Archive for May, 2013

Regency Author Collette Cameron

Regency Author Collette Cameron

Please help me welcome debut, Regency author, the lovely Collette Cameron. Collette is here today promoting her novel Highlander’s Hope. If you haven’t read it, I highly encourage to do so. Collette will also be giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter. To be eligible, you must leave your email address in with your comment.

Collette: Thank you so much for having me here today, Ella.

Ella: You’ve been hither and yon promoting your book. What does it feel like to finally have it released?

Collette: It’s surreal; a wonderful kind of terrifying. It’s one thing to write a book and have it accepted to be published; it’s another to have it ‘out there’.

Ella: What do you like best and least about being a debut author?

Collette: Everything is so new. Learning about the publishing industry, author platforms and branding, marketing and promotion. That’s my least favorite part; the marketing and promoting. On the other hand, I’ve met (in the realm of social media and otherwise) many incredibly generous and supportive people.

Ella: Tell us what the inspiration was to write Highlander’s Hope?

Collette: I had toyed with the idea of writing a book for years, but never seriously considered writing a romance novel. I didn’t think I could. All that dialogue, conflict, and point of view stuff.

A single scene, the Banbury Inn scene where Ewan finds Yvette asleep in his chamber, was the impetuous for Highlander’s Hope. The idea just came to me one day, and I played around with it in mind to see if I could develop a story line around it. I did, but boy was there a lot of back story I had to eventually cut.

Ella: What drew you to Regencies and the Highlands in particular?

Collette: A girlfriend handed me a Barbara Cartland novel when I was thirteen years-old. I read it and fell in love with Regency. Back then, that was quite daring.  I love all historicals but Georgian, Regency, and Victorian are my favorites. The Regency era was a time of such transition; clothing, culture, politics . . . even morals were in flux.

When I didn’t have my nose buried in a Regency, a good Scot’s Highlander  was usually in my hand. I decided to take two of my favorite genres and combine them into something a bit out of the ordinary. 

Ella: What comes next or have you decided once was enough?

Collette: Oh, Ella, you know how it is when the writing bug bites you. Once is never enough!

Ella: How very true!

Collette: Highlander’s Hope is the first book in my Blue Rose Trilogy. The second book, The Viscount’s Vow is due to release from Soul Mate Publishing next fall. It features Vangie and Ian from Highlander’s Hope.  I’m hard at work on the third book, The Earl’s Enticement.  That’s Adaira and Roark’s story.

Then I have a stand alone that insists on getting written.  After that, I’ve a six-book sage based on Ewan’s other siblings and cousins.  Then of course I have to tell Isaiah and Josiah’s stories. Oh, and Harcourt’s and Yancy’s too.

That’s why I love a large cast of characters; so many stories to write about secondary characters.

Ella: Is there any advice you’d give someone starting their path to publication?

Collette: Get involved in writing groups. I belong to several. Also, attend workshops and conferences on the craft of writing. Join social media groups which offer mentoring and classes.

Critique partners are a must, as are beta readers. Oh, and make sure you read, read, read . . . not only about writing but books in the genre you write.

Finally, find some small thing that makes your books just the tiniest bit unique; something that readers will be able to identify as your trademark.

Ella: Without further to do, here is the blurb and an excerpt from Highlander’s Hope. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Highlander's Hope

Highlander’s Hope

She was the heiress determined to never marry.

Shipping heiress Yvette Stapleton is wary of fortune hunting men and their false declarations of love. She’d rather become a spinster than imprisoned in the bonds of marriage. At first, she doesn’t recognize the dangerously handsome man who rescues her from assailants on London’s docks, but her reaction to Lord Sethwick’s passionate kisses soon have her reconsidering her cynical views on matrimony.


He was the nobleman who vowed to make her his own. 

Not a day has gone by that Ewan McTavish, Lord Sethwick and Laird of Craiglocky, hasn’t dreamed of the sensual beauty he danced with two years ago; he’s determined to win her heart. On a mission to stop a War Office traitor, he unwittingly draws Yvette into deadly international intrigue. To protect her, he exploits Scottish Canon law to declare her his lawful wife—without benefit of a ceremony. Yvette is furious upon discovering the irregular marriage is legally binding, though she never said, “I do.”

Amidst murder and betrayal, Ewan attempts to win Yvette’s forgiveness. But is it too late? Has his manipulation cost him her love?


Perversely, Yvette argued, “Oh, my lord? How else will I travel to Craiglocky?” Blast it, she swore inwardly when her hoarse voice cracked.

Ewan sat beside her. “Evvy, stop calling me my lord.”

Your lordship, unless I sprout wings and fly, my only recourse is horseback.” Feeling truly rebellious, she stretched and peeked over her shoulders. Pointing to one she said, “No wings, milord. ‘Tis plain I shall have to mount a horse.”

Clearly annoyed, Ewan raked a hand through his hair. “Those below believe us wed. A Scot’s wife doesn’t call her husband ‘my lord’.”

Arching her brow, Yvette dared, “Who gave them reason to believe we were wed, my lord?”

Ewan looked at her hard. “These people must believe us wed, else you’re in grave danger.”

Yvette reached for the cup, then took a grateful swallow of the sweet water. The icy coolness soothed her irritated throat and emboldened her. “So you say, Lord Sethwick. Perhaps it was only a ploy to publicly ruin me, so I’d have to marry you. I overheard Lord Ramsbury at the inn.”

She lowered her voice in imitation of the earl. “‘A wealthy wife is always an asset. I’d say, you’ve done quite well for yourself, old chap.’”

Ewan stiffened. The line of his mouth flattened and his eyes darkened.

Merciful God, did she truly say that? It must be her illness speaking.

He removed the cup from her shaking hand and set it on the bedside table. She could not tear her gaze off his eyes. They were bottomless pools reflecting to the depths of his soul. And he was angry, in fact livid with her. His moon-shaped scar ticked rhythmically.

She’d gone too far. “Ewan—”

“Yvette, remember what happened the last time you didn’t use my given name? I’ve counted no less than five,” he held up as many fingers, “times you’ve intentionally defied me.”

She couldn’t swallow past the constriction in her throat. She’d done it up brown now. Holding her hand before her to ward him off, she shook her head.

In a movement so swift, she didn’t even have time to gasp, he lay atop her torso, pinning her with his weight. His gaze pierced hers before he lowered his head. She felt a soft, fluttering touch and a slight sting on her sore lip as his mouth brushed hers.

Highlander’s Hope is available at Amazon

Author Bio:

In February 2011, Collette decided to sit down and write a Regency suspense romance with a few Highlander’s thrown in to spice things up a bit. She wrote Highlander’s Hope, the first book in her Blue Rose Trilogy. She has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in Teaching. She’s been married for 30 years, has 3 amazing adult children, and 5 dachshunds. Her puppy, Ayva, sits on her lap while she writes. Ayva also nibbles at and lies on the keyboard. Collette loves a good joke, flowers, the beach, trivia, birds, shabby chic, and Cadbury Chocolate. You’ll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels. Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, or too many flowers. She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list.

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Writers In The Storm Blog

By Laura Drake

Cover - The Sweet SpotNormally I’d be too nervous to claim a WriterStrong post, but today I’m emboldened by my debut release. After fifteen years of work, tomorrow, I become a real live author at last!

I want to celebrate with my WITS buds by giving away The Sweet Spotto two random commenters. Stop back; we’ll announce the winners on Wednesday’s post!

My goal is to learn something about craft with every new book I write. The Sweet Spot was my lesson in portraying emotion. All I can say is, thank the writing Gods for Margie Lawson. I knew what I wanted to say before her classes, but didn’t know how to get it on the page.

We’ve all read the usual heart-pounding, stomach churning, blah, blah, blah emotion. It invites skimming by the reader, because we’ve seen it all before. In fact, we’ve seen it so often that…

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Read this wonderful review of The Seduction of Lady Phoebe!

Romance Reader Girl

I had the wonderful pleasure of reading The Seduction of Lady Phoebe pre-release. Ella Quinn is a new author that writes with beautiful detail. Below is my review for The Seduction of Lady Phoebe.


Lady Phoebe Stanhope is a spirited young lady that uses her quick wit and not so lady like behaviors (sword play, shooting a pistol riding astride) to protect herself. She is from a big family that encourages her independence by not forcing her to make a match unless her heart is in it. Phoebe keeps the walls to her heart guarded due to a lack of judgement she made when she was younger; where a young man accosted her making her take physical action against him. She still questions her judgement and will not take a risk where a man is concerned unless her heart tells her he’s the one.

Lord Marcus Finley wishes he could…

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It’s Memorial Day, which for me is a bit sad, so let’s liven things up with some witty dialogue. Post an excerpt of yours and buy links if you have them.

Here is mine from The Seduction of Lady Phoebe. The first book in The Marriage Game.

Her sister embraced Phoebe, and Hermione’s eyes twinkled as the children tried to pull their aunt away. “Not that I am not delighted to see you, my dear. But what, may I ask, brings you to me a week early and with no notice?”

Phoebe pulled a face. “Amabel is match making again.”

Answering an insistent tug on her skirts, Phoebe picked up little Mary.

Hermione shrugged. “Amabel has been trying to arrange a match for you since the first season after she and Geoffrey married, when you fagged her to death.”

“Yes, but this time she has gone beyond the line of what I can endure.” Phoebe pressed her lips together. “Though to be fair, she doesn’t know what he did.”

Her sister raised an enquiring brow.

Phoebe briefly closed her eyes. Hermione had seen her leave the gallery that day, but they had never discussed it.

“Amabel invited her brother, Lord Marcus Finley, to meet me in two days.” Phoebe adjusted Mary on her hip. “I told him eight years ago at Worthington’s estate, when we had that unfortunate contretemps, that I never wanted to see him again and nothing has changed.”

Hermione nodded. “I remember how upset you were.”

Holding Mary closer, Phoebe said, “Now that he has returned for good, I know I’ll not be able to avoid meeting him at some point, but I do not wish to be placed in the position where I must be alone with him. That’s exactly what would have happened had I stayed at Cranbourne Place.”

Phoebe was distracted by her niece, whose bouncing had become insistent. “What is it, my love?”

Mary took Phoebe’s face between her small chubby hands. “Don’t be ’set,” Mary said, and kissed Phoebe. “It be all wight.”

She held her closer. “Yes, sweetheart, I’ll be right as a trivet. Aunt Phoebe just needs to escape the troll.”

Hermione frowned. “That was a piece of high meddling on Amabel’s part to be sure. My dear, what will you do when you see him again? As Dunwood’s heir, Lord Marcus is bound to be at many of the same events you will attend.”

Her sister was right, Lord Dunwood was very politically active, as was her uncle, Henry, the Seventh Marquis of St. Eth. Phoebe raised one brow and haughtily looked down her nose. “If we meet, I shall, of course, be civil,” she said icily.

He sister burst into laughter. “Oh, yes, that look should send him to the right about.”

Phoebe responded, “Well, I certainly hope it does. The last time I had to punch him in the nose to dissuade him. It’s a shame I am too young to set up my own household.”

“Oh, Phoebe!” Hermione’s eyes widened. “Do you wish to set the ton on its ear?” She tapped her cheek, appearing as if she were deep in thought. “Hmm. I have just the thing. You could find a husband.”

Et tu, Brute?” Phoebe tried to look hurt, but couldn’t stop the laugh. “Marriage to just anyone won’t solve anything.”

“Phoebe, we just have your best interests at heart. Surely there must be someone.”

“Well, Hermione, at least you do not try to make matches for me.”

“No, and I will not do so,” her sister responded. “You will know when you meet the right man, without any assistance from me or anyone else.”

Suddenly wistful, Phoebe raised her gaze to her sister’s. “Do you truly think I shall know?”

“I do indeed. You need only remember what Mamma told us. That when you find the gentleman of your heart, it will be as if he is the only person you can see.”

Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/10kE1aI

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/175Kkho

Amazon Germany: http://amzn.to/XIAMG3

B&N: http://bit.ly/XIAT4A

Kensington: http://bit.ly/Z5XEAi

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Due to visiting friends, I haven’t been around much this week, but yesterday I dropped them off at the airport and now I’m back.

Of course having guests required that I show them around St. Thomas and take them to St. John. As they were buying souvenirs, I took the opportunity to do my own shopping. I’m making progress getting all the accessories together for my Regency gown.  Amazingly enough I was able to find several items I need right here on St. Thomas for a very low price. Not something I would have expected.

As I was hunting for a shawl a The Linen Shop, this reticule caught my eye. The gold in the flowers will be perfect with my gown.



Blue Cameos

Blue Cameos

I have a set of blue cameos from Sorrento that my husband bought me some years ago. I’ll wear the pendant on a gold chain and I found a jeweler to switch out the posts on the earrings for wire.

Finally, after searching St. John and St. Thomas, I found is beautiful gold shawl at Outriggers for a much lower price than I’ve seen online. I think it will go with the gown. Perhaps I’ll even add a bit of fringe on the ends.

Gold Shawl

Gold Shawl

Last, but not least, I tracked down these hair ornaments at Icing.

Hair Decorations

Hair Decorations

All this putting together reminded me of a passage in The Temptation of Lady Serena, book #3 in The Marriage Game, which goes on pre-order in August and releases in January.

Phoebe and Serena went off to her dressing room, and searched through her new gowns.

“Here. This one, I think.” Phoebe held out a pale yellow silk evening gown with a twisted cord of green and gold. “Now you tell me what you’d like to wear with it.”

Serena studied the gown and selected a spangled shawl and a reticule with seed pearls. “I think these will go well. What do you think?”

Giving Serena an enigmatic smile, Phoebe said, “Perfect. Serena, you’ll look lovely. We’ll see you this evening.”

The past week wasn’t all fun and games. One evening while I work, this little guy came to visit.

Gecko visiting my desk

Gecko visiting my desk

In the middle of the week I took my friends to a fund raiser for the St. Thomas Historical Trust which hosted a coal kettle cook off. Coal kettles were used for cooking in the islands for many year, including during the time book #5 in The Marriage Game.

Coal pot with pumpkin soup

Coal pot with pumpkin soup

I hope you had a good week and are enjoying the holiday weekend.

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For any one interested in Jane Austen’s home, here are some lovely photos.

Jane Austen's World

Inquiring Readers, Tony Grant visited Chawton on his way to Southampton on a gorgeous day in early March and sent on these photos. Below his recent images, I added a few that he took several years ago of the cottage’s interior. Enjoy.

Life in the village didn’t offer much in the way of variety. Edward’s windows created a lively scenario, in which a curious Mrs. Austen, upon hearing a commotion (or carriage), would rush from the drawing room to the dining room to watch the goings on.

One is impressed with the coziness of this village and how easy it must have been for Jane and Cassandra to get around on foot.

During Tony’s previous visits, he took photographs of the garden in summer and the village and other cottages.

This image was taken by Keith Mallet and sent to me in 2009. It is a view of the outbuildings…

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Having problems telling and not showing. Read this post from the fabulous Margie Lawson

Writers In The Storm Blog

Margie Lawson is back with another can’t miss blog! AND, a giveaway. Read on!

Margie LawsonWriters know SHOW DON’T TELL, but some know it cognitively. It’s rote.

They know SHOW DON’T TELL the same way they know i before e except after c.

Applying SHOW DON’T TELL is tougher than it seems. It’s one of Barbara Kingsolver’s Top Five Rules for Writing Fiction.

Show, don’t tell. Everybody knows this rule, and most of us still break it in every first draft.

I don’t care if you TELL in your first draft. I care if you TELL in a polished draft, or in print.

I see way too much TELLING in assignments posted to my classes. And sometimes the writers can’t see the problem.

One way to learn the power of SHOW DON’T TELL, is to look at a sentence and ask yourself, “What’s the Visual?”

I’ll share a few BEFORE…

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Wonderful post by Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb's Blog

A couple weeks ago, I taught at the DFW conference and someone mentioned this post I wrote a long time ago. For the benefit of those who’ve not yet read it…or those of you who’ve slept since then, I figured I’d modify it to make it current. I hope this helps ease the angst you might have about how hard it is to become a success.

What Are the Odds….Really?

I didn’t even consider becoming a writer until 1999 after my father passed away suddenly. Funny how death can make us take a hard look at life, right? Anyway, I recall feeling soooo overwhelmed. I mean my odds of even getting published were about as good as winning the lottery. And the odds of becoming a best-selling author? Well, mathematically speaking, I had a slightly greater chance of being mauled by a black bear and polar bear on the same…

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I hope you all enjoy this wonderful post from WITS.

Writers In The Storm Blog

NOTE: Thank you to everyone who commented on the two-part blog by Jane Porter. Congratulations to lrtrovi who’s the winner of Jane’s “goodie bag.”

This is Part Four is a five-part series on the science of why (and how) we fall in love based on a four-day workshop Fae Rowen attended on Attachment Styles. In case you missed any of the information, you can access Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3 by clicking on the links. Part Five (on Monday, June 24) will tie all the styles together and throw in current brain research tips that will help you create characters with believable emotions and actions–characters that your readers are hard-wired to fall in love with.

by Fae Rowen

Today we’ll look at the fourth and final attachment style, the Disoriented/Disorganized Style. Don’t be fooled by the name. Remember that your character’s attachment style results from the…

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I have company in from the States, so I’m leaving it up to you. Strut your stuff and post an PG excerpt of reasonable length from your finished word or WIP. You may also post buy links or contact links. I’m off to play tour guide. Have fun!

Her is my excerpt from The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh, which releases for pre-order in June!

October 25, 1814, Marsh House, London

Miss Anna Marsh was in her parlor reading, when her maid, Lizzy, entered and held out a grubby piece of paper.

“Came from my brother, Kev, this morning,” Lizzy said.

Anna nodded, took the note, and opened it. She perused the contents then closed her eyes. “I’m going to have to find a way to convince Mamma to allow me to remove to Marsh Hill before the Little Season has ended. Though I cannot do anything until after Lady Phoebe’s wedding.”

“That bad, miss?” her maid asked, screwing up her face. “You might have a time of it. I heard Lady Marsh was planning to go to some country house next week.”

Anna sighed. Ever since her brother Harry’s death, Mamma had become difficult. “She probably expects me to go with her.” Anna shrugged. “Well I cannot. Someone has been sniffing around Thanport. I don’t like the sound of it.” Anna rose and walked over to her mahogany writing desk. She opened a drawer. Eschewing the neat stack of elegant pressed paper, she pulled out a piece of the distinctly rougher type. “I’ll write Kev and tell him to lay low until I can get there.”


No information exchanged or meetings scheduled until I arrive.


She sealed the message and handed it to Lizzy. “Make sure this goes out to-day, even if you have to take it yourself.”

“Yes, miss.”

Anna pinched her upper nose. “I do hope this is not going to make our lives even more complicated.”

“What do you think that other man wants?” Lizzy asked.

“I don’t know.” Anna shook her head. “But I have a feeling whatever it is will do us no good. I’m going to Mamma and try to talk her around. I do wish she and Papa could settle their differences.”

Lizzy nodded. “It does make things a bit more difficult.”

“That it does,” Anna said, smiling grimly.

A few minutes later, she knocked briefly on the door to the morning room in the back of the house, and tripped in only to stop. The gentleman sitting on a chair next to her mother’s chaise rose. Anna curtseyed.

Sebastian, Baron Rutherford, bowed. Anna fought the urge to smile. He was tall and rangy. The cut of his coat molded to his broad shoulders, and his pantaloons clung to his muscular legs. He had hair the color of a hazelnut and impossibly gray eyes. When he was angry, they shone like molten silver. Anna frequently made him angry.

She’d loved him since she was a child. If he’d asked for her hand when she’d first come out, she would have accepted him. Now, at one and twenty, she was wiser.

Sebastian— he hated his given name— spent the last few years dangling after Anna’s best friend, Phoebe, who was now marrying Lord Marcus Finley. With no more cover and his mother nagging at him to wed, he’d turned to Anna. Yet, the past two years had made it impossible for her to marry him unless he truly loved her and all she was. She wasn’t sure they even knew each other anymore.

Anna met his gaze coolly. “Lord Rutherford, pray, what brings you here?”

“Oh, Anna dear,” her mother said. “Lord Rutherford has very kindly offered to help by escorting you to Charteries for Lady Phoebe’s wedding.”

Anna raised a brow and stared at Sebastian for a moment before turning to address her mother. Lady Marsh reminded Anna of a wraith. Her mother’s dark brown hair was still unmarked by silver. She always dressed in flowing gowns and draped gauzy shawls around her shoulders, giving the impression she would blow away if one breathed hard enough. Mamma desperately wanted Anna married and could not understand how it was she’d reached the age of one and twenty still single.

As objecting to Sebastian’s escort would do her no good, Anna kept the smile on her face. “Yes, Mamma, very kind of him.” She glanced at him and thought she saw the remnants of a smug look on his face. “How do you think of these ideas?” she asked sweetly.

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