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Archive for January, 2014

While I’m off to Europe, I’m turning the blog over to multi-published Regency author Bronwen Evans. Bronwen is going to tell you about why she likes writing Regencies, and she has a giveaway.

But first I’m going to show you the fabulous cover of her latest release, A Kiss of Lies!

A-Kiss-of-Lies-200x267

Take it away Bron!!

10 Reasons Why I LOVE Writing the Beginning of a Series – Bronwen Evans

I love reading a romance series, so it’s no surprise that I absolutely love writing them. 2014 is going to be a busy year for me. I have a new Regency romance series, The Disgraced Lords, underway. A group of six rakes nickname the Libertine Scholars because they are firm friends from school days, face a common enemy bent on destroying them.

The series kicks off with book #1, A KISS OF LIES, which tells the story of Christian Trent, Earl of Markham and Mrs. Sarah Cooper. The story sees the pair travel from England to Canada, to Jamaica and then back to England. Here’s the blurb…

A pair of damaged souls ignites each other’s deepest passions—even as they tempt fate by deceiving the world.

Desperate to escape her abusive past, Sarah Cooper disguises herself as a governess in the employ of Christian Trent, Earl of Markham, the man who, long ago, she fantasized about marrying. Despite the battle scars that mar his face, Sarah finds being near Christian rekindles her infatuation. A governess, however, has no business in the arms of an earl, and as she accompanies Christian on his voyage home, Sarah must resist her intense desires—or risk revealing her dangerous secrets.

One of the renowned Libertine Scholars, Christian Trent once enjoyed the company of any woman he chose. But that was before the horrors of Waterloo, his wrongful conviction of a hideous crime, and his forcible removal from England. Far from home and the resources he once had, Christian believes the life he knew—and any chance of happiness—is over . . . until his ward’s governess sparks his heart back to life, and makes him remember the man he used to be. Now Christian is determined to return to England, regain his honor, and win the heart of the woman he has come to love.

For an author, the beginning of a new series is often the most exciting time. Why I hear you ask? I shall share…

1. I have a bunch of new characters in my head who end up becoming my best friends.

2. I get to let my imagination fly free and devise ways to make their lives miserable to begin with – what? Being mean is fun when there are no repercussions.

3. Plotting a story is exciting, but plotting a whole series is like taking your favorite ride at Disneyland, exhilarating and scary at the same time.

4. I know I’m going to spend the next 2 years with handsome, sexy and very alpha-male rakes—sigh!

5. I get to bring said alpha male rakes to their knees by introducing them to women who challenge them at every level.

6. I can write women characters I’d love to be friends with.

7. I can let my evil side out and write incredibly evil villains and name them after people who have been horrible to me.

8. I know what I’m going to be writing for a good many months so writers block is almost non existent.

9. I can develop and give my readers a more in-depth look into the lives of my characters as they will continue to appear across all of the books
10. Best of all, I get to give my characters their hearts desire and a fabulous happy ever after – what could be more satisfying than that?

I hope you get a chance to read, A Kiss of Lies, it’s been fun writing it and book #2, A Promise of More. I’m busy writing books #3 and #4 this year. Here’s an excerpt to wet the appetite…

So, three days ago, Christian had placed an advertisement in the local York Times for a governess to sail back to England with them and to take charge of Lily’s upbringing.

Given the colonial location and his reputation, he’d had the most unsuitable women applying. It seemed no respectable governess wished to work for Devil Scarface. Those who did simply wanted passage to England. That is, until the woman seated on the other side of Matthew’s large maplewood desk applied.
She was the first woman who’d looked him directly in the eye in a long time. He found it disconcerting. The red rawness of the skin on his burnt face had faded over the months, but even so, it—he—was not a congenial sight.
She hardly seemed to notice.

Yet he had noticed her all right—too much. His body reacted to her ethereal beauty like a stallion scenting a mare. A flood of tangled emotions rushed through him. One of them was a current of regret. Ever since he’d been injured at Waterloo, he’d pretended that it didn’t matter to him that his looks were gone. Anger and bitterness had soured his demeanor. Perhaps it would have been better if he’d died there and then. It was only when he saw a woman like Mrs. Cooper, with such grace and beauty, that the pain of all he’d lost swamped him in self-pity.
She sat opposite him, very composed, in a charming if somewhat dated lavender ensemble, the shade flattering her ocean-deep blue eyes. Her hair was pulled back severely under the cap. The only thing that seemed out of place was the golden hint of a tan and a nose covered in delightful freckles, as if she’d been outside for long periods without a hat.

Her vocabulary and demeanor spoke of maturity. As he assessed her, his whole body ached with the most basic human need.
He wanted her. Not just her body, but more . . .

He wanted the dream he’d promised himself on the battlefields of Europe. A beautiful wife and family, a home, some shreds of normality, a few children to justify the future and to give him a tangible reason for having put himself through the horror of war.

He watched her nervously lick her lips. His groin tightened. He imagined the sleek wetness around him . . .

He tried to cross his legs but hit his knee on the underside of the desk. Reality returned. Why would she want a burned shell of a man?
What are some of your favorite series? What’s the best first book in a series you’ve read? Mine would be Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens. I’ll give away a copy of Invitation to Scandal to one person who comments, the second book in my other series. Book #3 in the Invitation To series, Invitation to Passion will be out in spring 2014.

bronnyAbout Bron:

Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She has always indulged her love of storytelling and is constantly gobbling up movies, books, and theater. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer? Evans is a two-time winner of the RomCon Readers’ Crown and has been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Connect with Bronwen Evans: Facebook ~   Twitter  ~  Website

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Loved this post!!

Writers In The Storm Blog

Laura here – Speaking of going the distance, I just wanted to let you know that  I’m teaching a course, Submissions that Sell,  the in February at Margie Lawson’s Writers Academy. Need a query? Need to organize submissions? Covers everything except Synopsis. You can check it out Here.

Now, on to the incredible Kathryn Craft!

A ‘Turning Whine into Gold’ post from Kathryn Craft

When you set out to write a novel, no one wants to believe it might take a decade or more to hone your skills. You’ll learn faster, you say. Go for it! Reckless innocence is the steppingstone that allows us to launch any grand endeavor. To begin we need only the excitement to try, and the vague sense that “I can do this.”

Yet clinging to innocence will not serve you for long. Along the way, you’ll hear daunting odds about reaching the top. “Agents…

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Sorry about yesterday. I was continuing to bask in the light of my cover for Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret.

Today I invite you to post your page ten of your WIP, recent release or future release. If for some reason it’s not appropriate, feel free to post a different page. If you have buy links you may post them as well.

Here is my page from Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret, and—sigh—the cover.

Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret

Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret

 

They reached another pier, where Andrew hailed a tall man with broad shoulders, who’d clearly been at sea for a while. “That’s Captain Black. His ship is one of the fastest you’ll find, even with cargo.”

“Mr. Grayson,” the captain grinned, “I see you’ve found his lordship, and in good time.”

“His gear will be here directly,” Andrew said, “Captain Jones is seeing to it.”

Captain Black turned his attention to Will. “Welcome aboard the Sarah Anne, my lord. I’ll have you in St. Thomas in no time at all.”

An hour later, Will stood near the bow of the ship, looking out over the water and trying to decided how to approach the problem his father had asked him to look into in St. Thomas. Though it would delay his exploration of the other islands, he knew that Watford’s protective arms encircled all of their family, no matter where they were located, and Will felt the same way. Anyone in the Wivenly family was his to care for.

Andrew joined him. “Have you decided how you will approach the problem yet?”

Will wished he had; the whole thing was deuced strange. He shook his head. “My original intent was to pay my respects to my great-uncle Nathan’s widow—funny that. Nathan was only a few years older than Will—then meet with the manager, Mr. Howden. Yet after receiving the last letter from her, telling my father the business was failing, right on the heels of a report from Howden, showing it was as prosperous as ever, I don’t know what to think, or whom to trust.”

Andrew leaned against the rail. “Someone is being economical with the truth.”

An understatement if Will had ever heard one. “The question is who. I can’t think of a reason my aunt would be dishonest. Her distress was clear from her letter. However, Howden has an impeccable reputation.”

Now it’s your turn!

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Happy Sunday!!

We’re starting with the winner of Alison Stuart’s book. Congratulations to Diana Huffer

I’m so excited I’m doing a mini-spotlight!!! I received the cover for Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret. I think it’s the best one yet!! What do you think?

Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret

Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret

Now the blurb.

Ella Quinn’s intriguing and irresistible bachelors are masters in the game of seduction. But nothing has the power to change a single man’s mind like a captivating woman…

William, Viscount Wivenly, plans to remain the most eligible of bachelors. He refuses to surrender to the schemes of husband-hunting ladies and matchmaking mamas. Fleeing the pressure of the ton, he’s bent on finding refuge in the West Indies. What he finds instead is a fascinating stranger, a woman so unlike those of his society that he can’t resist such a beguiling distraction…

 

Determined to let nothing complicate her mission to protect her family’s livelihood while covertly rescuing orphaned slave children, Miss Eugénie Villaret does her best to evade suitors. But when dashing William lures her down a path of forbidden adventure and delicious danger, she may be convinced that business can indeed be mixed with pleasure—and persuaded to add passion to her priorities…

And an unedited excerpt.

July, 1816, England

William, Viscount Wivenly, caught a glimpse of sprigged muslin through a thinly leafed part of the tall hedge behind which he’d taken refuge.

“Are you sure he came this way?” an excited female voice whispered.

Damn. He didn’t like the sound of that. Will found himself in sympathy with the fox at a hunt.

“Quite sure,” came the hushed response. “You must be careful, Cressida. If I reveal to you what Miss Stavely told me in the strictest confidence, you must vow never to repeat what I’m about to say. I swore I’d never breathe a word.”

“Yes, yes,” Miss Cressida Hawthorne replied urgently, “I promise.”

He’d been dodging the Hawthorne chit for two days now, and unfortunately she wasn’t the only one. The other woman sounded like the newly betrothed Miss Blakely.

“Well then,” Miss Blakely paused. “I really shouldn’t. If it got out, she’d be ruined!”

“I already promised,” Miss Hawthorne wheedled.

After a few moments, the other girl continued. “Miss Stavely said she followed Lord Wivenly to the library, so that they’d be alone, and he’d have to marry her.”

“What an excellent plan.” Miss Hawthorne’s tone fell somewhere between admiring and wishful.

“Well it wasn’t.”

Even thinking about the incident with Miss Stavely made Will shudder. There were few worse fates than being married to her in particular. Fortunately the lady was not as intelligent as she was crafty. The minute she’d turned the lock, she announced he’d have to marry her. However, she’d failed to take into account the French windows through which Will had made his escape.

“What do you mean it wasn’t a good idea?” Miss Hawthorne asked.

“Have you heard a betrothal announcement?”

Their footsteps stopped. Drat it all, there must be another way out of here. He surveyed the privet hedge, which surrounded three boundaries of this part of the garden. Across from him was a wooden rail fence about five feet high. Large rambling roses in pale pink and yellow sprawled along it completing the enclosure. Whoever designed this spot had wanted privacy. Will’s attention was once again captured by the voices.

“No.” Miss Hawthorne said slowly, as if working out a puzzle. “So it didn’t work.”

“Do you know what Miss Stavely failed to take into account?”

When Miss Hawthorne didn’t reply, Miss Blakely continued. “She didn’t bother to ensure she had a witness at hand. Miss Stavely said Lord Wivenly looked her up and down like she was a beefsteak and told her he’d ruin her if she wished, but not to think he’d take her to wife.”

Perhaps not his finest moment, though Will had wanted to scare the chit. Not that it had worked. She had practically launched herself at him.

“Oooh, how wicked.” Miss Hawthorne giggled. “He’s so handsome, and has such nice brown hair. I’d love to be compromised by him.” She paused. “But only if he had to marry me, so you must make sure to bear witness.”

Will had no intention of marrying Miss Hawthorne, or any other fair English maiden. Harpies in disguise, all of them. More interested in being Viscountess Wivenly and the future Countess of Watford than their duties as a wife.

The book will be released in August, but it’s not up for pre-order yet, so no buy links.

As you know I’m saving my knee, so I didn’t get out on the paddle board this week. Here are some water pictures I took during my water walk.

Megans Jan 14 003

Water

 

Have a wonderful week!!

Ella

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Stop by tomorrow when I reveal the cover for Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret. Until then, I give you food for thought.

Writers In The Storm Blog

by Cate Russell-Cole

GenresAs writers, we are creatures of habit. We have our favorite words, preferred plot structure, must-refer-back-to writing books and generally, we have “our genre!”

I love to see writers wearing their genre with pride and not writing in line with the latest fad, but I have this itch to challenge them to try something new. I want to ask, why does that area mean so much to you? Look at what you can gain by trying something completely different. You just don’t know what unexpected treasures you may discover!”

There are all kinds of benefits to writing in more than one genre.For a start, you don’t pigeonhole yourself, become stale or get as bored. The other great gain, is you do learn that you can achieve more than you thought.

I came across an infographic on Pinterest which is an excellent illustration of what additional writing skills…

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Please help me welcome Alison Stuart to the blog! Alison has a new book, CLAIMING THE REBEL’S HEART, and she’ll give away one copy to a commenter who says they want it. How simple is that!

As always we’ll start with the cover.

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Then the blurb.

CLAIMING THE REBEL’S HEART
 
War divides families…love unites hearts…
 
Herefordshire, England 1643
 
As the English Civil War divides England and tears families apart, Kinton Lacey castle is one of the brave few loyal to the roundhead cause.
 
With her father away, Deliverance Felton will do whatever it takes to defend her family home against the royalist forces ranged against it. She can shoot and wield a sword as well as any man and anything she needs to know about siege warfare she has learned from a book…but no book can prepare her for what is to come.
 
Captain Luke Collyer, soldier of fortune and a man with his own reasons for loyalty to the parliamentary cause, is sent to relieve the castle. Everything he knows about siege warfare in general and women in particular he has learned from experience, but when it comes to Deliverance Felton has he met his match?
 
Deliverance will not give up her command lightly and Luke will have to face a challenge to his authority as fierce as the cavalier foe outside the walls. He will do whatever it takes to win Deliverance’s trust but will he run the risk of losing his own, well guarded, heart?
And if you need more convincing, here is an excerpt!

CLAIMING THE REBEL’S HEART by Alison Stuart

 

Kinton Lacey Castle, Herefordshire

July 25, 1643

 

Startled out of an uneasy doze by the crackle of musket fire, Deliverance sent books and papers flying as she rummaged through the detritus on the table in her search for the flint. As the candle sputtered into life, the door opened and her steward, Melchior Blakelocke, stood outlined in the doorway, holding a covered lantern.

“Are we being attacked?” Deliverance asked.

“I don’t think so,” Melchior replied. “In fact, I think it is our besiegers who are being attacked.”

Hope sprang in Deliverance’s heart. “Is it Father? Has he come to relieve us?”

She reached for the elegant French Wheelock musket her father used for hunting, running her hand over the well-polished wood of the stock. It had a kick that threatened to dislocate her shoulder every time she used it, but she took pride in her mastery of the weapon.

Outside, the entire garrison of Kinton Lacey Castle had deployed along the walls, but to her relief, the firing and shouts came from beyond the crumbling walls of the old castle. She took her now accustomed vantage point on the northern tower of the bastion gate and squinted into the darkness and confusion.

Smoke and flame from burning outbuildings lent a surreal light to the melee of men that whirled and danced in the shadows as if re-enacting some ancient pagan ceremony. Only the clash of steel instead of cymbals brought home the grim purpose of the bizarre pageant.

Two men on horseback appeared out of the smoke and cantered towards the castle. Backlit by the fires, they could have been a pair of vengeful spirits.

Her heart pounding, Deliverance raised her musket and fired, cursing in a most unladylike manner as the musket ball skimmed past the two men, taking the taller man’s hat. His horse, startled by its rider’s jerk of alarm, reared up depositing the soldier on the ground. For a moment he lay still, before rising to his hands and knees. Shaking his head, he rose slowly to his feet, casting an upwards glance in the direction of the castle, as he dusted off his hat and remounted his horse.

Melchior cleared his throat. “While that is excellent shooting, I think you will find they are friends not foes.”

Deliverance’s stomach lurched. “How can you tell?”

“They wear the orange sash of the parliamentary forces, my lady.”

Deliverance leaned the musket against the wall, clenching and unclenching her hand in an effort to disguise her shaking fingers. Nausea rose in her throat. It was the first time she had fired the weapon intending to kill and she had nearly killed one of their own relieving force.

She took a deep breath, struggling to regain her composure as the two men came to a halt at the bridge over the castle’s defensive ditch. Facing them were the stout oaken gates to the castle that Deliverance had shut on her foe two weeks earlier.

“Hold your fire.” The man she had shot at called up to the defenders. “We are sent by Sir John Felton to relieve this castle.”

Deliverance picked up her musket and drew back to a vantage point where she could see without being seen. “You answer, Melchior.”

Melchior cast her a sidelong glance and stepped forward to the battlements. “Your name, sir?”

“Captain Luke Collyer.”

“How do we know they’ve come from Father?” Deliverance prompted her steward.

“How do I know you are sent by his lordship?” Melchior demanded.

The man who had identified himself as Captain Luke Collyer produced a paper from his jacket and waved it at the wall.

“These are my orders. While I don’t wish to appear churlish, sir, we have no great desire to remain outside these walls when those knaves could be back at any moment.”

“What do you mean?” Melchior asked, leaning further over the ramparts.

“We appear to have seen off your besiegers for the moment.” The man’s voice rose to make himself heard by all on the castle wall.

Deliverance drew a sharp intake of breath as relief flooded through her. The siege was over but she still had to be careful. She put no trust in Farrington not to try and gull her in this fashion.

“Very well, Melchior, let them in, but I want every man with a weapon to have it trained on them.” She tapped a fingernail on the stock of her musket. “I will meet them in the Great Hall.”

“May I suggest a change of dress, madam?”

She looked down at her breeches. “Demure and ladylike?”

Melchior nodded. “Demure and ladylike.”

Buy Links:

E-books:  Kindle  Smashwords  (all eformats)

 
Print: Lulu
Alison-8125-LR-ColorAlison Stuart is an award winning Australian writer of cross genre historicals with heart.  Whether duelling with dashing cavaliers or waywards ghosts, her books provide a reader with a meaty plot and characters who have to strive against adversity, always with the promise of happiness together. Alison is a lapsed lawyer who has worked in the military and fire service, which may explain a predisposition to soldier heroes.  She lives with her own personal hero and two needy cats and likes nothing more than a stiff gin and tonic and a walk along the sea front of her home town.Discover more about Alison on her website. http://www.alisonstuart.com

 

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All about voice.

Writers In The Storm Blog

medium_5475036666By Travis Erwin

Defining voice is a bit like nailing Jell-O to the wall. The harder you try, the messier things get, but let’s pick up that hammer and give it a whack anyway.

Voice is a writing style. It is both a particular book’s, and its author’s personality—right there on the page. In acting terms, think stage presence. Voice is not just about word choice, but also sentence and story structure. Voice can be everything.It can overcome a weak plot, unlikable characters, even shaky grammar and sloppy writing. Voice is the proverbial, “I don’t know what it is, but I know it when I see it”.

And whatever it is, it grows in a bed of confidence so as writers we must learn to trust ourselves—and  our voices.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which…

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