Archive for December, 2013

2013 in review

I couldn’t resist sharing this.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Happy New Year!!

I wish you all health, happiness, and prosperity throughout the New Year!!

Happy New Year 2014

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After a couple of weeks hiatus, Monday Excerpts is back! To celebrate the New Year, and the release of The Temptation of Lady Serena, I invite you to post your blurbs and buy links for your latest book. If you don’t have them, then post four paragraphs of whatever you’re working on as well as your social media links so readers can find you!

Here is mine from The Temptation of Lady Serena, releasing on January 2d.

Ella Quinn’s bachelors in The Marriage Game series are charming and cunning when it comes to the ways of love—until the right woman captures their unsuspecting hearts…

“Supported by a wonderful cast of characters, Quinn’s thoughtfully drawn lovers teach each other the value of love in this delicious Regency treat.” ~ New York Times Bestselling author Eileen Dreyer

Custom-made gowns…nights at the theater…and a host of eligible bachelors. Accustomed to living a quiet life in the Scottish Borderlands, Lady Serena Weir has never had any of these luxuries. But when Serena’s brother demands she finally have a Season in London, she’s thrust into a glamorous world she’s only dreamed of…

Robert, Viscount Beaumont remembers all too well what it feels like to be in love. That is why he must keep his distance from Serena. He’s only felt his pulse stir the way it does now when he made the mistake of loving the wrong woman once before. Yet the more he strives to resist his feelings, the nearer he is to falling under Serena’s seductive charms…

Buy Links:

Kensington ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Amazon Canada ~ Amazon FR ~ Amazon IT ~ Barnes & Nobel ~ iTunes


The Temptation of Lady Serena

The Temptation of Lady Serena


Now it’s your turn!

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First of all Congratulations to Stacey Brutger who won a copy of Christi Caldwell’s book, Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride. Yey Stacey!!

I can’t believe there are only four more days until The Temptation of Lady Serena releases!! The blog tour begins on January 2d, release day! To celebrate I’ll give away one copy to someone who tells me they want the book.

The Temptation of Lady Serena

The Temptation of Lady Serena

Supported by a wonderful cast of characters, Quinn’s thoughtfully drawn lovers teach each other the value of love in this delicious Regency treat.” ~ New York Times Bestselling author Eileen Dreyer

Custom-made gowns…nights at the theater…and a host of eligible bachelors. Accustomed to living a quiet life in the Scottish Borderlands, Lady Serena Weir has never had any of these luxuries. But when Serena’s brother demands she finally have a Season in London, she’s thrust into a glamorous world she’s only dreamed of…

Robert, Viscount Beaumont remembers all too well what it feels like to be in love. That is why he must keep his distance from Serena. He’s only felt his pulse stir the way it does now when he made the mistake of loving the wrong woman once before. Yet the more he strives to resist his feelings, the nearer he is to falling under Serena’s seductive charms…

Here’s an excerpt.

As Robert walked toward Grosvenor Square, he felt better than he had in weeks. Wilson, the Dunwood butler, showed him to the library, where Marcus, working on some papers, glanced up as Robert was announced.

“Robert, what brings you here?”

He glanced at the stack of documents on the large mahogany partner’s desk. “I don’t wish to disturb you. Do you have time?”

Marcus waved his hand at the papers. “Don’t let this bother you. I don’t have to do it all myself. That’s one of the joys of having a wife who knows as much about estate management as do I. Please, come in.”

He motioned Robert to a chair.

Robert sat and tried unsuccessfully to sort his thoughts. This was not going to be as easy as he’d supposed. “Marcus, when you were courting Phoebe, did you feel, well, crazed?”

“Crazed, exasperated, murderous, as well as a number of other things,” Marcus said. “What has my courtship with Phoebe to do with you?”

Robert swallowed. “Well I—I, I’m not quite sure how to put this . . .”

Marcus’s face darkened. “Put what? Is it something to do with Phoebe?”

“No, no. I need advice because . . . I am not feeling at all the thing lately, and I came to ask for Phoebe’s help.”

Marcus’s lips twitched. “Robert, are you trying to tell me you think you might be in love?”

Beaumont recoiled as if his friend had thrown a punch. “Love? No. It’s not possible.”

He slumped in the chair and sunk into his own thoughts. The problem was they weren’t telling him anything useful.


The other big news is that Hubby gave me a waterproof camera for Christmas. Here is the view of the large yachts that visited Magen’s this week. First from the beach, then from my paddle board. I’ll have to work on the water spots.

Ships from the beach















This is Little Magen’s. It’s the only nude beach on island. You can see the change in the water color from the middle of the bay to the edges.

Little Magens 1






Little magens 2So tell me what you think?









Oh, and in case you hadn’t heard, thanks to all of you, The Seduction of Lady Phoebe has been on the B & N bestseller list for over a week now!

Have a wonderful week, and Happy New Year!!




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I’m so pleased to have with me one of my critique partners, Christi Caldwell visiting today with her new book, Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride, which releases in January!!! She’ll be giving away a digital copy to one lucky commenter who leaves a comment saying she/he wants the book.

Let’s look at the cover first.

Forever Betrothed Official Cover

Then the blurb:

Hopeless romantic Lady Emmaline Fitzhugh is tired of sitting with the wallflowers, waiting for her betrothed to come to his senses and marry her. When Emmaline reads one too many reports of his scandalous liaisons in the gossip rags, she takes matters into her own hands.
War-torn veteran Lord Drake devotes himself to forgetting his days on the Peninsula through an endless round of meaningless associations. He no longer wants to feel anything, but Lady Emmaline is making it hard to maintain a state of numbness. With her zest for life, she awakens his passion and desire for love.
The one woman Drake has spent the better part of his life avoiding is now the only woman he needs, but he is no longer a man worthy of his Emmaline. It is up to her to show him the healing power of love.

And finally an excerpt.

A vulgar shout and frightened screams split the cacophony of mundane street sounds.
            Lady Emmaline Rose Fitzhugh paused on the pavement and raised a hand to shield her eyes against the sun’s brightness. She frowned.
Lord Whitmore and Lord Cavenleigh.
Two of Society’s most dandified fops.
 Lord Whitmore tugged hard at the reigns and leapt from the still moving conveyance. “You filthy cow!” He raged at the poor woman in the street.
            Lord Cavenleigh, jumped down from his carriage and muttered a string of curses.
            Emmaline’s skin heated at the rather descriptive obscenities they unleashed on the woman. Having an older brother, she’d heard her fair share of inappropriate words, but Cavenleigh’s litany was rather original even on that score.
            As the street erupted with the panicked cries of young ladies, the peddler bowed her head. Stringy gray hair straggled into her eyes. “Oi’m sorry, m-my lord.”
            Cavenleigh kicked a tomato at the old woman, and smattered her skirts with the ripened fruit.
            Emmaline gasped.
            Her maid, Grace, took her by the arm and attempted to steer her away. “Please, come away, my lady.”
            Emmaline ignored her efforts and rushed into the fray. “Cease, immediately.” She stepped into the street just as the assailant launched another tomato at the peddler.
            The projectile missed its intended mark and splattered onto the embroidered lace edging of Emmaline’s ivory silk skirts.
            Hands squared on her hips, she glared at the two men. “How dare you?”
            Whitmore, with his slickly oiled and very deliberately curled red hair, stepped around Emmaline to launch a barrage of insults at the quaking woman. He brandished his riding crop. “Sorry? You’re sorry? We could have been killed and for what? Your meaningless life and rotten vegetables?”
            Emmaline threw herself in front of the aged peddler. “What manner of gentlemen would torment a defenseless woman?”
            “No, my lady,” Grace cried.
            A tall figure stepped into the fray and positioned himself between Grace and the two assailants.
Society knew the gentleman as the Marquess of Drake.
            Emmaline knew him as her betrothed.
Lord Drake wrenched the whip from the cad’s fingers, cracked the instrument in half, and tossed the two pieces aside.
            She swallowed hard. Lord Drake stood more than a head taller than her and possessed the kind of hardened masculine perfection Michelangelo would have ached to memorialize in stone. The harsh angles of his face bespoke power and commanded notice. With rugged cheeks, aquiline nose, and squared jaw, he conveyed raw vitality. The hint of a curl to his unfashionably long golden hair seemed suited to this real life David.
            “You clearly have very little value for your life,” Drake was saying to the two fops who’d moments ago tormented the poor old woman.
             Emmaline’s stare collided with Drake’s emerald eyes. The green irises pierced through her with heated intensity; robbed her of breath.
            Get a hold of yourself, Em. He is just a man. A gloriously, stunning man—but that was neither here nor there.
She looked toward Whitmore and Cavenleigh. Cavenleigh had the good sense to stagger backwards and scurry from the incident like a rodent discovered by Cook in the kitchens.
About the author:
Twitter Picture ChrissyChristi Caldwell blames Judith McNaught’s “Whitney, My Love!” for luring her into the world of historical romance. While sitting in her graduate school apartment at the University of Connecticut, Christi decided to set aside her notes and pick up her laptop to try her hand at romance. She believes the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections, and she rather enjoys torturing them before crafting them a well deserved happily ever after! 

Christi makes her home in southern Connecticut where she spends her time writing her own enchanting historical romances, teaching history, and being a full-time wife and mother!


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This is wonderful!

Writers In The Storm Blog

By Laura Drake

I’m between books. Which is to say that I took two days to clean up everything on my ‘to do’ list, and today I’m diving into plotting my next book.

Yeah, right. Everyone who follows WITS knows I’m an inveterate pantser. Well, I’m turning over a new car (this is way harder than a leaf). The Book From Hell I just completed has convinced me there’s GOT to be a better way.

So I was avoiding, wasting time, researching how to change my process, and lo and behold, there was a squirrel. Oh, look!

I know, I know, I’ll get back to the process thingy, but this is really cool!

I ran across a link I’d saved in my “Inspiration” folder (See? I was working.) Ann Mulligan’s blog had a list of author quotes, each completing the sentence,

“You know you’re a writer if…

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Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas. I wish you the joy and magic of the season.

If you are traveling, safe journeys.

Christmas 2013

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CongratulationsLet’s start with some winners.

Vesper has won Susana Ellis’s charm bracelet.

Jennifer L won Erica Monroe’s book, Dangerous Invitation,

and Joan O won Cara Elliott’s book, Scandalously Yours.

Congratulations ladies!!!!



I want to thank everyone who came by last Sunday. Your comments meant so much to me at a very difficult time.

When I’m upset I garden. We have one bed that runs along the living room that I’ve ignored for several years, but Anna’s death gave me the push I needed to clean it out and plant it. I’m not done yet, but you’ll see the difference.

Here are pictures of how it looked before.

How Garden was








This is how it looks now.

new 1








New Garden 2

There’s still more work to do, but we’re getting there.

Magens has been going through some changes as well. The mangrove swamp has breached, sanded up, and repeated the cycle several times with all the rain.

Mangrove Swamp

A catamaran came to visit the other day.

Cat at Magens

The rocks at the end of the beach are surrounded by water again.



The Temptation of Lady Serena

The Temptation of Lady Serena


With all the turmoil I’d almost forgotten that The Temptation of Lady Serena releases on January 2d, just eleven more days! Then I received the review from Romantic Times, and a couple of other good reviews.

This is what RT had to say:

“This charming, sweet love story is the perfect addition to the Marriage Game series. Readers will enjoy the classic plotline with its stubborn alpha male hero, awkward heroine, misunderstandings, interference from loved ones and truly likable characters from previous novels — and the ultimate happily ever after.” – RT Book Reviews

Yesterday I found a fantastic and very funny review at Bodice Rippers, Femme Fatales, and Fantasy.

Another blog tour with giveaways will start on January 2d. I’ll post the tour dates here and on my website.

If you want to read the book, please pre-order. My publisher only keeps track of the numbers if the book shows movement before the release. Also, all pre-orders go on the first day statistics for ratings.

Have a wonderful week, and Happy Holidays.



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I’m so pleased to welcome debut Regency author Erica Monroe to the blog! Erica is giving away one digital copy of her debut novel, A Dangerous Invitation, to someone who leaves a comment telling her she or he wants the book

Thank you so much to Ella for letting me appear on her blog today! It’s an honor, as Ella was particularly encouraging to me through the process of writing my debut novel, A Dangerous Invitation.


There are certain elements in writing that I love as a writer and a reader. One is repetition—not particularly in repeated ideas, but in repeated elements. My classical literature background shows in my love for symbols. I still remember a year after reading Meredith Duran’s Bound to You this yellow handkerchief in a window that Lydia sees, and how it’s this bright spot in an otherwise dismal landscape. When I started to write A Dangerous Invitation, I knew that I wanted repetition through objects. Certain things would become really important to my hero and heroine, because they’d mean so much more to them sentimentally.

My heroine, Kate Morgan, has been cast away from her former life as a rich merchant’s daughter. After the death of her father, the bankruptcy of his shipping company was revealed—leaving Kate stranded in London and penniless. She becomes a fence for stolen goods, using her knowledge of antiques from years cataloguing her father’s collections. Kate becomes something entirely different than what she was as a debutante—now she can bar brawl with the best of them, and she takes a lot of pride in being able to take care of herself in the wild, wicked world of the rookeries. When Kate escaped from her townhouse, she carried with her a portrait of her father, a few dresses, what ready money she could stuff into her pockets, her father’s greatcoat, and his pistol.

That flintlock pistol, made by Forsyth, becomes the most important thing Kate owns. Scottish flintlock maker James Alexander Forsyth invented a rudimentary percussion system that moved the flintlock into the 19th century. I looked at a lot of flintlock pictures to try and find one that would match the exact gun design I wanted, but none really did, so Kate’s gun is an amalgamation of about seven different flintlock decorating styles. Kate is barely able to afford the rent on her one-room, closet-sized deep in the heart of Ratcliffe, and she has very things to her name. When everything else seems to be going badly, she looks at the flintlock and remembers her father teaching her how to shoot and she feels safe. I based the flintlock on an 1820’s model, based in wood with roses inlaid. It is a single-barreled gun, and because it’s about 10 years old, it isn’t the most up to date but it holds that real value to Kate.


This is how I picture the wood would look like on Kate’s pistol.


Not a Forsyth model, this is actually from an 18th century hunting rifle.

Image credit: Wikipedia Commons

1826 greatcoat that belonged to Kate’s father, Richard Morgan

Image copyright: Wikipedia Commons

Secondly, the repeated element I’ve got in A Dangerous Invitation is the greatcoat Kate wears that belonged to her father. It’s gigantic and black, made for a man much larger and taller than she is. Kate is tall for a woman, but she’s very willowy. To Kate, this coat is another reminder of where she came from—one of the few reminders she has left. When my hero Daniel O’Reilly first sees her with that coat on, he’s struck by how different she looks than the polished society girl he once knew. The buttons of the coat bear the logo of the shipping company that he worked for, and her father owned. At times, he thinks of stripping the coat from her, and freeing them both of the trappings of the past.



Prior to the novel’s start, Daniel gives Kate a Claddagh ring. But while jewelers in Galway made the rings with heart, crown, and hands that we know so well, they didn’t start calling it a Claddagh ring until closer toward the 20th century. In my 1830’s novel, I describe the ring’s shape and call it the O’Reilly ring, because it’s a family heirloom. Passed down through three generations to the first born son’s intended, the ring represents to Kate everything she should have had with Daniel. They didn’t have engagement rings during the late regency, so when Daniel gives it to her, it’s as a promise of his love. He wants her to have something she can look at and think of him, and know that she’s special. This ring places a course throughout the novel.

Gold Claddagh ring like what I describe


Image copyright: Wikipedia


All of these things serve to remind Daniel and Kate of the way things were in the past. As this is a second chance romance, I liked those little flashes that allow them to return to their memories.  Eventually, they must determine how much they really value these little objects over the new life they could build together.

Do you have any particular favorite objects you keep for sentimental reasons?

Book Blurb:

One fatal mistake cost Daniel O’Reilly the woman he loved, spiraling him toward drunken self-destruction. Now sober, he’ll have to prove he’s innocent of the murder he was accused of three years ago. But pistol-wielding Kate Morgan hasn’t forgiven his sins.

Torn from her privileged existence by her father’s death, Kate Morgan has carved out a new independent life in the Ratcliffe rookery as a fence for stolen goods. Daniel’s invitation to assist him jeopardizes her structured existence. Yet Kate can’t resist his touch, or the wicked desires he stirs within her.

As their renewed passions grow reckless, their investigation takes them through the darkest and most depraved areas of the City. To catch a killer, they’ll have to put secrets behind them and trust only their hearts.



Erica Monroe writes dark, suspenseful historical romance. Her debut novel, A Dangerous Invitation, Book 1 of the Rookery Rogues series, released in December 2013. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina, and the Beau Monde Regency Romance chapter. Erica can also be found blogging every other Saturday at Teatime Romance. When not writing, she is a chronic TV watcher, sci-fi junkie, lover of pit bulls, and shoe fashionista. She lives in the suburbs of North Carolina with her husband, two dogs, and a cat.


Buy Links:

Amazon  ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords

Paperback edition coming later in the month.


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Writers In The Storm Blog

by Erika Marks

Hello, friends! I hope this finds everyone ready for the holiday season—and by ready, I mean totally freaking out! (Just kidding. Well, sort of.)

I know this time of year is one during which we can’t help but be especially reflective, not on just this past year but the years before it, and, of course, the one ahead.

It also seems to be the time of year when the world becomes especially list-happy with everything from books to bagels getting put on a Best of/Worst of list somewhere in the world. So I thought, why not add a Best/Worst list of my own during this season of reflection?

Recently, I met with a great writing group and one of the students asked me—after I’d told them that I was 20 years writing and submitting before I got my first book contract—if I would have done anything…

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