Archive for October, 2013

As you know I generally have a pre-order release tour for the books, but  things have been busy lately. With The Seduction of Lady Phoebe releasing last month, and The Secret Life of Anna Marsh releasing next Thursday, poor Desiring Lady Caro went on pre-order a week or so ago, with no fanfare at all. As there is no time for another blog tour, I’ve decided to giveaway 5 copies of the book today. Just tell me you’d like a copy to be eligible. As usual you’ll receive the book when it releases.

Here is the cover.


The blurb.

Ella Quinn’s bachelors are clever, charismatic–and determined to remain single. Yet one by one, they find that fate–and certain irresistible women–cast doubt on even the best laid plans. . .

Haunted by her past, Lady Caroline Martindale fled England for the solace of her godmother’s palazzo in Venice. But if Caro was hoping to escape the charms of marriage-minded men, she’s come to the wrong place. And she’ll resort to extreme measures to spurn the advances of a dangerously determined Venetian marquis. . .

Though most of his friends have married off, Gervais, Earl of Huntley, remains bent on eluding the parson’s mousetrap. But his convictions begin to falter when he arrives in Venice and meets his match in the alluring Lady Caro. What began as a hastily concocted lie to save her from the marquis may become a chance for them both to relinquish their fear–and embrace what they can no longer deny. . .

And an excerpt.

Huntley knocked on the large ornately carved door of his aunt’s palazzo. At last, two months of travel through France, Germany, and Austria, some of it tedious, most luxurious, were over. He looked forward to staying in Venice for an extended visit—provided the women of Venice proved as warm and welcoming as the Italian weather. The door was answered by a tall somber servant just past middle age.

“La Valle, who is here?” A low, musical, voice, floated down.

At the top of the marble stairs stood the most beautiful creature Huntley had ever beheld. At first, he thought she was a figment of his imagination. Shaking his head, he blinked before gazing at her again. No, he was right the first time. Fair, flaxen hair curled around her face. The eyes fixed on him were wide and set under perfectly arched brows. And Lord, her lips. There was only one good use for them. Kissing. More specifically, kissing him.

His body hardened as if he hadn’t had a woman in months, which was certainly not the case. She was so exquisite, even the heavy frown marring her countenance couldn’t make her less than beautiful. Only his old nurse had frowned at him like that, but it hadn’t made him want to . . .

Pulling himself together, he bowed. “Lord Huntley, at your service.”

“You are early.”  She pressed her lips together. “We did not expect you for another few days.”

As the seraphic creature turned on her heel, the costly silk of her light turquoise gown swished around her. Who the deuce was she? He’d never heard of Horatia having any children. He grinned to himself. A widow perhaps? She walked away, stopped, and turned, brows furrowing. “Don’t just stand there, follow me. Lady Horatia will want to see you.”

Huntley checked to insure his mouth wasn’t hanging open and started up the stairs. “Yes, of course. I would like to refresh myself first. I’m in no fit condition to meet my aunt.”

Though her frown deepened, it had no power to distract him from rosy lips. “You may bathe and change later.”

“If you wish.” He remembered his mother telling him that if he scowled his lips would grow that way. “I’ll wager you are much prettier when you don’t glower.”

She speared him with a glare. “Why, my lord, should I wish to be pretty for you?”

He could think of a number of reasons, but in her current mood, she’d probably not be receptive. “Very well then, take me to my aunt.”

She glanced at the ceiling with a look of long suffering. “That is what I’ve been trying to do.”

Buy links:

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon German ~ Amazon France ~ Amazon Canada ~ Barnes and Nobel ~ Kensington ~ iBooks

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Writers In The Storm Blog

By Kathryn Craft

Storytellers know that on the page, internal conflict is a writer’s best friend. But when that conflict emerges from voices inside the writer’s own head, where each wants to weigh in on the writer’s path and her way of walking along it, things can get confusing. Like a GPS whose discordant voices are offering multiple routes simultaneously, they may just slow you to a standstill.

 Might we not say to the confused voices, which sometimes arise from the depths of our being, Ladies, be so kind as to speak only four at a time?

~Anne-Sophie Swetchine

We writers are sensitive to these voices because of the way they intrude upon the deep, solitary thinking our craft requires.

If you think about it, every single decision in a writer’s life must be coughed forth from some internal compass. There’s no one to tell you when to work…

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Fabulous interview with Steven Zacharius, CEO of my publisher, Kensington, who just bought book #5 in The Marriage Game.

Writers In The Storm Blog

Writers In The Storm is honored to welcome Steven Zacharius, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kensington Publishing Corp. Steven has graciously offered to give us the inside scoop on the publishing world from his unique perspective as a New York Publisher. Be sure to find the link below to a YouTube video where Walter Zacharius explains how Kensington started their African American Line. It’s truly fascinating.

By Steven Zacharius


I’d like to begin by thanking Sharla Rae to invite me to be a guest blogger.  Usually it’s only my co-workers who have to listen to me blab on and on, so this is a treat.  Shar has submitted to me a list of suggested topics and I’m going to try and address all of them.  If anyone has any questions, you can always email me directly from our website at http://www.szacharius@kensingtonbooks.com

Just for a little background…

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Time is really flying. There are only ten more days until The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh releases. So today post either ten sentences or ten paragraphs, not to exceed 300 words. You may also post your buy links and social medial info.

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh

Here is my excerpt from The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh.

Rutherford heaved a sigh. “Finley, you’re getting leg shackled. Can you tell me how to do it?”

Marcus laughed.

Rutherford grinned ruefully. “Yes, I know. That I, of all people, should be asking that question, but Finley, I am quite serious.”

Marcus struggled to regain his countenance. “What in God’s name has brought this about? I thought you were sure of Miss Marsh?”

“I thought so as well,” Rutherford said, chagrined. “However, it turns out she is not coming round as I’d hoped. Sometimes it seems as if she’s avoiding me.”

Marcus dropped into a chair. “I suppose you’d better tell me about it.”

“I thought she would just accept me,” Rutherford said.

“Are you telling me”—Marcus leaned forward, with an incredulous look on his face—“you expected her to accept you, when you’d been dancing attendance on Phoebe for years and then gave Miss Marsh no reason why she should marry you?”

Rutherford wouldn’t have put it quite like that. “Well, you see . . . ” He paused, trying to find the words. “I’ve known her all her life. I thought she was already in a fair way to being in love with me, or at least liking me a good deal. It never occurred to me . . . ”

“Never occurred to you,” Marcus retorted, “she might not appreciate being treated as a sure thing?”

Buy links:

Amazon US ~ Amazon Canada ~  Amazon France  ~  Amazon Germany ~ Amazon UK Barns & Nobel ~ Kensington * iTunes

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Good morning!

CongratulationsLet’s start with book winners, and we have a lot of them.

Congratulations to Sandy Kenny for winning Barbara Monajem’s e-book Under a Christmas Spell, and Eileen Dandashi for winning  the anthology!!

Congratulations also to Anna Belfrage, Lizaoconnorl, Sandra Owens, Eileen Danashi and Emily S. for winning a copy of the God-King’s Daughter!!

It’s been a busy week. On Tuesday, my publisher made an offer for  Pursuing Miss Eugénie Villaret, book #5 in The Marriage Game. This book takes place in the West Indies in 1816. I’ll post the first 1000 words on my books page soon. Until then, here is a short excerpt.

July 1816, St. Thomas, Danish West Indies

Miss Eugénie Villaret de Joyeuse followed the old black slave down a small back street lined with long houses in Crown Prince’s Quarter. Her maid, Marisole, stood watch as Eugénie and the woman entered the building.

“He be here, miss.”

A baby, not older than one year, sat in the corner of the room playing with a rag doll. His only clothing was a clout which, by the strong scent of urine, needed to be changed.

Other than the boy, and the slave, they were alone in the small dark room. She crouched down next to the child. “What happened to his mother?”


Naturally, why did she even bother to ask? It was cruel to separate a mother and child, but there was no law against it here.


“A few days ago.” The woman glanced at the child. “He be gone to a plantation soon.”

Even worse. He’d likely die before he was grown. Eugénie placed the small bag she carried down on the floor. “Help me change him. He can’t go outside like that.”

A few minutes later the baby’s face and hands were clean, his linen changed and he wore a clean gown.

She handed the woman two gold coins. “Thank you for calling me.” The slave tried to give the money back, but Eugénie shook her head. “Help someone else. Our fight is not finished until everyone is free.”

One tear made its way down the slaves withered cheek. “You go now, before the wrong person sees you.”

Eugénie pulled a thin blanket around the babe’s head, thankful her wide-brimmed hat would help hid his face as well as hers, and stepped out into the bright sunshine.

“That’s her!” a male voice shouted.

Desiring Lady Caro, book #4 in The Marriage Game went on pre-order before I even got the cover. Last I checked, it releases in April. CARO


The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh releases in eleven days!! I don’t know where the time has gone. I now have my blog tour stops and will post them on my website. I will be giving a copy of the book away at each stop.

I’ve loved being back at the beach, and took these pictures just for you!

New boatsAlthough hurricane season is not officially over, we still have boats coming into the bay again. This one was too far out to get a good shot with my iPhone. I paddled around it this morning, but alas, I don’t have a waterproof camera, so I couldn’t take pictures.

Inlet to mangrove swampHere is my walk the other day. You’ll notice the steep sand cliffs have worn down and the entrance into the mangrove swamp is once more blocked by sand.

I found this female crab coming ashore to drop her eggs.  I do I know that? A long time resident told me. She actually stopped and let me take the picture.Please excuse the finger, I’m not the best photographer in the world. crab

A view out into the bay. View of Bay

Sand loveI found this message in the sand.

And the end of the beach. End of the beach

Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow to post or read excerpts.

Have a great Sunday, everyone.


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Regency author Anne Cleeland is visiting me again today with her second book, The Daughter of the God-King. Anne is giving away a copy of the book to one commenter who says they want it.

First the cover. I think it’s lovely.


Now the blurb.

The daughter of world-famous Egyptologists is living an uneventful life in England until her parents disappear while working their latest find in the Valley of the Kings. Suddenly, the various factions from Napoleon’s last war are pursuing her, and she must travel to Egypt to unravel the mystery.  Along the way, she meets her parents’ enigmatic agent, who also appears to be pursuing her—although his reasons may be more personal than professional.  What secret is buried in the tomb of the God-King’s daughter ?  The answer will change her life forever, and could set the world ablaze in yet another war.

If you’re still not convinced. Here is an excerpt.

Laughing, she felt immeasurably better, and raised her face to his. For a second he stilled, an arrested expression in his eyes. Ah, she thought. The mask slips a bit–and he thinks me charming, despite himself. There was little time before Bing landed, so she asked a direct question. “Who are you that you follow me about?”

He did not miss a beat. “I must speak with you.”

“No need to skulk, then,” she chided him.  “I so dislike skulkers.”

“I must speak with you unobserved,” he amended.

Arching a brow, she shot him a look. “Unobserved by whom?”

“Ah, your companion formidable alights.” He moved to assist Bing, who was understandably a bit flustered by his attentions.

Hattie bent to brush the leaves off Bing’s skirt while Berry stood at a discreet distance. “Don’t ask,” Hattie said under her breath.

“I wouldn’t think of it,” replied Bing in the same tone.

“May I call for a haquenee?” asked Berry, making a gesture toward the street.

“If you would,” Hattie agreed, thinking the situation a farce and very much in keeping with the tenor of this miserable, miserable evening.

As he handed Bing into the conveyance he turned to Hattie. “I will call on you tomorrow, if you will permit.”

“To what purpose?”

“It is important you do not leave before I have spoken to you.”

Hattie shook her head slightly in bemusement. “Why on earth would I retreat? I cannot allow Robbie to think I am crushed; I am not such a sap-skull.”

He ducked his chin at her, his eyes gleaming in amusement. “You are forthright.”

“And you are a master at avoiding questions you’d rather not answer—it appears I am no match for you in guile.”

He teased her with a charming smile, his teeth flashing white in the darkness. “Come, come–such modesty; you are the god-king’s daughter, after all.”

Surprised, she met his eyes to find his gaze suddenly sharp upon hers.  The gentleman did not appear crazed–he must have misconstrued a chance comment.  “You misunderstand–the new tomb contains the remains of the god-king’s daughter.”

“Your pardon,” he said, and bowed.

Buy link: Amazon

author photo 1

Anne Cleeland holds a degree in English from UCLA as well as a degree in law from Pepperdine University, and is a member of the California State Bar.  She writes a historical fiction series set in the Regency period as well as a contemporary mystery series set in New Scotland Yard.  A member of the Historical Novel Society and Mystery Writers of America, she lives in California and has four children.

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Please welcome back one of my favorite authors, the lovely Barbara Monajem!! I’m so happy to have her on the blog today. Barbara has a Christmas book releasing on November 1st, just around the corner.

Here is the lovely cover. Don’t you love the colors?

Under a Christmas Spell

A note from Barbara about the book came to be:

I’ve long been captivated by the incubus/succubus mythology. An incubus is an evil demon who has sex with a woman in her sleep. (Sometimes impregnating her—the standard explanation, um, excuse in medieval times for a pregnancy that happened when her husband was far from home.) A succubus is a similar demon in female form that preys on poor, unsuspecting, sleeping men.

Much as I like the sex-and-sleep aspect of the mythology, I’m not interested in writing about anything demonic. I don’t get off on good/evil dichotomies, so I messed with the mythology until I got what I wanted: something that, to me, is almost possible—a combination of seductive power and the ability to send erotic dreams. (I did the same sort of thing with vampires; I’m not keen on undead either, so I chucked that aspect of vampirism in my paranormal mysteries but kept some good stuff, such as irresistible allure, unusual strength, night vision, and so on. It’s not that I don’t enjoy books about good versus evil or undead people. I do, but I’m not inspired to write them.)

I also love Regency spy stories. And second-chance-at-love stories. And gushy Christmas stories. So I squashed all this stuff I love together into an e-novella, Under a Christmas Spell, which comes out November 1st. I’m just dying to give away a copy to one lucky commenter who tells me what they think about good versus evil, or undead versus not dead at all, or seductive dreams or Christmas stories or Regencies spies or whatever you like. I also have a paperback to give away to another commenter—A Scandalous Regency Christmas, an anthology of five Christmas novellas (one of them by me).

In case you still need convincing, here is the blurb:

Hampshire, England, 1815

Dissolute aristocrat Lord Valiant Oakenhurst hides a sexy, supernatural secret—as a powerful incubus, he is able to influence others through erotic dreams. At an exclusive Christmas house party, his latest mission is compromised by the beautiful but deadly succubus Lucille Beaulieu. Though still drawn to his former lover, Val cannot forget her betrayal….

Hoping to atone for her past, Lucie uses her seductive powers to help couples find happiness. But she is distracted from her task by her own delicious dreams of the dark and dangerous Val.

As the riotous festivities begin, their passion is reinvoked, but can a little Christmas magic restore their lost trust?

Now what you’ve all been waiting for, and excerpt.

Setup: Lord Valiant Oakenhurst has just shot himself in the arm as a ruse to get into the home of Lord Westerly, who would refuse him otherwise.


By the time Lord Valiant reached Westerly House, he didn’t have to feign feeling a trifle under the weather. Strange how the lack of any real danger robbed one of the usual grim control.

He urged his horse up the drive to where a gentleman and two ladies hovered outside a coach while footmen unloaded trunks and bandboxes. It seemed an ideal moment for a dramatic arrival until he glimpsed a familiar pair of wide violet eyes. He blinked, so astonished and overwhelmed by memory that he swayed in the saddle.

He stared. It was truly Lucie. What was she doing at Westerly House? Damn and blast the Master of the British Incubi for sending him here. A surge of rage sent him into wartime mode. This wasn’t what it seemed.

Back into the game.

As he slid off the horse, people hurried around the coach. “Highwaymen,” he croaked, grasping his injured arm and stumbling to one knee, sensing without seeing the contempt in Lucie’s gaze. She had seen this ruse before. “Winged me.”

“Heavens, how dreadful!” The other lady rushed forward—an ordinary-looking Englishwoman, not a conniving succubus. “Lord Westerly, send a man for the doctor,” she ordered. “James, Charles, help this poor man into the house.”

“Lord Valiant Oakenhurst?” said Lord Westerly as two footmen set down the trunk they carried and hurried around to help. “What the deuce are you doing in Hampshire?”

“Getting shot,” Valiant mumbled. “It’s only a scratch.” He squeezed his eyes shut as if in agonizing pain—actually, the throbbing in his arm was nothing compared to seeing Lucie again—and reopened them. “I could ask the same of you.”

“I live here,” Lord Westerly said.

“The devil you say.” Val infused surprise tinged with distaste into his voice, slung his good arm across the shoulders of one of the footmen, and made the most of staggering into the house.



Buy links:

Amazon   ~  Barnes and Noble  ~   Harlequin

BarbaraMonajem300x400Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. Now her kids are adults, and she’s writing historical and paranormal romance for grownups. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays. Learn more about her books at http://www.BarbaraMonajem.com

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I’ve been tagged by my good friend, Lauren Smith for the Writerly Blog! The questions revolve around why and how one writes.

Lauren touched on writing romance and some of the negative comments she’s received. I have to say, most comments I get are extremely positive. in fact, when I was at the Annapolis boat show two weekends ago, I ended up handing out all my business cards. I’ve only received one sneer. Naturally being a former college instructor and lawyer, she promptly got a lesson in the amount of research it takes to write historical romances. I pay so much attention to detail, that last summer an author friend said I could write historical fiction if I was so inclined. After all, there is more money in it. I also told the doubter about the number of advanced degrees many historical authors had. There are doctors, nurses, lawyers, and PhD’s who teach at such prestigious universities as Duke, Harvard, and Yale (I’m sure there are many more, I just can’t remember right now.)

In my opinion, historical romance had never been smarter and more erudite. Are there some who just don’t care about many historical details? Of course there are. We don’t march in lock step after all. But they too have their audiences. Now to the questions.

1. What are you working on right now?

The sixth book in The Marriage Game. It takes place in Northumberland and Edinburgh. The working title is Lady Mary. I’m also mulling over a Christmas novel my editor asked if I could write, and a Christmas novella I want to write.

2. How does it differ from other works in its genre?

I write traditional Regencies, but with sex. There I said it. Usually I dance around the word by using spicy. One of the things I missed in reading Georgette Heyer was the deep emotional fulfillment.  I do think if she’d written in the present, she would have been much warmer, but she died in 1976 at the age of 71.

3.  Why do you write what you do?

I’ve always loved Regencies. Though it never occurred to me to write one. Then I read an interview where the author said, write what you read. Every quickly clicked, and within a week I had a video playing in my head of an angry Regency lady. A month later, The Seduction of Lady Phoebe was a complete draft. So I really didn’t pick the Regency era, it picked me.

4. How does your writing process work?

I’m a pantser, but I many times plot a scene out in my head. I like to write linearly, but there are times when the scenes don’t come to me in a nice orderly fashion, and I have to then write to get from one place to the next. When I’m stumped, I just write. After all, it’s easier to fix crap than nothing at all. I’m also a fast writer. If left alone (no social media etc.) I can write 100,000 words in a month.

I’m tagging Collette Cameron, Louisa Cornell, and Barbara Monajem.

Now you tell me what do you write or read what you do?

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Writers In The Storm Blog

By Sharla Rae

I’m sharing not one list today, but two. The first one covers shades of the basic color spectrum. The second deals with adjectives describing color and the possible “conditions” of color, that is, how it’s used. But Writing in living color is more than just knowing and choosing color descriptions. It’s showing the reader the story in living color even when “no” colors are mentioned.

Here’s how Laura Drake did it in her book, The Sweet Spot.  In this excerpt, the focus is not on the color but the “entire” picture the character Belle presents. Only three basic colors are used. Remove the color terms and the reader would still see this scene in living color.

At the end stood a woman perusing a dog-eared catalog – a woman Char had never met, but recognized from the gossip. This was that new Yankee that moved…

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As many of you know I’ve been traveling for the past two weeks. I started out at  the Annapolis boat show. The weather was cold and rainy, so I was unable to take any boat pictures, but Hubby and I found this. He thought it was a pretty good idea. Husband Daycare

I ended my travels at the NJ RWA conference where I got to meet one of my critique partners, Nancy Goodman, and hang out with fellow Kensington Regency author, Sally MacKenzie.

Sally, Nancy, and me

I’d registered for the book signing, but, due to a glitch, the books didn’t arrive, but, luckily, I had my Keeper Kards to sign. Fortunately, I’m not the only one this has happened to. Eloisa James told me she had it occur to her as well. This picture is actually from the Bookseller’s Luncheon.

My Keeper Kards

As I mentioned, I was not on the computer at all, so I totally missed that The Seduction of Lady Phoebe it #1 across the board in free books at Amazon. Thankfully, my good friend, Liza O’Connor emailed me (which I opened Monday evening) this screen shot, complete with digital frame. I was shocked, but very happy! Thank you so much, Liza!! The Seduction of Lady Phoebe is still free today on Amazon and B & N.

Lady Phoebe no. 1

I am now back home and was finally able to take off my shoes and walk the beach this morning. Magens

I have two guest authors this week, so please stop back by.


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