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ Stars, Top Pick of the Month

Thank you to the Casablanca Authors for inviting me back to celebrate the release of Lessons After Dark!

Thanks, Isabel, for stopping by! To celebrate Isabel’s latest release, we will do a giveaway! To enter one of two copies of Lessons After Dark, please tell us in the comments if you could have any supernatural power, what would it be and why?  Don’t forget to leave an email address so you can be contacted if you’re chosen as the winner. Two random commenters will be chosen on Monday, 4/16. 


A woman with an unspeakable past…
Olivia Brightmore didn't know what to expect when she took a position to teach at Englefiend School, an academy for "gifted" children. But it wasn't having to rescue a young girl who levitated to the ceiling. Or battling a dark mystery in the surrounding woods. And nothing could have prepared her for Dr. Gareth St. John...

A man with exceptional talent…
He knew all about her history and scrutinized her every move because of it. But there was more than suspicion lurking in those luscious green eyes. Even with all the strange occurrences at the school, the most unsettling of all is the attraction pulling Olivia and Gareth together with a force that cannot be denied.

Critically acclaimed author Isabel Cooper lives in Boston with her boyfriend and a houseplant she’s kept alive for over a year now. She maintains her guise as a mild-mannered project manager working in legal publishing; all the while, she’s writing dark, edgy and magical romance novels. Her debut novel, No Proper Lady, was named a 2011 Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year in the romance category, a 2011 Library Journal Best Romance of the Year and received an RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence for the month of September 2011. For more information, please visit


  1. Hearty congrats on your release! Thoroughly enjoyed the veiled verbal sparring between hero and heroine in your excerpt.

    To answer your question, I would want the power to grant happiness. Always thought that it would pretty much cover everything.

    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  2. I'd probably want telekinesis...strong enough to lift myself. I considered telepathy but I'd probably get into trouble with my snarky thoughts, especially toward other drivers, lol.

  3. Congrats on your latest release, Isabel! Great excerpt. I always thought reading minds would be a great gift.

  4. Congrats on the release!

    It would be nice to be able to transport myself from here to there with a snap of the fingers. I'd never be late again!

  5. Great excerpt, Isabel! Me, I'd like to be able to talk to animals and explain to my little Boston Terrier why he can stay in on cold nights, but not warm ones!

  6. Hi Isabel. Loved the excerpt. I would love to be able to teleport. It would make life so much easier.

  7. @Lil: Good thinking, that. :)

    @Elf2060: TK would be awesome, especially if I could use it to do dishes too!

    @Tracey: I like that idea! As long as I could turn it off on the subway in the mornings.

    @Shana and Crystal: Ooh, yes. And as someone who hates to fly, that would be an excellent way out of plane trips.

    @Cheryl: Awww! That would be great. (I've always thought that dogs' speech would feature a lot of "YAAAAAY!", almost regardless of the situation.)

    Thank you for your comments, everyone!


  8. This book sounds great. Liked the excerpt, now want to finish the book.
    I would love to be a telepath. I would love to be able to hear people thoughts and help those who needed help.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  9. Isabel, Congratulations on the new release and keeping that houseplant alive for a whole year. Both are very impressive in my world!
    Supernatural power? Reading minds would be right up there on the top with maybe just a little bit of CCC...that would be complete chocolate control.

  10. Congratulations on your release! What a great excerpt!

    I would like the power to give everyone their HEA (it's all those romances that I read :)


  11. Congratulations, Isabel! :-)
    I would want to be able to teleport-- I can't drive due to health reasons, so that would be amazing :-)


  12. @Chrisbails: Very altruistic use of that particular power--nice!
    @Carolyn: Ha! I hear you on both of those, actually. ;)
    @catslady: Aww! That's an awesome choice.
    @Chelsea B.: Definitely useful!

  13. Congratulations on the book! I'd like to teleport so that I can travel to different places easily.


  14. Congrats on the new release, Isabel. I would choose telekinesis. I want to be able to manipulate objects.

  15. I would love the power to bring fictional characters to life! I have "met" so many that I would want as friends, and heroes who I have fallen for. That would be something :) Or perhaps the power to time-travel. Congratulations on your book release. Sourcebooks always have the prettiest covers.


  16. Congratulations on the release, Isabel. I'm not sure what power I'd want... maybe speed writing. Is there such a power? I'd love to be able to sit down and finish a book in a few weeks instead of a few months. I have too many stories to tell and too little time to do it in.

  17. If I could have a supernatural power, It would have to be teleportation because I hate sitting in traffic. I just want to be where I need go be instantly, that would be so awesome.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  18. Strangely enough, I'll love to have reactive adaptation as my superpower. There wouldn't be any threats I couldn't handle!


  19. Lessons After Dark sounds really good! I would love teleportation, because there are so many places I'd love to travel to, and it'd just be so much fun to teleport around. And it would come in really handy if I was bored or really didn't want to be somewhere. Thanks for the giveaway, I'd love to enter if it's international.


  20. Thanks to everyone who commented, and to Isabel Cooper for joining us last week! Our random winners are JessS and Chelsea B! I will email you both shortly.