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Archive for November, 2014

Hi everyone and Happy Sunday!!

First join me in congratulating Lain who won a copy of Susanna Fraser’s book, A Christmas Reunion!!

As you know we left Melbourne on Saturday. On Monday we did indeed get our new sail and Mack pack which holds the sail.

new sail use

It took much longer than I expected, so we didn’t arrive in North Palm Beach until Tuesday afternoon. The marina was nice, but it didn’t have nearly the atmosphere of the one in Melbourne, which was a little disappointing. On Friday we moved to the anchorage and I love it here.

NPB Anchorage

So does Raphaella.

Raphaella

 

It now looks like we’ll have a weather window to head south around the week of the 8th. Wish us luck.

My new daily schedule includes learning knots as well as writing at least a chapter a day. I have three of them down, and I have about three more to learn.

It’s a big week in the writing world. I’ll be a Collette Cameron’s FB party on the 3d. Also Eileen Dreyer, me and several other authors are having a month long giveaway starting tomorrow.

Temptation tour

Click here for the link. I’ll also post it on my FB page.

How was your week?

Ella

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Please welcome my guest today, historical author Susanna Fraser!! Susanna will give a copy of her book, A Christmas Reunion, away to one of you who tells her you want the book!

Now for the lovely cover!

ACR_Cover_Final

And the blurb:

Gabriel Shepherd has never forgotten his humble origins. So when he discovers a war orphan at Christmastime, he resolves to find a home for her—even if that means asking help from the very family who found and raised him, only to cast him out for daring to love the wrong woman.

Lady Catherine Trevilian has spent five years poring over the British Army’s casualty list, dreading the day she sees Gabe’s name. She’s never forgotten him, and she’s never forgiven herself for not running away with him when she had the chance, though she’s agreed to a marriage of convenience with a more suitable man.

When Gabe returns home on Christmas leave just days before Cat’s wedding, a forbidden kiss confirms their feelings haven’t been dimmed by distance or time. But Cat is honor-bound to another, and Gabe believes she deserves better than a penniless soldier with an orphan in tow. How can Cat reconcile love and duty? She must convince Gabe she’d rather have him than the richest lord in all of England…

Now an excerpt.

In this excerpt the hero, Gabriel Shepherd, has written his cousin Richard pleading that the family find a home for an orphan girl he’s been caring for before he’s obliged to return to his regiment in Portugal. As an illegitimate son of the former earl’s younger brother, Gabe has never had a secure place in his family, and he believes the estrangement that drove him into the army five years ago still stands.

Instead of the servant he’d requested to take charge of Ellen, Richard had sent a letter all but demanding his presence. Gabriel, Gabriel, what are you thinking to be so near as London and not to have sent word the instant your feet touched English soil? Of course we want you here. I insist upon it. Mama insists upon it, lest you think you have anything to fear from that quarter. If you do not come at once, I will send Daniel Carter to fetch you, and though I daresay you have become quite the mighty warrior these past five years, I’m morally certain he still outweighs you by at least five stone.

Gabe hadn’t been able to help laughing. Carter was the Edenwell village blacksmith, and still the largest man Gabe had ever seen even after five years in the wider world.

As for your little charge, Richard had continued, I believe I know the perfect place for her. We will talk of it when you arrive, for I must speak with the foster parents I have in mind first, but if for any reason they cannot or will not take her, never fear. You may leave the girl in our care when you return to your regiment, and I will undertake to ensure she is entrusted to a family who will bring her up as a daughter.

Make haste, the letter had concluded. I won’t have you spending Christmas alone in an inn any more than I would Harry or Kitty.

Lest Gabe still doubt his welcome, Richard had signed it with only his first name—marking it as driven by the affection of Gabe’s foster brother, not by the duties of the earl and head of the family. His previous letters since inheriting his father’s title had all been signed with a curt, formal Edenwell.

He couldn’t believe Richard was still calling Cat Kitty. She’d complained of the nickname the very first day Gabe had met her. He’d been eighteen, home from Oxford for the summer months after Trinity Term and terribly awkward around his aunt and uncle’s new ward. Lord Edenwell had made it painfully clear that while Richard and Harry could stand as the sixteen-year-old heiress’s equals, a young man in his position must show a certain humility and reserve in the presence of a marquess’s daughter, the Lady Catherine Trevilian.

So he’d been quiet and deferential, all while he was sneaking looks at her red-gold hair and her pale smooth skin above the high neck of the black dress she wore as a mark of her mourning. There was something about her smile, too, when Richard made a jest. It hinted at a spirit full of happiness and mischief banked, but not wholly doused, by her grief.

She’d fascinated him, but he’d done his best to obey his uncle’s command. At least, he’d reflected, if he was obliged to keep quiet and humble, he couldn’t make a fool of himself.

His shyness had continued until the family had gathered in the parlor after that first dinner. Gabe had made a point of sitting apart from the others, leafing through a stack of pianoforte music.

Then a soft rustle of skirts had drawn his notice, and he’d seen her smiling down at him.

“Do you play or sing, Cousin Gabriel?” she’d asked.

“Both.” For a moment he’d forgotten deference and met her lovely gray eyes. “Though my playing is merely adequate.” Then he’d remembered and turned his attention back to the music. “But—ah, I’m not your cousin. Lady Catherine.”

She’d sat beside him, smoothing her skirts. “I know. But you’re my cousins’ cousin, which makes you family enough that you needn’t call me that.”

“It isn’t precisely an equal relationship,” he’d muttered.

“How many truly are? Call me Kitty, like the others.” Then she’d frowned thoughtfully. “Though I do wish they’d leave off. Kitty isn’t so bad for a child in the nursery or schoolroom, but it sounds too much like kitten.”

“Then I shall call you Lady Cat,” he’d said. She was no mere kitten, soft and harmless, even if the others were too blind to see it.

At that he’d seen the fullness of her smile, lit with joy and vivacity. “I shall like that very much indeed.”

Looking back, he believed that was the moment he’d fallen in love.

SusannaFraser2013AuthorPhotoAbout Susanna:

Susanna Fraser wrote her first novel in fourth grade. It starred a family of talking horses who ruled a magical land. In high school she started, but never finished, a succession of tales of girls who were just like her, only with long, naturally curly hair, who, perhaps because of the hair, had much greater success with boys than she ever did.

Along the way she read her hometown library’s entire collection of Regency romance, fell in love with the works of Jane Austen, and discovered in Patrick O’Brian’s and Bernard Cornwell’s novels another side of the opening decades of the 19th century. When she started to write again as an adult, she knew exactly where she wanted to set her books. Her writing has come a long way from her youthful efforts, but she still likes to give her heroines great hair.

Susanna was born and raised in Alabama and has never lost her love for barbecue and Auburn football or stopped saying “y’all,” “fixin’ to” and “might could” as her adult life took her to Philadelphia, England, and at last to Seattle, where she now lives with her husband and daughter.

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thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from sunny and cold south Florida!

For many years we lived overseas and gathered people around us who were also far away from their families. This year we are the guests.

I wish you all the best Thanksgiving Day! Enjoy your family and friends, and don’t forget to stop by tomorrow when historical author Susanna Fraser will be my guest author.

One of the things we used to do is have everyone say what we were thankful for. I’m thankful that my husband and I have finally realized a 30 + year old dream, and that I have a very understanding editor. Now it’s your turn.

Ella

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Happy Sunday!!

Let’s begin with the winner of Bron Evans’s book! Congratulations goes to Yanne!!

Between the boat and writing deadlines, I have been completely overwhelmed. However, I did manage to get Lady Beresford’s Lover, which will release in July to my editor. I’m working on the copy edits for A Kiss for Lady Mary and we-writing it as I go. That has to be in tomorrow. Then I have to write the next book which will be the last one in The Marriage Game.

In boat news, we now have two working engines, the boat is provisioned for our 14 day off shore passage, and we are motoring down the ICW to Stuart for our new mainsail.

We anchored in Ft. Pierce last night and this morning awoke to dolphins!

dolphins ft pierce

I was finally able to get a good photo of Alicianna. She is 10 weeks old today and a lot of fun!

Alicianna 11.16.14

This morning we had to get fuel, and I decided to dock the boat. That involved turning her completely around in the marina, but it couldn’t have gone better.

Now I’m back to Lady Mary. I’ll be checking your comments later today, so let me know how your week has been!!

Ella

 

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Please welcome Bron Evans back to the blog!! She has a wonderful post for you and a book for one of you who tells her you want it! Don’t forget that she is in New Zealand, so will not be able to answer comments until later in the day.

Hi Ella

 

Waving from a very warm New Zealand. I hope it’s not too cold where you are. I heard the USA has had a lot of snow. Thanks for letting me visit with you today and talk to you about A Touch of Passion, book #3 in my Disgraced Lords series.

I am a romance writer. I love my job, or passion, as I like to call it. It allows me to develop characters that I’d like to meet. I love strong, arrogant heroes, because I can show them that sometimes, if they let their walls down and open their hearts, love can rock their world. Usually that requires an intelligent and resourceful heroine—the type of heroine I can admire.

However, when writing historical romance, the game changes in that sometimes it’s difficult to show just how strong and independent a woman can be because of the restrictive culture of the day.

Generally, women in the early 1800’s, the Regency era I write in, had no real power because they were financially dependent on men, a husband, brother, or father.

It wasn’t until later in the 19th century, with the passing of the Married Woman’s Property Act in 1870, which gave women the right to be more than chattels of their husband, that woman began to look at financial security as a rightful state. Unmarried women during this period were the most vulnerable and were still at the whim of finding employment. With little education most were in menial servant positions. That’s why you read so many stories where the heroines are courtesans. Even today, the lack of money and educational opportunities is still the number one cause of slavery (the largest form of slavery today is sexual) in the world today.

During the early 1800’s, men maintained this financial superiority by keeping women uneducated. Schooling for women was not seen as necessary. Women were there to have children and run the home. What I now find ironic is that many women still do raise children and run the home, but in addition, also have to provide financially as well, but that’s another topic.

I wanted to write a story about a woman who found an unusual way to become independent. Can you imagine what kind of woman it must have taken in the 1800’s to go against society’s norms and rules? She’d have to have been strong, thick-skinned, and very intelligent too. A force to be reckoned with.

Women’s ability to bear children was prized more than intelligence. It reminds me of the lyrics to Madonna’s song, What it Feels Like For a Girl.

Strong inside but you don’t know it Good little girls they never show it When you open up your mouth to speak Could you be a little weak

That’s exactly what women were expected to be in the Regency era—weak and helpless. If you had an opinion you kept it to yourself.  Women were taught that no man wants a wife who is as smart, or smarter, than him. Or at least only those men too weak to recognize what an asset a smart woman could be to them.

My next release is A TOUCH OF PASSION (book #3 in the Disgraced Lords series) coming March 2015. It’s a tale that deals with the problem of a ‘modern woman’ in Regency times.

untitled

 

Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, is in love with Lady Portia, but denies it because he feels she is too modern for him, a man who needs the backing of the House of Lords in order to fulfill his promise to her dying brother. Lady Portia is financially secure, she doesn’t care about what others think of her, nor does she need to marry a man simply for security. She set up, and runs, one of England’s most successful cider businesses.

Portia is very independent. She almost died of a lung fever at the age of sixteen and she’s determined to live her life to the full. She uses her intelligence to start a business that not only supports her, but is also used to support an orphanage. She doesn’t mean to challenge society at every turn, but she won’t live her life to appease other people’s expectations. Grayson on the other hand lost his family and is determined to live up to his father’s honorable reputation. A wild and scandalous woman for a wife is not what he needs. Or so he thinks….

Here’s the blurb:

In the latest Disgraced Lords novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans, a vivacious thrill seeker clashes with her dutiful defender—causing irresistible sparks to fly.   Independent and high-spirited, Lady Portia Flagstaff has never been afraid to take a risk, especially if it involves excitement and danger. But this time, being kidnapped and sold into an Arab harem is the outcome of one risk too many. Now, in order to regain her freedom, she has to rely on the deliciously packaged Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, a man who despises her reckless ways—and stirs in her a thirst for passion.   After losing his mother and two siblings in a carriage accident years ago, Grayson Devlin promised Portia’s dying brother that he’d always watch over his wayward sister. But having to travel to Egypt to rescue the foolhardy girl has made his blood boil. Grayson already has his hands full trying to clear his best friend and fellow Libertine Scholar of a crime he didn’t commit. Worse still, his dashing rescue has unleashed an unforeseen and undesired consequence: marriage. Now it’s more than Portia he has to protect . . . it’s his battered heart.

 

I loved these two characters. They had to battle both each other, but also the time period they lived in. I guess nothing has changed. Women still have to battle to be seen as equal to men. It’s proven that men are still paid more for the same job, there are proportionally fewer women on company boards or in senior management positions, sporting achievements are more prominent for male dominated sports (and they earn way more), and parts of the world still want to suppress a woman’s right to education and freedom of choice. It appears we still have some way to go…

I hope you’ll check out A Touch of Passion. It’s up for pre-order at all major eRetailers. Can you name  a favorite historical romance that has a working heroine? I’ll draw one lucky commenter to win a copy of INVITATION TO PASSION, my latest release, in book or ebook format.

 

Amazon http://amzn.to/1Bqrx2O

Amazon Canada http://amzn.to/1yUMOfv

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1ucWygI

Amazon Australia http://bit.ly/1zEw2lG

Amazon Germany http://amzn.to/1AkEo57

iBooks http://bit.ly/1EFqsR8

Nook http://bit.ly/1yFzr2u

Kobo http://bit.ly/11iYfmc

 

Just to prove that I am not writing a fantasy, and that women did own successful businesses in the Regency period, I’ll share a link to a fabulous post over at Smart Bitches about strong, intelligent, businesswomen of the Regency period, by Michelle Styles.

lady-jersey

http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/2012/08/amazing-regency-businesswomen-a-guest-post-by-michelle-styles/

 

Bron’s Bio:

Bron_300x421-2USA Today bestselling author, Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. 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 with her dog Brandy.

Bronwen loves hearing from avid romance readers at romance@bronwenevans.com

You can keep up with Bronwen’s news by visiting her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bronwenevansauthor

 

Twitter: @bronwenevans_nz

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Happy Sunday!

First I want to congratulate Glenda for winning a copy of Gina Danna’s book!!

Writing wise, I have had my nose to the keyboard finishing book # 7 of The Marriage Game. I’m happy to say that Lady Beresford’s Lover will be sent to my editor tomorrow! I also got in the copy edits for A Kiss for Lady Mary (book #6) which will release in May.

Boat wise it’s been an interesting week. We had planned a shakedown cruise to Ft. Lauderdale an almost didn’t get off the dock. Our anchor light needed to be replaced, and no one had it in stock. I finally threatened to put a candle up on top, and Hubby bought a temporary plug in. We were late leaving and only got a few miles down the ICW, but we made it. And it was a good thing too! We learned a great deal about the boat, including that work was needed on both engines. One conked out completely. I will tell you that maneuvering a catamaran on one engine is like dancing with a pig on ice. Not fun! We also learned about power management. One of the must have items for Hubby was an ice maker. Well, he forgot to turn it off one night and ran down the batteries. It took us two days to get them charged again.

The good thing is our solar and wind generators worked like charms. The boat is comfortable, and all the animals did well. We had a slight problem when we went off-shore on our return trip, Maddie (the kitten) and I both got seasick. I also caught a stomach bug. Alicianna, our new puppy seems to know exactly what to do on a boat. We took her on shore once and she discovered grass, had fun playing in it, but was happy to be back on the boat.

Bronwyn Evans was to have been on the blog last Friday, but she had just gotten out of the hospital, so she’ll be visiting this coming Friday.

Here are some pictures.

This is Alicianna his morning. She is really growing!

Alicianna 11.16.14

There is a speed limit on the ICW. We passed this boat anchored out with it’s lights going.ICW speed trap

One of the most wonderful parts of living on a boat is this type of view when you wake up at anchor.

Morning at Sebastian Las Olas mooring

With any luck at all, this should be our last week in Melbourne, FL. How has your week been going?

Ella

 

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Please welcome Gina Danna back to the blog. Today she is promoting her latest book, Great and Unfortunate Desires! Gina has graciously agreed to give away a copy to one of you who leaves a comment saying you want it.

As always we’ll start with the cover!

GinaDanna_Great&UnfortunateDesires_1400px

 

Now the blurb. 

Victorian England c. 1870

Operating as a British spy, Tristan St.James, the new Marquis of Wrenworth, barely escapes Afghanistan with his life in the spring of 1869. He plans to seek vengeance against the traitor who exposed him and for the agent he’s forced to kill. Returning to England, as a lord, he must marry. Haunted by guilt from the horrors of war, he avoids love at all costs, but finds himself drawn to the only woman who is disinterested in him.

Lady Evelyn Hurstine has waited over two years for the return of her love, a man who left for war in the East. But during that time, she suffered a brutal assault, resulting in a child and fear of any man touching her except for the man she once knew. The pursuit by the marquis scares her but her excuses against his proposal dwindle.

Their marriage strengthens into love until she discovers her husband isn’t the safety she believed but the one who killed the man she once loved. Caught in a world of intrigue and mayhem, Tristan must prove his love to her before the traitor destroys them both.

And finally an excerpt.

After all the years he’d spent in India and Afghanistan, nothing much surprised Tristan other than English ideas on manners and morals. Relaxing in a leather cushioned chair at Brooks, trying to forget Livingston’s cautionary dismissal, Tristan sipped his brandy while other patrons debated the recent bets placed in the club’s infamous ledger. With the Season in full session, matchmaking wagers almost outnumbered the vulturous mothers of the debutantes. Tristan’s stomach roiled because he knew his name was now listed in the book.

Harry sat to Tristan’s right watching Tristan as he toyed with an unlit cigar. Finally Harry laughed.

“I fail to see the humor in this,” Tristan griped.

Harry slid to the edge of his chair. “Aren’t you curious who you’re linked with?”

“No.”

“That is what is so funny. The fact that you say that, yet you sit there, smoke pouring from your ears…”

“That is simply my cigar.”

Harry’s grin spread further. Both knew the cigar wasn’t burning. “Right. Well, in case you are wondering…”

“And I’m not,” Tristan stated flatly.

“I placed money on you and the Hurstine chit.” He sat back, arms crossed, and waited for a response.

Tristan’s gaze narrowed. There was something about her, beyond her beauty, which called to him. His body registered her presence, albeit in memory only, stirring his loins to attention and inflaming his desire for her. She was fire and ice, a mystery. “Why her?”

Laughter again from Harry. “Good lord, man, haven’t you queried Debrett’s about her? Or that lovely Lady Sarah you’ve been escorting around?”

The barren environment and simple lifestyle of the East was looking better and better to Tristan. Olive-skinned women with kohl-shadowed eyes and veiled faces were far more interesting than those of his own country. Frankly, he’d prayed he would be exempt from all this, but, as Harry so annoyingly pointed out, he wasn’t. Except for the ice queen and her pretty friend, few Englishwomen attracted him. But he feared if he looked in the book, he’d discover some bettors had associated him with several others.

“All right Harry. You’ve peeked. Tell me of these ladies.”

Harry chuckled. “I truly think you should take a gander yourself, but” he leaned in, “the Winston line is long and well established, with money but no title. In the Hurstine family, though, the father is a baron and one with money. Many believe he’s gone into trade to increase his wealth.”

Tristan caught his friend’s sneer at the end of the sentence. His gaze narrowed. “Trade? What a shame. Eliminates her immediately. Oh, the audacity!”

Harry frowned, Tristan’s sarcasm lost on him. “You know your solicitors could rule out such a match as inappropriate because of that.”

Tristan laughed. “Harry, my dear boy, trade may be the only thing that’ll help the snobby nobility. Land isn’t the means to an end anymore, my boy. Not when grain from the Americas is cheaper than home grown. No, no.” But Harry still had a look about him that made Tristan push. “What else about her?”

Harry’s brow furrowed. “There is a story, rumor, but you know how they go in these areas…”

“About what?” Tristan’s voice rose, aggravated. His stomach tightened. What on God’s green earth was he rambling about? If there was something else about her supposed unsuitability, he needed to know what it was.

His friend swallowed loudly and cleared his throat. “There was an episode, or so it’s been said, that she has a bastard. Or cares for one at any rate.” He shrugged.

Tristan frowned. The Ice Queen? A child? Her? She looked half-scared, half-frozen—too much so to allow intimacy. Thoughts of another man being close to her, touching her, made his skin prickle. A feeling of possessiveness overcame him, one he fought mightily to ignore.

“That is one of the most ridiculous accusations I’ve ever heard,” he spouted. It couldn’t be true, could it?

 

 

Buy links: Unfortunately, the book is not yet up on Amazon or the other sites as this blog goes live.

 

About Gina.

Gina_036I’ve had two loves since childhood – horses and history. I read everything I could to learn about horses, all The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley and collected every Breyer horse model I could buy. As to history, I devoured everything I could about the historic sites my parents took me to and fell in love with John Jakes North & South series. Later, that turned to historic romances and I was lost.

But I had to grow up, choose a major and career. One of my loves set the path – History. Got my BA & MA in European History and US from the University of Missouri and did PhD work through St. Louis University. Those degrees got me into the museum field, making history my career.

All those years of academic research abilities have helped me in writing historical romance. But heroes and heroines are more than monarchs, presidents, despots, and war machines. They’re real people, living in a time many romanticize about without understanding the complexities. These people love, hate, worry, celebrate and live like we do. How? Research, research, and more research. Diaries, census records, wills, deeds, church sermons, letters, laws, and so much more. Years of being a Civil War Reenactor helped me go beyond academia to get to the backbone of these people – who they were. The past is a fascinating adventure, real and alive, with discoveries at every corner. These people loved and fought just like we do today.

With my son off to college, I have the freedom to now research and write what I’ve longed to write – not for academia, not for formal education but from my heart. As a member of RWA, MORWA, HHRW, and The Beau Monde, I get to experience the new adventure of the love in the past. That is, as long as I still pay attention to my supervisors – my two black labs, my three cats and yes, my Arabian gelding, named Shetan, after The Black Stallion.  Both my childhood loves together at last.

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