The Countess is Free!

LOL – that subject line makes me laugh.

The Countess, book #1 in the Bride Quest II trilogy of Scottish medieval romances, by Claire DelacroixThe digital edition of The Countess, my medieval Scottish romance and book #1 of the Bride Quest II, is free from today through December 1.

Be mineAlso, Book #2 in the trilogy, The Beauty, is discounted to $2.99 for the same period, and the Bride Quest II Boxed Set is half price, at $4.99.

amazonkindle Buy at GooglePlay ibooks kobo nook

The Frost Maiden’s Kiss Audiobook

The Frost Maiden's Kiss audiobookThe audio production of The Frost Maiden’s Kiss goes on sale today. My Scottish medieval romance with paranormal elements is narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, who has narrated all of the Kinfairlie books so beautifully.

Here’s a sample:

You can buy it at Audible, iBooks or Amazon.

November Blog Post at Romance Canadian Style

Double Trouble, book #2 in the Coxwell Series of contemporary romances, by Deborah CookeIt’s that time again! I have a post today at Romance Eh? Canadian Style joint blog – today I’m talking about a Canadian sense of humour. Does one exist?

Come on over and comment for your chance to win a signed trade paperback copy of my romantic comedy Double Trouble.

Here’s the permalink.

Lining A Bag – I

In my ongoing quest to become more organized, I’m trying to finish up a number of abandoned craft projects right now. One of these tasks is lining some knitted and felted bags. They’ve been waiting on me for a while! People seem to be uncertain how to line a bag, so I thought I’d share the process with you.

First up is this tote bag, which was knitted of Noro Hitsuji left over from a sweater, and some black Patons Classic Wool Roving. They’re both bulky yarns, so this was a quick knit. That checkerboard pattern is called “entrelac” and it’s a particularly good way to show off the colour changes in a Noro yarn. I didn’t have a pattern for this, just knit the two sides, then added 2×2 stripes up the side and a black bottom. Then I felted it, and sewed on some black leather handles. You can read my project notes on Ravelry or check out my post here on the blog. This is the bag before it was felted.


Second on the list is this messenger bag, knit following a KnitPicks pattern called Sipalu. They used to sell this as a kit, but used a fine yarn and didn’t felt it. I thought the results looked droopy and not very sturdy, so I bought the pattern on its own, then knitted it out of Patons SWS, which is a soy-wool blend that felts like mad. It’s heavier, an aran weight. Instead of using a number of colours as the kit did, I just used a solid black and the self-striping red as the contrast colour. Then it was felted, too. The button is a lovely porcelain one handmade by a local artisan. You can read my project notes on Ravelry or check out the post here on the blog.

Sipalu bag knitted and felted by Deborah Cooke

Bag number three is a humungous messenger bag, also knit of SWS and felted. It presents some challenges because of it’s size. I thought it would shrink more when it felted, but was wrong. It’s felted as far as it can go and still be useful, but still huge. It got the second of those handmade porcelain buttons – here it is, although it’s waiting on a solution. You’ll see why in a minute. Here are the Ravelry project notes on this one and here’s my blog post about it.

Damask bag knitted and felted by Deborah Cooke

The first thing I like to do with a bag is give the base more structure than just felted wool. I found these cutting boards at Ikea which are perfect. They’re heavy plastic. You can cut them to size with an X-acto or Olfa knife. I cut mine to be the size of the base of the bag, and round the corners a bit. The colours aren’t important because they won’t show. Once the board is cut to size, I secure it to the base of the bag with bag feet. You can buy these from Ghee’s online – probably other places, too – but I also found the ones with the price sticker at my local fabric store.


To do this, work four holes into the board in the right positions with an awl or even the point of one blade of scissors. Put the board inside the bag, in position. With one hand on the outside and one on the inside, match up the pins on the foot with the hole and push it through the bag and the board. (The first one can be tricky. Sometimes I have to push a pin through the board from the inside to know where to aim.) Once the pins of the foot are on the inside, you spread them wide to secure the foot in place. Once all four are done, the board isn’t going anywhere.


Those spikes might snag on things inside the bag, but I’m going to line the bag anyway. The bag’s interior will be protected!

Outside:HitsujiOutsideIt looks as if the plastic base is much wider than the bottom of the bag in this shot, but it’s partly the bulk of the felted wool and partly how I folded it for the photograph. There’s always a little bit of play, because a knitted wool square won’t felt to be perfectly square.

These feet are a bit small, I think, especially for the Noro tote. If the bag was going to sit on the ground a lot – like this one, which is really a suitcase – I’d use bigger ones.

Outside on #2:SipaluOutside

This bag is narrower, so I couldn’t fold it like the one above. It is much more sturdy this way, though. The Sipalu bag also has another structural element. I had knit edges in solid red in reverse stockinette, thinking they’d roll, and they did. It was still a bit squishy. Before the felting, I sewed cord into those welts and stitched them closed, which made them into piping. Because the cord is cotton, I knew it would also shrink but at a different rate than the wool. I left the cord long and just knotted the ends. Once the bag was felted, I tugged the cords to be smooth along the edges, then trimmed and secured them. Here’s how they look inside. You won’t see any of this once it’s lined.


The issue with the thistle bag is that the base is longer than the Ikea cutting boards – a lot longer! I’ll probably use 6 feet on it and maybe bigger ones, but first I need to find a good base.

Next week, cutting and assembling the lining.

The True Love Brides Boxed Set

The True Love Brides Boxed Set of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixThis digital bundle includes all four full-length medieval Scottish romances with paranormal elements in the True Love Brides Series. In this boxed set are The Renegade’s Heart, The Highlander’s Curse, The Frost Maiden’s Kiss and The Warrior’s Prize.

It’s available only from iBooks and Kobo at a special price, and can be pre-ordered for February 16, 2016.

Am Reading

I’ve been reading a lot of books lately, and seem to have run into a batch featuring lawyers. Not sure why it happened that way – I really do buy books based on their covers, seldom read the copy or blurb, and when I’m on a binge like this, I buy only authors who are new to me. It’s a discovery thing.

This round, I’ve found some real duds. (Too bad they had great covers.) I’ve found a couple that just weren’t for me – mixing real violence with the sex will do that, every time. I just don’t believe that men who treat women with violence during intimacy can ever be redeemed. Call me a skeptic.

I read one that had terrific dialogue, very very funny, and a flawed protagonist. I chewed through it in one night, but in the end, meh. Every character was self-absorbed and interested only in his or her own goals. They weren’t people I wanted to know. They weren’t sympathetic. And that made them completely forgettable.

And then there is this gem: Sustained by Emma Chase. Jake talks tough and he is tough, but he’s also a big ol’ marshmallow. Watching him be melted down by Chelsea and her brood of nephews and nieces is a treat. The writing is crisp, Jake’s voice is crystal clear, and the pacing is exactly right. One of the best romances I’ve read in a long time. Don’t miss it. :-)

Sustained on Amazon and iBooks.