Be Warned: These are the scribblings of a writer unruly, unsupervised, and largely unrepentant

Friday, December 27, 2013

Taming the Tudor Male in Three Easy Lessons!

Hold onto your feathered caps, garters and trunk hose! My re-vamped, rejuvenated Tudor series (with a new publisher --TEP) is ready for release at last!

Coming tomorrow in book one - SEDUCING THE BEAST - Maddy Carver, a spirited young lady with a great deal of determination and a passion for Good Deeds, will meet her match in the shape of the darkly mysterious "Beast", otherwise known as The Earl of Swafford.

Coming in book two (January 10)- ONCE A ROGUE - Maddy's younger brother John, will encounter the icy-tempered Lucasta Collyer, who has the gall to think she can get away with only one night of anonymous passion with a stranger.
and finally book three - the one you've been waiting for. THE SAVAGE AND THE STIFF UPPER LIP will be released on January 24th.

Lancelot Upstanding Collyer has been the Earl of Swafford's bodyguard for ten years. He's loyal, ruthless and devoted to his post. He's never failed a single mission in his career, and never been distracted by a woman. But he's about to be tested beyond even his stalwart endurance.
Lady Catherine Mallory, the Earl's eldest daughter has been trouble all her life and nobody's more aware of this than Lancelot - the man often charged with getting her out of scrapes, while she refers to him scornfully as Master Stiff Upper Lip. Now she's all grown up and her father wants her married, but by maintaining her reputation as a 'Shrew,' this wayward lady keeps suitors at bay.
When the bodyguard and the Earl's daughter are caught together in a scandalous midnight tryst, they might claim it was a case of mistaken identity, but the Earl sees a chance to finally tame his stubborn daughter. A marriage is arranged at once, but with certain... stipulations . Can Lance tame his Shrew and keep that perfect record of victory, as well as her maidenhead, intact? Or will Cate find a way to conquer his notorious stiff upper lip and seduce her husband?
I'm excited! Hope you are too!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Gentleman's Gentleman

In my book, THE WICKED WEDDING OF MISS ELLIE VYNE one of my favorite characters was born in the shape of Grieves, James Hartley's indomitable valet.

Grieves is the quintessential "Gentleman's Gentleman" - he is there not only to take care of his master's clothes, but to pick up the pieces and gently steer James on the right path, as often as possible, in his own quiet, unobtrusive way. He is a long-suffering confidant and patient advisor who has been with James for five years which, as he wearily observes, "doesn't feel a day over ten."

Above all, he is a friend to James.

Although on the surface their relationship appears to be one merely of master and servant, it is a bond much stronger than that and more complex. They share a sense of mutual respect and understanding. They need each other and -- much to their surprise -- they like each other.

James and Grieves share a dry sense of humor which has evidently brought them closer. Not to mention a sly enjoyment of the occasional mischief -- an ability to "get away with it". By the time I was done writing their scenes, I couldn't imagine the two of them ever parting company and I'm sure Grieves remained with James to the end of their days.

One day I'd like to write a little romance for Mr. Grieves. I'm sure he'd object with all the proper exclamations, because what would James Hartley do without him?!

I had a few inspirations for Grieves. One was the solemn, thoughtful, introverted "Stephens" played so movingly by Anthony Hopkins in the film "Remains of the Day". For the more playful side, I turned to inspiration from the "Jeeves and Wooster" stories by P.G. Wodehouse, particularly Stephen Fry's hilarious portrayal of the capable, ever-composed butler in the TV adaption of those books

History of the Valet

 In the middle ages a valet would have been the son of a knight or nobleman, employed as much for his own education in a grand household as to serve a master. A valet, subsequently, was an important member of staff and even in the early nineteenth century he ranked above butler. The valet often got to travel with his master, so he enjoyed a wider experience of Society and the world in general than was available to most other servants. This, I'm sure, gave him something of an aura of mystery!


A valet tended to the care of his master's garments, rose early to ensure boots and shoes were cleaned, would prepare the washing-stand in the dressing room and sometimes he would shave his master too, once the lazy gentleman was up and out of bed. The valet also handled secretarial duties for his master, made travel arrangements, kept accounts of visitors and tried to make sure the calls were returned. He accompanied his master abroad, where it was apparently important that he have not only a "smattering" of languages, but the ability to detect bed bugs, and some knowledge of medicine -- for those pesky foreign doctors were considered even less trustworthy than their English counterparts!!


Loyalty, honesty and devotion were the cornerstones of a valet's position. In 1892, Lady Violet Greville noted of valets that, "If he smokes your cigars, your loose cash may lie about freely; he will not touch it. You who are so careless with your studs and sleeve-links possess an attendant who counts and looks after them. If he occasionally helps himself to a glass or two of wine, he pays your bills punctually."


Below is a short explanation of the valet's duties, taken from The Complete Servant by Samuel and Sarah Adams, 1825.


"As the valet is much about his master's person, and has the opportunity of hearing his off-at-hand opinions on many subjects, he should endeavor to have as short a memory as possible, and above all keep his master's council; and he should be cautious of mischief-making or tale-bearing to the prejudice of other persons, as calculated to involve his master in disputes, and ruin himself if by chance he is incorrect."


I think Grieves would agree with all that, apart from the mischief-making!


Here is a little excerpt from THE WICKED WEDDING OF MISS ELLIE VYNE, in which Grieves attempts to keep his distracted master (James Hartley) on track for the day's schedule.
         James critically perused his reflection in the long mirror. "That damned tailor will have to go. Look at this!" He raised his arms straight out in front, showing how the shirt pulled, stretching the stitches at his shoulders.

            "I am sorry, sir." The valet cast a timid eye over his master’s breeches, which were also snug.

            Seeing his expression, James exclaimed, "Quite, Grieves. I should like to be left with a little dignity at the end of the day." He took the new coat from the valet’s arms and tried to shrug his way into it, pausing as he felt the warning tightness and heard stitches break. He turned, still hunched, arms curved.

            Grieves hastened to his aid. "Let me help you out, sir."

            "Bring me my gun, Grieves, and I’ll shoot the fellow."

            "It just requires a few adjustments, to be sure."

            "My gun, Grieves!"

            With an almighty heave, James extracted his wide shoulders from the coat, and Grieves reached up to smooth down his shirtsleeves. "I shall speak to the tailor, sir."

            "Quicker to shoot him."

            "Yet not quite so practical. He is, after all, the very best tailor in London, so they say."

            "Humph." Turning this way and that, James examined his reflection. "I’ve never seen such shoddy workmanship. The fellow’s eyesight must be fading if he cannot get a simple measurement correct."

            Grieves politely suggested his master might have gained an inch or two about the waist and chest since his measurements were last taken.

            James pulled the new shirt off and flung a scowl over his shoulder. "It is evident, Grieves, that you are in league with this new tailor. I daresay he slipped you a few coins to recommend his services to me. You always were a conniving fellow."

            "Indeed not, sir!"

            "In any case, it’s all muscle," James added, one hand laid to his stomach, fingers splayed to feel the ridges and reassure himself. "Thanks to the boxing club. Solid as a rock."

            "A mountain of manliness, if I might be so bold, sir."

            "If bold also means facetious, no you may not." Glancing down at his tight breeches again, he exclaimed, "What happened to the previous tailor? He managed to make my clothes fit for the last twenty years at least."

            "Mr. Chadworth has left us, sir," Grieves declared sorrowfully. "I did apprise you of it when it happened."

            "Left us? How can this be permitted?"

            "I doubt it was intentional, sir. The gentleman is dead."

            "Dead? How damned thoughtless of the fellow."

            "An attack of the heart, I believe. He was very elderly."

            James stormed about the room, shaking his head at the sheer inconvenience. "Now that I think of it, he was a dreadful fellow, with breath that could strip fur from a badger. I daresay we’re better off without him. But this new tailor? Are you certain he can fill Chadworth’s shoes?"

            "I am assured he is the very best. He is newly arrived from France, and he—" Grieves clammed up, grabbed a waistcoat from the edge of the bed, and slid it over his master’s arms.

            The slip, however, had not gone unnoticed. James exploded, "A Frenchman, of all things!"

            "I am sorry, sir, but he—"

            "Grieves, have you forgotten that scoundrel Napoleon?"

            "But Napoleon is dead, sir."

            "Just because the man is dead, Grieves, doesn’t mean he’s changed for the better. And he was French."

            Nothing further to be said on the matter of the French, the valet took out a small brush and worked it briskly over the back and shoulders of his master’s waistcoat. "Are you going out this morning, sir? So early?"


            The events of the previous evening waltzed through his mind again. A pair of stunning violet eyes, a warm hand slipping out of his grip, lips trying not to laugh at him. Extraordinary lips he silenced with a kiss. Ellie Vyne hadn’t let him sleep a wink last night, and he swore that tonight he would repay the favor.

            "What time is it, Grieves?"

            "It is half past eleven, sir."

            "Good. Order the carriage brought around, will you?" He whistled a light tune as he shrugged his shoulders into his coat.

            "Is everything all right, sir?"

            Grabbing the elderly valet by his ears, James planted a kiss on his furrowed brow. "Grieves, if I thought you wouldn’t fritter it away, I’d give you an increase in pay at once."

            "Good heavens, sir…that would have been very nice."

            "I’m in an excellent mood today and shortly to regain the treasure stolen from me by that Frenchman."

            "What a relief, sir." Clutching the little brush in both hands, Grieves edged cautiously around his master. "The treasure in question is the Hartley Diamonds, sir?"

            "No, no! The Vyne woman. Do follow along, Grieves."

            The valet swayed backward on his heels. "Miss Vyne, sir? The one you do not wish on your worst enemy?"

            "The very same."

            "Miss Vyne of the stubborn demeanor and quarrelsome streak? Little Miss Vyne of the ink moustache?"

            "Not so little anymore." His gaze went foggy as he thought again of her long legs and the rosebuds framing her bosom. "But quite grown-up."

            "I never met the infamous lady, sir."

            "Think yourself lucky. She’s naught but trouble, and I can’t imagine what has possessed me. But there it is. Someone should take her in hand. It may as well be me, since I’m a reformed man, shouldering the responsibilities no one else wants."

            "Hartleys are speaking to Vynes this year then, sir?"

            "Indeed we are, Grieves." James swept out of the room and down the stairs, completely forgetting his boots, obliging Grieves to run after and stop him before he could walk out into the street barefoot.


Friday, November 29, 2013


Celebrating this fantastic year, I've decided to give away e-book copies of SOULS DRYFT to the first five people who email me at Send me a friend's email and they will receive a complimentary copy too.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS and thanks for a wonderful year!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Mind in Ruins - Sheriff Hutton Castle

Several years ago, I visited the ruins of Sheriff Hutton Castle in Yorkshire with my family. It was summer, but not a very warm day, and as we trekked along under steel-grey skies I had my fingers crossed that the inevitable rain would hold off a while yet. It was hard enough getting my family all together for a day out as it was and I wanted everyone to have a good time, although I'm not sure that any of them were as interested in the castle ruins as me! Any excuse, I thought, and they'll be heading back to the car and the nearest pub!
Naturally, my worst fears came to fruition. We hadn't been there long when the rain started. Everyone ran for cover - of which there was not much. I was extremely disappointed not to stay longer and I didn't care how hard the rain fell, but I was out-voted! My dramatic pleas to stay and wait out the rain were summarily dismissed. Ah, the hardship of being the youngest child! Someone mentioned a pub and something to eat. As if they might melt, my family dashed away with coats over their heads, racing for the almost empty car park, moving with more alacrity and team spirit than I rarely saw them exhibit in my presence.
And so we left the past behind us for cider and smoky bacon crisps.
But there had been so much to look at and take in. I could have stayed another few hours there, exploring those ruins and soaking up the atmosphere. Thankfully I got several photographs.

And the reason I'm telling you all this? Well, I think this is where my story began for the book I later wrote and called "Souls Dryft".

I was fascinated by the history held within those walls and, as I touched them, thinking about all the other hands that had been there before mine, I felt the first excited buzz that comes with an idea. It was several years later when I finally got around to putting the book together, but it started there under those bubbling rain clouds on one typically rainy day of an English Summer. The sort of day those castle ruins have existed under for centuries.
I was sad leaving them and I don't know whether I'll ever have the chance to go back, but the inspiration remains with me, because I'll never forget how I felt as I wandered around the ruins, my feet slipping about on the stone steps of a partial tower, where so many other feet before mine had worn them smooth.
Maybe Genny was there and she crept inside me to tell her story?
Nah. "Souls Dryft" is not in any way auto-biographical, although I would love to live in a place like that. I don't think I'd ever get tired of exploring. And imagining.

The History of Sheriff Hutton Castle
The name HUTTON is from the old English HOH - projecting piece of land, and TUN - farmstead. There are actually two castle ruins overlooking the Yorkshire village of Sheriff Hutton. One was a Norman motte and bailey structure built by Ansketil de Bulmer, who was given the land by William the Conqueror. The "Sheriff" part probably came from the twelfth century when Bertram de Bulmer was made Sheriff of York. Sadly, that castle is now mostly just mounds. The second castle was built by the Neville family in the fourteenth century. The property remained in their family until they died out and Sheriff Hutton castle became the possession of Richard, Duke of Gloucester (who later became King Richard III, of course).
Over the centuries, the castle has belonged to eight different monarchs, ending with Elizabeth I.
It is now in private ownership and was put on the market - according to my internet research - in 2007, but a 1.3 million pound deal eventually fell through, with the current owners deciding to keep it. I'm sure it's quite a responsibility to own a piece of history and apparently it's also very complicated to try and sell it! Very much like the ancient house in my book, Souls Dryft.
Hey, is that Genny, looking through an arrow slit? No, it's my sister moments before she ran for shelter!

Oh, and yes, there is a dungeon under one of the towers!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Bookclub Belles Society - new series coming in 2014

My new series for Sourcebooks kicks off next spring with an e-book novella BEFORE THE KISS, which will be free! Followed by the first book of the series - ONCE  UPON A KISS.

It's 1815 and a spirited, imaginative group of young ladies in the formerly quiet village of Hawcombe Prior have got their hands on a copy of a popular romance named Pride and Prejudice. Will they also get their hands on a real life Mr. Darcy? Hmmm...wait and see!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

BREAKING NEWS....NOW ON SALE - Special introductory price for a limited time

My new release SOULS DRYFT will be available from Amazon, Smashwords and All Romance Ebooks for 99 cents for a short period. (77p in the UK). Hope you get the chance to take advantage of this great deal! This is for ebook only. The print version will be available soon from Amazon.

Very special thanks to my good friends and writing buddies - Kellie, for helping me through this process from soup to nuts (literally), Marie, for her fabulous editing, and Emma for her support. Not to mention the occasional smart-mouthed smack-downs!

Could not have done it without you. :)





Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Coming Soon - SOULS DRYFT

I'd like to introduce you to my upcoming book SOULS DRYFT, which will soon be available in e-book and print from Amazon. This book is a little different to the romances I usually write. It has a touch of paranormal and two heroines - Grace, who struggles to keep her head above water in the contemporary side of the story, and Genny (Genevieve) who runs riot in the sixteenth century. And through Grace's mind.


As I was going up the stair,

I met a woman who wasn’t there.

She wasn’t there again today;

I wish that she would go away.

Every story has many beginnings, but one of mine happened here. I was thirteen, recovering from a hideously unflattering haircut— about which I was comforted by my father’s logic, "There’s only a week between a bad haircut and a good one" —and had just enjoyed four squares of Cadbury’s milk chocolate in a hapless attempt to console myself for this being the last day of the summer holiday. Well, it wasn’t exactly the very last day before school started, but it was the last day here in Norfolk, with Aunt Rose and Uncle Bob; after this it was all downhill. Our mother was practically salivating at the idea of getting us back to school and ending the six- week bacchanalia. It was time for us to wear uniforms again and be miserably subjugated. We were children for pity’s sake; we weren’t supposed to be running feral, were we?

So here I was, clinging to the last few precious moments of a gilded afternoon, as if my life’s blood drained out. That sun melting behind the distant pines was my will to live, my own strength fading away. Everything was horrible. Nothing would ever be good again.

Like I said, I was thirteen.

Somewhere below, my father pressed the car horn and I determinedly ignored it. He worried about practical things, like traffic and getting home in daylight. If only he could appreciate the sorrowful, drooping beauty of a sunset and not keep looking at his watch. But I despaired. My father, much as I loved him, had no patience for my meandering soul. He lived his life by right and proper, rule and schedule, as dictated by our mother. Sometimes I wondered if I truly was the fruit of their loins, or if I had, as was often suggested, been left on the doorstep by gypsies.

Soon they’d send the Good Daughter to find me, but she wouldn’t dare come up here, where it was damp and—God forbid—slimy. Little brat.

I wanted to stay here forever, to live at Souls Dryft, with Uncle Bob and Aunt Rose. The chimneys of their house were visible from this high vantage point in the crumbling, flint stone tower of the castle ruins and they seemed to reach up to me like the arms of a child. The house wanted me to stay, I was sure. But for now I was merely a sulky teenager and had no choice.

That didn’t mean I couldn’t stage the occasional protest and keep them all waiting. I was a horrible child. Ask anyone. But when you’ve been a child as many times as me it gets rather samey.

Perched half-way up that ancient stone staircase, I thought I was blessedly alone for just a few minutes more. I was not, of course, but I didn’t realize it then. The creature hadn’t yet begun to cause trouble, because she was asleep. Inside me.

            And I— the worst maladroit that ever put one foot before the other—was unknowingly about to wake her.

            Sleepy fingers of sunset fumbled over that mossy old stone ruin and found me there with my scuffed, dog-eared notebook, pen poised at the top of a new page. Here goes.

            The ink moved smoothly, quickly, but it was no longer guided by my hand. It was led by someone else, someone stronger, older, wiser. Someone who wanted to tell me a story. I didn’t know, back then, that she needed something in return, so I let her write:


An introduction to a most lamentable heroine,

whose melancholy lesson is here to be learned,

in a story contrived from select scenes of jiggery pokery

and ending in her comeuppance, most rightfully deserved.


She has no qualities one might expect in a heroine. As you would too, had you so little conscience, she sleeps deeply and contentedly. In peaceful repose, her face reveals nothing of the wickedness within, but for that scar on her chin —  the souvenir of a childhood tumble from some height. Consider, if you will, that ladies in her day and age are not supposed to climb trees, let alone fall out of them.

            While we have this moment and she is suspended in sleep and time, let me tell you something of her in warning. You may decide against making her acquaintance, in which case I shall save you the trouble of reading further.

            Firstly, she has been known to curse like the proverbial sailor on shore leave; secondly, she has no qualms in winning an argument by any method, including, not just her flapping tongue, but her strong teeth. She believes in vengeance as the only salve for the many injustices against her, real or imagined. Her eyes are never softened with tears, for she is a hard-hearted soul, and the only occasion her cheeks are known to blush, is when they have just been rightfully slapped. There are folk who will tell you that she is always found where she is least wanted and never found when needed.

            With these odds against her, she should let some other, more deserving soul take her place in our story. Yet she knows nothing of our expectations in a leading lady. Even if she did, she would be careless of her scant chance at winning our favor and would likely thumb her nose.

So, if you seek any great learning or moral lesson herein, best look elsewhere. I promise nothing more than a tale of one obstinate, wicked woman, about whom —  most folk will tell you —  she has nary a good, honest bone in her body.

But she will soon wake. Rain drums hard at her window and leaks through the rafters above. One drop, oozing through a crack in the old wood, lingers a moment, stretching, and then falls, aimed directly for the tip of her nose. Peace is about to be shattered.


* * * *


            "Hurry up, Grace!" my mother yelled from the car. "What on earth are you doing up there?"

            Leaping down the last few steps of the tower, notebook almost slipping from my fingers and with my heart thumping wildly, I had no breath to answer. Fortunately, "What on earth are you doing?" is something my mother asked out of habit, in the same way that other people cursed or lit up cigarettes when anxious. She didn't really want to know, especially in my case.

            I felt windblown, chewed up and spat out, because, in the time it took the sun to sink finally out of sight behind those tall pines, an entire lifetime had rushed through me and it was still there, like a generator, throbbing deep in my bones. The being that had possessed my pen for those few moments, had taken my body likewise on a journey. But it hadn't lasted long. Not this time.

            Now I was a child again. How did that happen? Oh, the injustice.

            The Good Daughter, Marian, was in the back seat, blowing bubbles with her gum, letting them go "smack". No one told her off, too distracted by my naughtiness, as usual. Let me tell you something about Marian; she was the compensation for me —as in "Thank God we have one daughter we can rely on." And that other cherished nugget, "At least we have one daughter to do us proud." Apparently, by the time I was three, my parents decided they had better try again, despite the fact that neither of them knew what to do with the first child they produced. Marian was a proper baby, one they could all gurgle over. The sense of relief was tangible; even I felt it at her christening, as I sat on the kitchen floor decapitating a doll with a bread knife, listening to all the aunts and uncles dutifully paying homage to the Sainted Child.

Marian did her coat buttons up without being told. She was always picked first for teams. Not that I was jealous. No ten year old should have blinding white socks, is all I’m saying.

            "Just look!" My mother’s voice ripped into the summer evening, scattering wildlife. Even the fat, docile doves took flight from the tower in a sudden panic of disgruntled warbling. "She’s torn her shorts again. I don’t know why I bother trying to make her look decent."

            Marian opened the car door, sliding over so I could jump in. Rick Astley was playing on the radio; "Never Gonna Give You Up." My father’s finger itched for the volume knob, but my mother handed him a sticky square of flapjack, which required both hands to eat – one carefully cradled in anticipation of falling crumbs —  and he ate whatever she gave him, despite the fact that none of us were starving. For the journey home, the car was crammed full of provisions, as if we might be stranded in some desolate place and World War Three break out before we got back.

Primly posed on her side of the seat, Marian exclaimed, "You’re a mess, fuzzy head!"

            "Shut up Princess Pea Brain."

            "Spotty, Spotty, Fatso."  She pinched my arm, whispering, "If you can pinch more than an inch…"

            I pinched her back. "Bag of bones. Stinking, maggoty corpse!"

            "Ow," she screamed. "Mum, tell her!"

            Our mother dutifully craned her head around. "For Heaven’s sake Grace, shut the door. You’re letting flies in. You’ve got chocolate on your face again. Don’t put your muddy feet on the back of my seat."  

            Ah, back to the old routine.

            "Where were you all that time?" Marian demanded, as if she had any right to question a genius.

            "Marian," I assured her calmly and solicitously, "you are a hideous, festering carbuncle on the face of humanity."

            While she was still absorbing the insult, I twisted around to watch Souls Dryft and the ancient tower ruins slowly disappear from the back window. No, I reminded myself – nothing is gone forever. I couldn’t see them now, but they were still there.

            "I won’t tell you again Grace. Stop kicking the back of my seat!"

            Sighing, I flipped open my notebook. With all these distractions sent to try me, I hadn’t got beyond the beginning yet, but I must struggle valiantly onward. The entire literary world eagerly awaited the outpourings of my fevered mind. Surely.

            "And don’t write in the car, Grace, or you’ll make yourself sick." My mother turned the radio down and the music faded away to a whisper.

            Marian blew another bubble, popping it loudly in my face.

            Thus I was absorbed again into my own life, but I thought how fantastic it would be, if I really could be transported to another world, just by running up that old stone staircase. Anywhere else would suit me just fine. Surely Jane Austen and Emily Bronte never put up with such as this.

            One day, I’d return here to write an ending.

            But my past, like a runaway train, was already catching up with me.



Saturday, September 28, 2013


Would you like to win an arc review copy of MISS MOLLY ROBBINS DESIGNS A SEDUCTION? Release date is February 2014 for the fourth and final book in the Sydney Dovedale series. Please leave a comment below and follow my blog for a chance to win. I will be giving away two signed copies (paperback).


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Evernight Publishing Showcase

Hello! I'm back again with another tribute to the authors of historical romance at Evernight Publishing -- the house that gave me my start a few years ago. Hope you enjoy these cameos from some of my good friends! As usual there is a little bit of everything here from spicy to sweet and you can find out more about the historical romances available at

(click on the book covers below to find out more about the particular books in this showcase and read excerpts. Should you find yourself tempted beyond endurance, they are all available for purchase from Evernight, Amazon, Bookstrand, All Romance Ebooks and most other online stores)

* * * *


"I love reading, if I’m honest it’s an addiction, there are some days I read multiple books and when I have to do other stuff like prepare dinner I am secretly counting down the minutes till I can next pick up my e-book. Writing has been a bit of a life saver, certainly for my bank balance as if I’m writing I don’t have as much time to read or spend buying books.

I read lots of different genres, but the one I keep coming back to is the historical. I used to read a lot of thrillers but then I had my son and got squeamish. I studied the classics and sci-fi as part of my degree. Romance makes me feel warm and fuzzy when life’s too busy to do anything but read for a feel good break. The thing about historicals though is they can be so many different things, so I always read them, they can be thrillers, they can be educational, they can be drama, they can be paranormal, and most importantly they can be romance.
Historical romances give me the opportunity to escape to places I’d otherwise never get to go, meet characters I’d never bump into in real life, and let me believe that no matter where on when, love is possible.

My favourite periods are Tudor and Regency, I think because there is this sense of glamour and political intrigue associated with the court and aristocracy that is akin to today’s world of celebrity. The stories from these periods go to places I could never go in real life no matter the time period.
And of course I fell in love with Mr Darcy when I was thirteen and named my dog after him. I think that says it all.

Sometimes I’ve just wished the stories would go that little bit further… like the bedroom… so mine do.  My first regency novella Duty to Love imagines what it would genuinely be like for two brothers to fall in love with the same woman and how/why they might agree to share despite the social conventions of the time. I like to think it’s a believable regency ménage."

A craftily worded contract and fate finds Arthur, Earl of Hentonbury, having to marry not the lady he expected but her younger sister Amelia, the woman he knows his brother James loves and hoped to marry. Arthur cares for both Amelia and James how can he choose between his love for them and his duty? James may be the younger son, but he has taken leave from the Army and will fight for Amelia.

Torn between her feelings for two brothers Amelia wishes to marry Arthur but can't bear to lose James.

Is there any chance the three of them can find happiness together? Will duty or love win out?


Morgan's second regency is a sweet short story, and just a little Pride and Prejudice inspired with the question of will they won’t they hanging over my Lord and Lady who are so different yet ideally suited.
AN UNCONVENTIONAL COURTSHIP - To marry or not to marry- that is the question for Lord Mendton and Lady Eleanor Chatsby.
Lady Eleanor Chatsby has her eye on a man; unfortunately he doesn’t appear to know she exists and is more interested in his hobby of bird watching.
Lord Mendton, curses his inability to communicate well with others, especially when his attention is captured by the most interesting of ladies.
One impetuous act from her and he is struck by the desire to make Lady Eleanor Chatsby his wife. Unfortunately his proposal is unexpected, poorly timed and refused.  He is not deterred and begins a plan of seduction.
Their courtship fast becomes a battle of wills, what can Lord Mendton do to capture his lady’s heart? Will she give him her heart? Will he cede her control of their relationship?


Where to find Morgan and more about her work:

Twitter:  Morgan King @EroticWritings 

* * * *
Alexandra was born in the wild sticks of Eastern Maryland, but moved to the Old Dominion at the tender age of 7. Being the new kid, she was shy, and books were her best friends.
Fast forward several years ... college, marriage, child, divorce, and then strings and strings (and strings) of dating Mr. Wrongs (and a couple of Mr. Rights along the way) all led to putting fingers to keyboard and living vicariously through her characters.

Alex loves to ride roller coasters with her teenaged kiddo, eat sushi, watch lightning storms, dance to obnoxiously loud music (especially when it embarrasses the teenager), bake bread, paint ... when she has time between writing and work, of course.

Now multi-published and a best-selling author, she's still living somewhere in Virginia, probably napping with her fingers on a laptop, lying on a beach somewhere hoping her stories make you smile.

BEING IMPROPER- Born into world as mere chattel, Carrie Scott rebels against the oppression women are dealt in 1897 Philadelphia the only way she knows how—by hiding under layers of black mourning clothes worn for a fiancé she respected but did not love. Freedom from the marriage auction block allowed her the quiet she needed, but the lonely life eventually made her body yearn for more.

Dr. Matthew Gibson was floored to see his best friend’s little sister standing in his office, now the full fledged beauty he had always expected her to become. But the fact she was asking to be treated for “Female Hysteria” made his fingers itch to touch her and claim her as his own.

Neither knew that the one afternoon in his office would change their lives forever.
Where to find Alex and more of her work in several different genres?
* * * *
Marie Medina was born in northern New England and raised by her pale, mysterious godfather in a dark gothic mansion on the edge of her small, sleepy town. He didn’t turn out to be a Bronte hero or a vampire, as she thought when she was very young, but he is her best friend and the standard by which she measures all her heroes (and suitors). She has been writing since the age of eleven and has no intention of stopping anytime soon!
Victoria cannot even muster a smile on her wedding day. Her groom is handsome, titled, and wealthy, and her marriage will save her family from financial ruin, but she is still saddened when she contemplates the long, loveless years ahead of her.
Bastian never intended to marry, but he gives in to his father’s scheme because the more he thinks about the bride, the more he wants to capture her heart. He sweeps her into his arms at the reception, determined to make her smile and laugh, though he only manages to make her blush and stare at him incredulously.
Was he wrong to believe he could turn a marriage of convenience into a love match? Or does another man already hold the heart of his reluctant bride?
Want to find Marie and more about her work in a multiple of genres?


Hope you enjoyed this sampler from Evernight Publishing! Stop by next month for another smidgeon of talented authors.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

EVERNIGHT PUBLISHING Historical Romance Showcase

I'm excited to welcome today two of my fellow historical romance authors with books published by Evernight!  I invited these ladies to stop by and talk a little about their work, so here they are....


For me, the fun of writing historicals is getting to play “What would it be like?” What would it be like to have a talent such as composing or performing but be forbidden to do it because you’re a girl and so it’s Against Society’s Rules? What would it be like to be an all-truth-and-nothing-less man and find yourself falling for someone who spends her days idling in the Social World, telling the “white lies” that Society trades in?

In my story A Note of Scandal, Olivia Delancey is a Regency Uptown Girl, and her surprise beau, Will Marsh, is a tradesman. Worse, he’s the publisher of a newspaper, which back then as today is often considered a scurrilous profession. Each has strengths and weaknesses and a chance to change the game, if they dare. And neither expects the repercussions.

As a writer in these times, I freely express my talent; the idea that I couldn’t (or couldn’t as easily) if I’d been born in the past stuck in my craw. I had to find a way for my Olivia to get some satisfaction, some amount of joy. As a former newspaperwoman, I know that there are many more good journalists than rotten ones, and it sticks in my craw that we good ones get lumped in with the bad. So I made a hero out of one of us.

One thing that surprised me when I wrote it was how funny some scenes turned out to be: both Olivia and Will turned out to have great senses of humor. Bonus!


A NOTE OF SCANDAL - A desperate composer tricks a principled newspaper publisher into printing a false story, and then falls for him. How can she prove that she’s worth a second chance?

Want to read more? A Note of Scandal is available now at:
Amazon | Paperback at Createspace | Audiobook at Amazon/Audible (and via iTunes)

Nicky Penttila writes stories with adventure and love, and often with ideas and history as well. She enjoys coming up with stories that are set in faraway cities and countries, because then she *must* travel there, you know, for research. She lives in Maryland with her reading-mad husband and amazing rescue cat. She’s chattiest on Twitter, @sunshinyday, and can also be found at


My first ten years of reading romance was devouring sexy level mills and boon. Then, about 5 years ago I found one of Sabrina Jeffries’ Regency novels in a second hand book store. Thanks to falling in love with her style, I got on book depository and bought everything she had ever written. Then of course came, Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Karen Hawkins and Stephanie Laurens.

So when I began to write Erotic romance I took my love for Regency with me. I love the setting, the rules, the society. And if you can throw in vampires and a bit of ménage loving, then why not?

Eternal Hearts -
For five hundred years, vampires Nathaniel and Michael have loved each other. But without their third mate, they feel empty and incomplete.
Lady Margaret Tonnington is a recent widow who has finally got some control over her life. The last thing she wants or expects are two male vampires, both claiming to need her. She is shocked by the strength of their passion for each other and wants to be a part of that love.
But Michael and Nathaniel want to bind her to them forever. Margaret is hesitant to change her life and fights to stay human. A compromise will be almost impossible, however it is essential for her vampire mates' lives that she does.
Want to read more?
Eternal Hearts is available at the following online stores -

Thanks for visiting, ladies!

I hope you enjoyed this peek into some of the books Evernight has to offer. The historical section has something in it for everyone - with sub-genres of every sort. For more, check out the shelf of historical romances here -


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Love is in the Air - Blog Hop

Spring is on the way - hopefully! I know for a lot of us, the season of rejuvenation and renewal (and nice weather!) still feels a long way off. To get a little warm-up for the change of seasons, here is an excerpt from LADY MERCY DANFORTHE FLIRTS WITH SCANDAL (Sydney Dovedale book 3) coming to a bookstore or an e-reader near you in June 2013.

I'm looking forward to watching the flowers bloom in my garden and being able to sit outside with my coffee in the morning. What do you look forward to about Spring? Leave a comment below and you could win an arc copy of LADY MERCY DANFORTHE FLIRTS WITH SCANDAL!

Don't forget to check out the other authors participating in this blog hop. Good luck!



There he was, slumped over the table. Panic squeezed around her heart with cold fingers until her searching eyes adjusted to the dim, smoky light and she saw the pewter jug beside his head. Mercy exhaled in relief. Unless he’d cracked himself over the head with it, he was merely drunk. That she could deal with, thanks to experience with her brother. Since no one else was brave enough to beard the beast in his lair, the task was up to her.

She hitched up her skirt and petticoat, climbed onto the brick window ledge, and swung her legs into the room. It was an action no proper chaperon would have condoned, but Mercy could never be kept out of somewhere she intended to be.

The shutters fell back against the wall with a clatter, causing Rafe to jerk upright in his chair as if roused by cannon fire. He swore loudly, holding his hands to his brow, and then she watched his gaze tracking the pale morning light where it cleared a path through the ashen gloom. Stiffly, he turned his head, and a pair of furious, hot blue eyes burned into her, scorching her fine gown.

When he spoke, his voice cracked, and the way he set each word down like a heavy burden was more menacing even than the manner in which his eyes raked over her. "My Lady Bossy-Breeches…what the blazes are you doing here?"

She brushed dirt from her frock and checked that her bonnet remained in place. If she was going to face this man, eye to eye, and deal with the business for which she came, Mercy needed all her parts in order. This was a man who earned money by fighting with his fists, and she knew he had a hot temper. However, she thought with a sudden sly smile, he was her property now, was he not? Rafe Hartley’s boxing contract was in her hands. With this pleasing thought in mind, Mercy ran her wondering gaze over his wide shoulders, down his chest to his narrow hips and thick, hard thighs. Her eyelids grew heavy; her pulse quickened. Her teeth dug into her lower lip, and she forgot—for just a moment—what she’d gone there to do.

"Well?" he barked as he jerked to his feet and the chair fell back to the flagstones with a bang. "You’d better have a damned good reason for coming here, woman."

It did not escape her notice that this was the second time he’d said "damn" in her presence. He not only said it, he relished the word.

Mercy’s gaze fastened on the abused chair. Someone ought to pick that up before it was tripped over, she thought.

"Well?" Rafe demanded.

Back to the business at hand. "I’m here to set you straight, Master Rafe Hartley. Apparently no one else has the courage. Your father thinks you should be left to your own devices until you stop sulking. But I have no time to wait around on your whim. Oh, and I’ll take an apology, too, for those things you said to me in the churchyard. I understand I must make certain allowances for your temper in the heat of that moment, but I would like an apology nonetheless."

"Don’t hold your breath for one, meddlesome harridan."

He stood before her, shoulders braced, fists at his side—a man ready to chase her out. She might as well be ten again and guilty of aiming an egg at the back of his head. Mercy could almost see the yolk dripping down the side of his neck, as it did back then.

Assessing him slowly, inch by inch, Mercy was just as astonished by his height today as she was every time she saw him since he turned fifteen and shot up almost overnight. It never ceased to shock. Rafe Hartley continued stretching north, and his shoulders were, she was certain, wider than some doors.

His eyes were still as blue as cornflowers, his hair as black as a crow’s wing. And that sizeable chip remained on his shoulders, possibly growing in unison with their width.

copyright Jayne Fresina 2013 LadyMercyDanfortheFlirtsWithScandal.

Lady Mercy likes her life neat and tidy. She prides herself on being practical—like her engagement to Viscount Grey, whose dark coloring coordinates very well with her favorite furnishings. But things start to get messy when her best friend abandons her fiance at the altar, leaving it up to Mercy to help the couple. There's just one problem. The jilted man is Rafe Hartley—Mercy's former husband.

Rafe has not forgiven Mercy for deserting him when they were seventeen. Their hasty marriage was declared void by law, but in his eyes the bossy little vixen was still his wife, even if the marriage lasted only a few hours. And Mercy "Silky Drawers" Danforthe still owes him a wedding night.

HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE EXCERPT. Leave a comment below for a chance to win and don't forget to check out the other authors on the blog hop!