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Jane Austen's World

Gentle Readers, It may please you to know that frequent contributer, Tony Grant (London Calling), lives near Richmond Park, a wilderness that has kept its pristine nature for centuries. Enjoy these beautiful photographs.

Richmond Park is situated 12 miles south west of St Pauls Cathedral in the city of London. It just happens to be two miles from where I live on the edge of Wimbledon and abuts Wimbledon Common that stretches for a few miles on the other side of the Kingston Road.

The Kingston Road is a very old road running between Kingston upon Thames and the City of London. It bisects Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park on it’s way. Jane Austen would have travelled often along it on her way from Hampshire by way of Kingston upon Thames to her brother Henry’s house in Henrietta Street or to one of the other houses Henry owned…

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Sunday News!

This is the first Sunday News in a while, and I’m sad to say, the last. As you all know, this year I start my new print series. I am also writing novellas that will release in between the big book releases, and I’m writing a novella series that I will self-publish. Despite my best efforts, I am unable to keep up the writing schedule and blog with any regularity. Not to mention, my lack of consistent internet. To give you an example, I have an internet connection at the moment only when the boat swings a certain way.

I have, however, joined the lovely group of ladies at Embracing Romance, where I will blog once a month. I hope you will join me there.

I will continue to post new releases, pre-orders, and contests but if you are not on Facebook with me, I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter. Actually, I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter in any event.

Now for the good news. Congratulations to Natasha for winning a copy of Sandra Master’s book.

Most of you know that I have two releases coming in the very near future. The first is a novella, A Promise of Love, which is book #1 in my novella series The Trevors. Those of you who read Miss Featherton’s Christmas Prince, the last book in The Marriage Game will remember Damon’s father, the nasty, horrible duke. More than one reader truly wished I had gotten rid of him. But I needed him for the series. After all, I could not write about how his many children escape the despot when I’d already done him in. Apologies to you, but needs must.

Passionate+Promises+Final+BOX+1000x640A Promise of Love is part of a box set, Passionate Promises which releases on February 15th, and I’m having a pre-order contest to help launch the series. To enter, you must provide a proof of purchase by completing the form. When the book releases, everyone who entered will receive a private link to the prologue of the next book in the series! I hope all of you will enter and spread the word to your family and friends!

PREORDER HERE: Amazon | Barnes & NobleKobo | iBooks

Three Weeks To Wed reviseOn March 29th, what my publisher calls an April release, Three Weeks to Wed, the first book in The Worthingtons, hits the shelves, or if you read in ebook format, will magically download to your device. So, I’m having another pre-order contest sponsored by my publisher. On release day, everyone who entered will be able to access the prologue to Three Weeks to Wed. Please follow this link to enter.

I promise you that neither of these prologues will be available again at any time; no matter what promises or bribes I receive or dire threats are made. They are strictly for those of you who pre-order and enter the contests.

PREORDER HERE: Amazon | Barnes & NobleKobo | iBooks

As I alluded to above, we’ve been traveling. Here are some pictures.

Grand Case 2 Sunset Lagoonie's Breakfast Menu Sarafina Beach at Nevis Hill at Nevis Sunset 2014-07-17

Please welcome historical author Sandra Masters to the blog. Sandra is here today to tell us about her latest release, My Divinely Decadent Duke!! She will also give away one copy of the book to one of you who leaves a comment saying you want it.

We begin with the cover.

MyDivinelyDecadentDuke_w10417_100[2]

Next the blurb.

Orphaned and abandoned by family, Lady Cassandra Montgomery yearns for love. Beautiful and innocent, she attracts the attention of a renowned rake, the Duke of Althorn. When her security is threatened, she offers him a proposal for an arranged marriage in exchange for his guarantee of safety for her and her ward. After her first taste of desire in his arms, she finds the sexual attraction irresistible. Finding herself in a family way, she leaves his home, unsure of his love.

The Duke is at first enraged by the brazen behavior, yet he sees Cassandra as a captivating caregiver for his mother and impossible to resist. He agrees. The arrangement becomes inconvenient because love and sex enter the equation.

Will she believe her husband truly loves her and return to his waiting arms?

Will the Duke admit his love and use his rakish skills to woo Cassandra back to his bed?

 

 

Now an excerpt.

“What about love and passion?” Cassandra wondered until she realized she spoke the words aloud. Enough. Everything but the one thing I want. And you think you are not cruel, Gordon?

“They shall take care of themselves with time. I will not force myself on you…unless you wish it of me. I would like the opportunity to demonstrate to you I am a good man you may wish to know better, Cassandra. Goodness knows you’ve seen many sides of me.”

She found it easy to believe because she wanted to. Somehow the arranged marriage did not sound as insane as before. At least she wouldn’t have to marry Ashcombe, a perfect stranger. Her choices were an older, gentle man, or the younger scandalous rake she loved.

Her mind spun.

Her world twirled.

She swayed.

He held her steady in his arms.

Her heart broke.

And then he did a terrible thing.

He kissed her with tender gentleness and coaxed open her lips. Their mouths melded together. Her body molded to his and it was perfect. She heard heart beats, pulse beats, thunderous beats. To be so close to him, so near, so in need—it was so unfair. She rested her head on his broad chest and made her decision.

“You are an innocent and a temptation I cannot afford, but I want you,” Gordon murmured.

Was it better to be miserable with him than without him?

When God wants to punish you, he grants you your dreams.

 

Buy link. Amazon

 

About Sandra.

Sandra_2014 50 percent pictureA (3)Retired executive, Sandra Masters, rose from a humble beginning in Newark, NJ, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, NJ, to the board rooms of NYC, and a fantastic career for a broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, to the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park, she has always traveled with pen and notebook. It’s been the journey of ten thousand miles. She left her corporate world behind and never looked back.

Hogmanay-Scots New Years

By Collette Cameron

A guid New Year to ane an` a` and mony may ye see!

Comrie_Flambeaux_Procession_-_geograph.org.uk_-_314153

“Comrie Flambeaux Procession – geograph.org.uk – 314153″ by Anne Burgess. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

 

One of the main reasons I enjoy writing historical romances so much is the fun snippets of authentic history I get to sprinkle throughout my stories. My latest novel culminates around the Christmas season which was well and good for my hero (he’s British) but my heroine is Scottish, and the Scot’s didn’t celebrate Christmas.

So, she set about educating her beau-turned-husband on one of Scotland’s most celebrated festivals, Hogmanay.

The origin of Hogmanay is unclear, though several theories have developed regarding the start of the once pagan festival.

Some attribute the celebration to the Flemish influence in Scotland because “hoog min dag” means “great love day”. However, Hogmanay is most often credited to the French expression “Homme est né” or “Man is born.”

Some historians still insist “Hoggo-nott” which was a Scandinavian feast, birthed the tradition (think Vikings invaders) while others argue the Anglo-Saxon words “Haleg Monath” is where the word Hogmanay came from.

Whatever the source, the Scots love the day and celebrate with typical Scottish gusto and enthusiasm.

Here are some of the most common Hogmanay traditions:

First-footing-It was good luck to have a tall, dark, gift-bearing male be your first guest of the New Year. Slam the door in a fair-haired person’s face if they were the first to visit for it portended bad luck. (Those Vikings again!) Whisky and shortbread were gifts traditionally offered and often are today still.

Redding-A not so fun tradition consisting of cleaning the house thoroughly on December 31st (including the fireplaces ashes) to usher in the New Year. (You wouldn’t want a dirty house when that handsome, dark-haired fellow showed up!)

Actually, the custom was rooted in the idea of cleaning out the old year to usher in the new.

Handsel Day (Handselling)-This is a nearly extinct tradition where on the first Monday of the New Year, small gifts were given to children and servants.

Auld Lange Syne At midnight, everyone sings the tune Robert Frost made famous, though he based the tune on an earlier piece.

Torch and Bonfire Ceremonies –Today, firework displays and torchlight processions take the place of ancient pagan practices. In times past, hides were wrapped around sticks and lit on fire because the smoke was thought to ward off evil spirits. Torch tossing, rolling ignited tar-filled barrels down a hill, and lighting a huge bonfire were all part of the Hogmanay celebration as well.

It’s a good thing January 2nd is a holiday in Scotland!

I wonder, have you ever sung Auld Lange Syne? Were you aware of its Scots roots?

 

 

While I’m off celebrating my thirty-second wedding anniversary, Liza O’Connor is going to tell you about her latest book, and she has a contest!

Darkest days tour banner

During Queen Victoria’s era, the royalty gene pool was a closed loop, so it was not uncommon for cousins to marry first cousins.

LH & QV

 

In Book 6, I create a cousin, Lady Haughton, for the Queen. Lady Haughton is what you would call a lesser royalty. There is no chance whatsoever that she would ever be offered the crown. So she prefers to go by the title of ‘Lady’. I have no idea if she has a fancier title. The real female first cousins of Victoria that I could find all had titles such as Princess and Empress. (There were at least ten of them) But none of these women would do, so I created a lesser cousin.

My Lady Haughton is unfortunately plagued by relatives who are frankly an embarrassment to all society. So her name has been erased from all social lists. For all practical purposes, she has been royally forgotten. Except by the Queen.

She and Queen Victoria look very much alike. Thus, Lady Haughton rarely leaves her home, least her cousin be embarrassed when people see her and think the Queen is not wearing black, or worse yet, she is laughing. (True Fact: The Queen loved to laugh, but she rarely did so in public.)

Instead, Lady Haughton lived a quiet, wealthy, solitaire life, until the ghosts came a banging.

She hires Xavier & Vic to remove the ghosts. Not believing in such silliness, their suspicion lands on a nephew she has bequeathed all her wealth to when she dies. She has a great deal of nephew and nieces, but the only one she loves is Leslie.

I must say, when ‘not quite royalty’ goes bad, they go very bad.

Darkest days tubs 3  400x640

 

blurb

When the pot has too many cooks a feast can be ruined, and that’s exactly what happens with Xavier and Vic’s new cases. Each proves more complicated than initially thought with criminals dropping out of the sky, wreaking havoc upon Xavier, Vic, and their excellent employees. By the end, Vic threatens to open a school that teaches criminals how to stay out of each other’s way.

Worse yet, a treasured member of the staff is shot in the heart while attempting to save Vic and the Queen’s cousin.

An Excerpt

Here’s a bit about Leslie, the lady’s nice nephew:

Gregory closed his eyes as if willing sufficient patience to deal with Vic. “Victor, I have no issues with you saving people. However, doing so does not preclude using proper etiquette. When bringing guests home, you must never open the front door and bellow for your butler.”

“What would you have me do? I’m not upset that you don’t spend your day standing at the door so it opens when I approach it. You were clearly busy doing something of greater importance, so I unlocked the door and entered. However, I was certain you would not approve if I settled Leslie in without letting you know, so I called, not bellowed, your name.”

“You should have knocked on the door and waited,” he scolded.

Vic stepped closer, determined to win this argument. “Well, the problem I have with your solution is that someone is trying very hard to kill Leslie. His body has more bullet wounds, garrotes and knife scars than Xavier’s. I was not about to let him die on my doorstep while I practiced proper etiquette.”

lINKS

The Darkest Days

Book 6

Free with Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Need to catch up?

Book 1

The Troublesome Apprentice

Book 2

The Missing Partner

Book 2.5

A Right to Love

Book 3

The Mesmerist

Book 4

Well Kept Secrets

Book 5

Pack of Trouble

 

All Xavier & Vic books are Free with Amazon Unlimited

 

Liza O’Connor was raised badly by feral cats, left the South/Midwest and wandered off to find nicer people on the east coast. There she worked for the meanest man on Wall Street, while her psychotic husband tried to kill her three times. (So much for finding nicer people.) Then one day she declared enough, got a better job, divorced her husband, and fell in love with her new life where people behaved nicely. But all those bad behaviors has given her lots of fodder for her humorous books. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.

You have been warned.

Mostly humorous books by Liza:

Ghost LoverTwo British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. And there’s a ghost cat that roams about the book as well. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)

Saving Casey— Cass wakes up in the body of a troubled teen who has burned every bridge imaginable. Her only choice is to turn this life around, but that’s much harder than she ever imagined.

Untamed & UnabashedThe youngest of the Bennet sisters, Lydia, tells her story. A faithful spinoff from Pride & Prejudice.

A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)

Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.

Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.

Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.

Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.

The Hardest LoveIs to love oneself. Sam’s story.

The Adventures of Xavier & Vic Sleuth series: (Late Victorian/Mystery/Romance)

The Troublesome Apprentice — The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man who turns out to be a young woman.

The Missing Partner — Opps! The greatest sleuth in Victorian England goes missing, leaving Vic to rescue him, a suffragette, and about 100 servants. Not to mention an eviscerating cat. Yes, let’s not mention the cat.

A Right to Love — A romantic detour for Jacko. Want to see how amply rewarded Jacko was when he & Vic save an old woman from Bedlam?

The Mesmerist The Mesmerist can control people from afar and make them murder for her. Worse yet, Xavier Thorn has fallen under her spell.

Well Kept Secrets — The problems with secrets is that they always come to light, no matter how you wish to silence them.

Pack of Trouble — Changes are a part of life, but these changes almost kill Vic.

The Darkest Days — Muddled cases make Vic very grumpy.

 

Social Networking

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT

LIZA O’CONNOR

Investigate these sites:

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

XnV 7in row books

I’m so thrilled to welcome fellow Rom-vet and Kensington author Diana Cosby back to the blog!! Diana is here today with her latest release, An Oath Sworn!! Diana will also give away a copy of her book to one of you. All you have to do is tell her you want it!

First the lovely cover.

1 1aa An Oath Sworn Cover

Next the blurb.

Bound by honor to save a country they love …

The bastard daughter of the French king, Marie Alesia Serouge has just one chance at freedom when she escapes her captor in the Scottish highlands. A mere pawn in a scheme to destroy relations between France and Scotland, Marie must reach her father and reveal the Englishmen’s treacherous plot. But she can’t abandon the wounded warrior she stumbles upon—and she can’t deny that his fierce masculinity, Scottish or not, stirs something wild inside her.

Colyne MacKerran is on a mission for his king, and he’s well aware that spies are lying in wait for him everywhere. Wounded en route, he escapes his attackers and is aided by an alluring Frenchwoman…whose explanation for her presence in the Highlands rings false. Even if she saved his life, he cannot trust her with his secrets. But he won’t leave her to the mercy of brigands, either—and as they race for the coast, he can’t help but wonder if her kiss is as passionate as she is. With nothing in common but their honor, Colyne and Marie face a dangerous journey to safety through the untamed Scottish landscape—and their own reckless hearts…
And finally, the excerpt.

“Who is he?” Colyne MacKerran asked. He far from understood the importance of the question he asked.  “What does it matter who it is or the reason his men are searching for me?” Colyne shot her a wry grin.  “If I am going to risk my life escorting you, I need to know what I am up against.” Hope stumbled through Lady Marie Alesia Serouge.  “You will escort me? But—” The Scot held up his hand, any trace of humor gone.  “To my friend’s home as I offered before.  Nay more.  Once you are in safe hands, I must go.  I have my own business to attend to.” Colyne’s reaction to the knights who’d ridden by flickered in her mind. Uneasy, she cleared her throat.  “You believed the men were after you?” His expression grew shuttered. Marie tensed.  Was this Scot a threat?  She didn’t want to believe she’d miscalculated to such a degree.  But if she was wrong . . . Long seconds passed as he stared at her, his deep gaze assessing.  “Aye, they are.” “Why?” she asked. A grim smile touched his mouth.  “Well now, lass, I have my own reasons.   Ones I will nae be sharing.  And,” he paused, “you will have to trust me as well.”
Continue reading
Buy links.  Kindle ~  iTunes ~  NOOK ~  KOBO  ~ Google PlayAmazon.com (Canada) Amazon (UK)Amazon.fr (France) ~ Amazon.it (Italy) ~ Amazon.de Kindle (Germany) ~ Amazon.es (Spain) ~ Amazon.co.ja (Japan) ~ Amazoncom.au. (Australia)

 

About Diana.

Diana CosbyA retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothers series are translated in five languages.  Diana has spoken at the Library of Congress, Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, and appeared in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happy Ever After,” MSN.com, Atlantic County Women Magazine, and Texoma Living Magazine.

After her career in the Navy, Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. With 34 moves behind her, she was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met throughout the world. With all three books of The Oath Trilogy, An Oath Taken, An Oath Broken, and An Oath Sworn, making bestseller lists in the U.S., Canada, and/or the United Kingdom, as well as the release of the e Box Set of the MacGruder Brothers series, she is now preparing for the release of the first book in the Forbidden Series, Forbidden Legacy, in August 2016!

Diana looks forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share this journey.

www.dianacosby.com

Monday Excerpts!!

Welcome to Monday Excerpts!! Today we’re doing excerpts of our next release and buy links.

Mine is from A Promise of Love, book #1 in The Trevors, a novella series. The book will release in the Passionate Promises box set in February.

APassionate+Promises+Final+BOX+1000x640pril 1817, London

Lord Francis (Frank) Trevor glanced around the brilliantly lit ballroom wondering what the devil he was doing there. As the second son of the Duke of Somerset, one might suppose he would be used to the ton. And one would be mistaken. Other than the brief period of time he’d spent on the town during a university holiday, he had been acting as his father’s factor. A job that should belong to his eldest brother Damon, Marquis of Hawksworth. His father’s heir.

Frank hadn’t even had a holiday from running the dukedom’s estates. However, as soon as the Father had departed for Scotland with a few of his cronies, Mama had decided Frank could benefit from a touch of Town bronze. How the hell that was supposed to help him when he dealt mainly with crops and animals, he had no idea. He was trapped in a life he did not want and had no hope of employment outside of slaving for his father. If he even attempted to find another position, the duke would ensure he never got it. And after Damon’s marriage to Meg Featherton at Christmas, the duke had made very clear that in the future he would be making any necessary matches for his children.

Ergo, being here was a waste of time and money, though, thankfully, not his own.

A glass of wine was pressed into his hand. “Frank, you are supposed to be having fun.” His brother, Damon had a lazy smile on his face. “Not looking as if you’re facing a hanging.”

Frank took a long pull on the wine. “I’m having trouble knowing where to start. How did you manage to talk father into this visit?”

“Ah, well.” Rather than answering his question, his brother scanned the crowd. “Your mother decided it was time you were introduced to some of the ladies.”

As if he would really be allowed to choose his own bride. “Did she happen to send you a list of ladies who father would approve?”

“Ah, no.”

Damon raised his hand, and they were almost immediately joined by Meg, his wife of four months, and the young lady she had in tow. A beautiful lady with enough curves to entice a monk. Just what he needed. Even though he was immediately smitten with her, she was not for him. He had nothing to offer a woman looking for a husband, and he had his father to contend with.

“My love,” Damon continued, “we forgot that Frank doesn’t really know anyone one.”

“Aren’t you fortunate that I have a remedy?” Meg gave Frank an innocent grin.

She was up to something. The former Miss Margaret Featherton was the only female that had ever bested his father. “Miss MacGowan, may I introduce you to my brother-in-law Lord Francis Trevor. Frank, Miss MacGowan. She has been traveling the Continent, and, like you, does not know many people here.”

The woman smiled politely, but there was a hard glitter in her eyes as she held out her hand. “A pleasure to meet you.”

The moment their hands touched Frank caught his breath. He took another look into her eyes and could now see they were the color of a Scottish lake, and not nearly as cold as they had been a moment ago. A hint of lavender and lemon wove its magic, capturing his senses, and his hand warmed where her long slim fingers rested in his palm. Her thick, auburn hair was arranged on top of her head, with tendrils curling down to fame her oval face. He imagined running his fingers through her silky tresses. He didn’t know how long he just stood there, but someone coughed, and he remembered he had to bow and say something.

“It is a pleasure, Miss MacGowan.” He was surprised he could speak at all, nonetheless in a normal voice.

For a moment she stared at him, as if she was feeling the same strange sensations that had attacked him. Then she grinned ruefully, a look of consternation on her lovely face. “Dear me, you would think I’d know this by now.” She lowered her voice to a whisper, as if speaking to herself. “What do I call you?” After a moment, her brow cleared. “Oh, yes. Lord Francis.”

“I actually prefer Lord Frank.” Then, lost as he was by her flaming hair and flawless milky skin, he said the first thing that came into his head, “You do not sound Scottish.”

She laughed. A lilting sound that made him want to laugh as well. “That is because I am not. I have Scottish antecedents on my father’s side, English on my mother’s side, and a great deal of Dutch mixed in.” Her tone became defensive and challenging at the same time. “I, sir, am an American.”

American? Frank stilled for a moment. The only American woman he had heard of was . . . “From New York?” Holding her chin high Miss MacGowan nodded. “The one who was in Paris last autumn?”

“Exactly.” Her tone was as sour as a lemon. “The American heiress.” She leaned in confidingly. “You had better watch yourself, I might bite.”

Buy links:

Amazon http://amzn.to/1meg54k

B&N http://bit.ly/1PejmKT

iBooks http://apple.co/1Mp8rt6

Kobo http://bit.ly/1kaiED3

 

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