Waiting for Rain Shawl

This week, I finished knitting a shawl. These are unusual colours for me, but I really like the result.

The pattern is called Waiting for Rain (that’s a Ravelry link) and it features lace inserts in a garter stitch crescent-shaped shawl. The construction is really interesting, plus it’s easy to play with the colours and the design.

I knit mine in Madeline Tosh Dandelion, which has 10% flax. It’s interesting because the different fibers take the color in different ways. I used two skeins of Chickory and one of Whiskey Barrel. I decided to do the lace inserts in Whiskey Barrel, as well as some extra stripes and the bind-off. This yarn is discontinued so it’s gone from the MadTosh website, but here’s a Ravelry link.

This meant that I had too much yarn – the pattern calls for 700 to 800 yds, and I had over 900 – but I wanted to use it up. The pattern has three lace inserts. Once I’d followed the directions, I continued in a similar way and added two more lace inserts, then knit in garter stitch until the Chickory was gone. I liked the yarn. It’s smooth and cool, and I like the colour gradations in each colourway. There were long fibres, presumably of flax, and it was tempting to tug them out but I knitted them in. The pattern was well-written and clear. I bought the collection and will knit another shawl from it.

Here’s a detail shot, showing off the yarn:

Waiting for Rain shawl, knit by Deborah Cooke in Madeline Tosh Dandelion

There are stripes in the Whiskey Barrel, but the Chickory has some of the same greyed brown tone in it so it’s hard to tell which yarn is where. I like that! If you’re curious though, all the garter stitch below the lowest lace insert is in Chickory, then the bind-off is in Whiskey Barrel. You can just barely see it. Also, the garter stitch is all Chicory down to the first lace insert. (The shawl is knit from the top of the picture.)

My only disappointment is that I wasn’t sure how much Whiskey Barrel to leave for the cast-off, and I left too much. 😦 That means leftovers for the stash, about 8g. It turns out that I could have knit a couple of rows of garter stitch in the contrasting colour before casting off, but that’s how it is and that’s how it will stay. There’s no need to frog back a 500 stitch cast-off!

Here’s the complete shawl:

Waiting for Rain shawl, knit by Deborah Cooke in Madeline Tosh Dandelion

I was debating whether to block this shawl. I don’t usually block garter stitch shawls because I like the squishy texture they have right off the needles. It’ll get bigger if it’s blocked, though, and I was thinking it’s just a nice size. While taking the pictures, though, I can see that the ripple on the increasing edge is too much. I’ll give it a good block it this weekend.

What do you think?

Kinfairlie Knights and Highland Heroes

These two boxed sets will be available only until July 1, 2017. If you don’t have your copy, this is last call!

Kinfairlie Knights, a digital bundle of three medieval Scottish romances, all first in a series, by Claire DelacroixKinfairlie Knights
First Book in Each Medieval Scottish Series

Updated for 2016!

Welcome to Kinfairlie and Ravensmuir!

Claire Delacroix’s fictional medieval Scottish estate of Kinfairlie and its sister holding of Ravensmuir are the location for many of her bestselling medieval romances. Included in this digital bundle are three first-in-series medieval Scottish romances: The Rogue, The Beauty Bride, and The Renegade’s Heart.

In The Roguebook #1 of the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy—Ysabella’s estranged husband returns to beg for her help. Does she dare to trust Merlyn again, knowing that he stirs her passion as easily as he hides his truth? In The Beauty Bride—book #1 of the Jewels of Kinfairlie series—Madelyn flees her arranged marriage to a notorious outlaw, only to be pursued, wooed and seduced by Rhys FitzHenry. Can she save him from the legacy of his own past? In The Renegade’s Heart—book #1 of the True Love Brides series—Isabella is intrigued by the bold knight who makes accusations against her own brother. When she follows Murdoch to discover the truth, she finds herself enraptured by his touch and determined to defend his cause. Can her love save Murdoch from his curse and see justice served, too?

Come to Kinfairlie, for adventure and romance, passion and pageantry, and loves that will endure for all time.

Kinfairlie Knights will be available until July 1, 2017.Kinfairlie Knights, a digital collection of three medieval Scottish first-in-series romances by Claire Delacroix

Buy EPUB e-book from Deborah Buy MOBI e-book from Deborah Buy at iBooks Buy at Amazon.com Buy at Barnes&Noble Buy at Kobo Buy at Amazon.ca Buy at Amazon.co.uk Buy at Amazon.de

 

Highland Heroes 2016 edition, a boxed set of three medieval Scottish romances by Claire DelacroixBe swept away by the romance and enchantment of the Scottish Highlands!

Three complete medieval Scottish romances from New York Times’ Bestselling Author Claire Delacroix. In The Beauty, part of Claire’s Bride Quest II trilogy, a maiden pledged to the convent heals the heart of a crusading knight returned home to find his legacy stolen. In The Rose Red Bride, part of Claire’s Jewels of Kinfairlie trilogy, a damsel seeking adventure and romance is abducted, but only she can see the valor her captor would hide from the world. In The Warrior, part of Claire’s Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy, a daughter considered undesirable is chosen by a dangerous knight of dark repute to be his bride, only to be haunted by dreams of their shared past.

Three wounded champions, each more honorable than he believes, each destined to be healed by a lady who steals his shielded heart.

#1 Kindle Bestselling Title in Medieval Romance – TWICE

Highland Heroes will be available just until July 1, 2017.

Buy at these portals:
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The Damsel Pre-Order

The pre-order for the 2017 edition of The Damsel is live at Amazon, iBooks, Nook and Kobo!

The Damsel, book #2 of the Bride Quest series of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixOnce upon a time, the legendary knight Burke Fitzgavin galloped into Kiltorren Castle and fell in love with Alys, the lord’s orphaned niece. But her uncle was determined that Burke marry one of his homely daughters instead. Through tricks and lies, Burke was sent away believing that Alys wanted nothing of his heart.

Pledged to a Bride Quest, Burke has vowed not to return home until he finds his long-lost love. He returns to Kiltorren to discover that the fiery young innocent has become a woman, a servant on her uncle’s estate. Paying penance for Burke’s long-ago embrace, she wants nothing to do with him. Burke knows he must earn her trust again.

Even as he slowly rekindles her desire, Alys’ family attempts to thwart their romance—determined that Alys should not marry before her cousins do. But Burke is a warrior and this battle to win the hand and the heart of his one true love will be his greatest challenge ever…

“A gem of a book!”
Rendezvous

USA Today Bestseller

 

New edition available September 14, 2017

Pre-order available at these portals:
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In the Midnight Hour Cover

Book #3 of Flatiron Five is coming in January and it’s Damon’s book.

In the Midnight Hour, book #3 of the Flatiron Five series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeDamon has a secret…
Every Friday night, the F5 partner who is the quiet powerhouse leaves on the dot of five. Where does he go? What does he do? His partners want to know, but Damon can’t bring himself to share the truth about his mom’s descent into dementia. She’s the only family he’s ever known, the anchor in his life, and he can’t imagine how he’ll go on without her. In the middle of the night, when he’s most alone, he wants to control all the variables for someone, to prove he’s not completely powerless. He doesn’t expect to find such a willing, or seductive, volunteer.

Haley loves solving mysteries…
Especially ones like the gorgeous guy who visits her favorite patient every Friday night. He must be Natasha’s son, but is he also the model on the billboard for that fitness club downtown? Where did he learn therapeutic massage? Even though she’s a nurse, Haley’s interest in his skill isn’t just professional. She wants to feel those hands on her own skin, for as long as possible. Late one night, she takes a chance and asks for a lesson from him, only to learn that she has a hunger for the sensation only Damon can give.

Coming January 25, 2018

Available for pre-order:

Buy at iBooks

The Coxwells on the Charts!

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah CookeThis week, the Coxwells Boxed Set is on sale for just 99 cents, and yesterday, I had a BookBub ad to promote the sale. It went pretty well, so I wanted to share the results with you.

On Amazon.com, the bundle rocked its way up to #25 overall in the Kindle store, but I didn’t take a screen shot of that. 😦 This morning, it’s sitting at #27 overall, though its category ratings are the same.

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah Cooke #27 overall paid in the Kindle store June 15, 2017

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah Cooke #27 overall paid in the Kindle store June 15, 2017

That’s pretty exciting as it’s for the total Kindle store!

The categories are exciting too. As you see above, the bundle is #4 in Romantic Comedy:

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah Cooke #4 paid in Romantic Comedy in the Kindle store June 15, 2017

And #4 in Women’s Sagas:
The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah Cooke #4 paid in Women's Sagas in the Kindle store June 15, 2017

It’s also #5 in Romance Fiction:

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah Cooke #5 paid in women's romance fiction in the Kindle store June 15, 2017

And it’s #7 in Contemporary Romance:

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah Cooke at #7 in contempporary romance at Amazon.com on June 15, 2017

At Amazon.ca, the bundle is also doing well—#10 overall, #2 in Contemporary Women, and #3 in Contemporary romance:

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah Cooke at #10 overall in the Amazon.ca store

Phew! What a great showing!
At Barnes & Noble, The Coxwells are #10 overall in the Nook store:

The Coxwells Boxed Set at #10 overall paid at Nook on June 15, 2017

It’s #1 in Romance:
The Coxwells Boxed Set at #1 in romance in the Nook store on June 15, 2017

And #1 in Contemporary Romances, too:
The Coxwells Boxed Set at #1 in contemporary romance in the Nook store on June 15, 2017

At Kobo, the news is also good. The Coxwells are also high on the charts. (I’m not sure what’s up with those reviews. Two people left only ratings. I’m guessing they had trouble with the big book file on their device, but wish they’d said as much.)

The Coxwells Boxed Set at Kobo on June 15, 2017

#3 in Contemporary Romance:

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah Cooke at #3 in contemporary romance at Kobo on June 15, 2017

#1 in Humorous Fiction:

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah Cooke at #1 in Humorous Fiction at Kobo on June 15, 2017

And #4 in Romance overall:

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah Cooke at #4 in Romance at Kobo on June 15, 2017

And finally, on to iBooks, which is a very happy place for the Coxwells this morning. My bundle is the #1 bestseller in the iBooks store this morning:

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah Cooke, #1 paid title at iBooks on June 15, 2017

It’s also #1 in Romance:

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah Cooke, #1 bestseller in Romance at iBooks on June 15, 2017

 

Wow, what a ride! Thanks to everyone who picked up a copy of the bundle yesterday. It’s still on sale and will remain so until Sunday, so make sure to grab a copy before the price goes back up.

Buy at iBooks Buy at Amazon.com Buy at Barnes&Noble Buy at GooglePlay Buy at Kobo Buy at Amazon.ca Buy at Amazon.co.uk Buy at Amazon.de

The Countess New Edition

The new edition of The Countess is available!

Remember that I’ve renumbered the Bride Quest books so that they’re all in one series. Instead of The Countess being book #1 of the Bride Quest II, it’s now book #4 of the Bride Quest. If you bought the book before, you should be able to download the new edition as an update at your portal of choice.

I’m working with a new proofreader on these books and she’s doing a great job. We’re working around our vacation schedules this month. The Beauty and The Temptress are in the works. I’m hoping to publish those new editions by the end of the month, just FYI.

And now, Eglantine and Duncan. There’s an excerpt on the book page if you want to take a peek.

The Countess, book #4 of the Bride Quest series of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixDriven from her late husband’s estate, Countess Eglantine de Crevy fled to wildest Scotland to claim a castle, only to find a ruin — and a clan chieftain standing guard. Kinbeath was hers, she declared, vowing to rebuild the manor and launch a bride quest so her daughters could marry for love. But Duncan MacLaren had devised a bride quest of his own, swearing to win the land — and the fiery countess — in a war of sweet seduction…

Eglantine declared she would never be captured by this barbarian. Yet Duncan awakened passions she had never known before. She promised to fight him with every weapon at her command even as he vowed to woo her for a year and a day — and make her his pagan bride.

Each thought Kinbeath the prize the most desired, a prize to be won at any price. Until passion turned to love, and the chieftain found himself fighting for the heart and hand of the woman he was born to possess.

“Master storyteller Claire Delacroix has done it again with this marvelous medieval romance. The Countess is a keeper!”
Old Book Barn Gazette

 

Buy The Countess now!
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The Coxwell Series Boxed Set is 99 cents!

This week and this week only, the Coxwell Series boxed set is on sale for just 99 cents!

Do you have your copy yet?

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah CookeBuy The Coxwell Series Boxed Set NowThis digital boxed set includes all four books in The Coxwell Series. Three brothers and a sister find themselves on the adventure to romance and happily-ever-after in this bestselling series of contemporary romances and romantic comedies by Deborah Cooke.

When Philippa’s high school crush turns up on her doorstep, she knows better than to trust the bad boy who broke her heart. Nick proves that he’s determined to fix his past mistakes in Third Time Lucky – does Philippa dare to give him another chance?

In Double Trouble, self-reliant Maralys breaks her own rules to help out her twin sister’s husband and kids when her sister walks out forever. If it’s because she has a soft spot for James—or unfinished business with him—she’s not going to admit it. But James is better at understanding Maralys than she realizes, and he soon realizes that their second chance at love is their best shot at happiness.

In One More Time, Matt walks out of his marriage to Leslie, his mother-in-law unexpectedly moves in while he visits an old girlfriend, their teenage daughter shows even more attitude and a pair of resident poodles add mayhem to Leslie’s quest for the magic that once made their marriage work. Can they find the balance again?

In All or Nothing, bad boy Zach meets a cute waitress who isn’t easily charmed and (even)  turns him down. A cancer survivor, Jen knows better than to get involved with guys who will only disappear when it matters. When her mother decides to play matchmaker, though, Jen decides that Zach would make a great fake date, only to discover that he has a lot more to offer than a good time.

The boxed set includes Third Time Lucky, Double Trouble, One More Time, All or Nothing and also an excerpt from my upcoming contemporary romance, Simply Irresistible.

Buy The Coxwell Series Boxed Set Now!

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When Worlds Collide

The Princess, book #1 of the Bride Quest series of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixI’m in the midst of an intriguing exercise. Maybe you’ll find it interesting, too.

When I wrote for traditional publishers, they each wanted their own series. They didn’t want to market a series of books that was connected to a series published by another publisher. So, each time I changed publishing houses, I created a new fictional world.

For example, my Bride Quest series at Dell was set in a 12th century medieval world, with fictional estates at Tullymullagh (Ireland), Llanvelyn (Wales), and Montvieux (France). The characters moved between these locations, which were based on (or inspired by) real places. I have maps in my files of the castle layouts and interiors, as well as their locations.

The Countess, book #4 of the Bride Quest series of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixIn the Bride Quest II series, I added Ceinn-beithe (Scotland), Airdfinnan (Scotland), and Crevy-sur-Seine (France) as well as the convent at Inveresbeinn (Scotland). While the Bride Quest I featured three brothers, the Bride Quest II featured a widow and her two daughters.

The obvious progression from this point would have been the Bride Quest III, featuring the sons from the first series and maybe the new daughter from the second series. I actually wrote that proposal, but I moved to Warner and they wanted a new fictional world of their own so it went into the files.

The Rogue, book #1 of the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy of medieval Scottish romances by Claire DelacroixWarner published the Rogues of Ravensmuir. I created Ravensmuir and Kinfairlie for The Rogue, then Inverfyre for The Scoundrel and The Warrior. This world is set in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. Gawain added a house in Sicily to the fictional realm, too. We had three keeps and a southern house by the time the trilogy was done.

The Beauty Bride, first book in the Jewels of Kinfairlie series of medieval Scottish romances by Claire DelacroixNext and still with Warner, I moved down a generation and wrote the Jewels of Kinfairlie series in the same world. While Ravensmuir and Kinfairlie are on the east of Scotland, south of the Firth, there were other realms added beyond that area. We visited Rhys’ holding of Caerwyn (Wales) in The Beauty Bride, Erik’s holding of Blackleith to the north (Scotland) in The Rose Red Bride, the site of Eleanor’s previous marriage, Tivotdale (Scotland) in The Snow White Bride, as well as Rosamunde’s pirate ship.

The Renegade's Heart, book #1 of the True Love Brides Series of Scottish medieval romances, by Claire DelacroixThe True Love Brides continues in this same world and adds other holdings to the world of Kinfarlie and Ravensmuir—these include Seton Hall, which is near the Trossachs in Scotland, where Murdoch was born, the monastery of Kilgarrow (Scotland) where Murdoch’s brother chooses to retire, also in The Renegade’s Heart, and Killairig (Scotland), the stolen legacy of Garrett in The Highlander’s Curse, as well as Rafael’s unnamed possessions in Spain at the end of The Warrior’s Prize.

The Brides of Inverfyre series will be set more in the Highlands and Islands, so there will be additions to the world in that area. Inverfyre has kind of a spooky history, which I’m looking forward to revisiting.

The Crusader's Bride, a medieval romance by Claire DelacroixFor the Champions of St. Euphemia, I stepped away from the world of Kinfairlie, Ravensmuir and Inverfyre to create another 12th-century fictional universe. The holdings in this world are Châmont-sur-Maine (France), Valeroy (France) both in The Crusader’s Bride, Altesburg (Germany) in The Crusader’s Heart, Haynesdale (England) in The Crusader’s Kiss, Killairic (Scotland) in The Crusader’s Vow and Morcreig (Scotland) in The Crusader’s Handfast, as well as the abbey to which  Gaston’s mother Eudaline retired in France.

Something Wicked This Way Comes, a Regency romance novella by Claire Delacroix and #1 of the Brides of North BarrowsSo, I have three medieval worlds which exist independently of each other. I also have the beginning of another world with Something Wicked This Way Comes, which is set in Regency England in 1811 and is the first of the Brides of North Barrows trilogy of Regency romances. Castle Keyvnor in Cornwall is in that world, as is North Barrows and Brisbane’s Emporium in London.

Right now, I’m working on the second novella in the Brides of North Barrows trilogy (which will be included in the anthology Charmed at Christmas, part of the Christmas at Castle Keyvnor collection) and I needed the hero to be from somewhere. I also am in the midst of editing the files for the Bride Quest for republication. That’s when I realized it was time to connect these worlds and make them a single fictional universe. Alexander, the hero of my upcoming Regency romance in the Brides of North Barrows series is from Airdfinnan, the holding regained by Angus in The Beauty. Ha. Things will have changed a bit in seven hundred years, but I like the idea of continuity.

This exercise also raises new questions. Are Killairic and Killairig connected? They have a similar location on the west coast of Scotland and it’s plausible that the name might have changed slightly in several hundred years. If so, how do their stories connect? Does the prize of St. Euphemia remain hidden forever at Morcreig? Or will a  character in a later era discover it? How and why? What about those abandoned proposals for the “next obvious books” in any given series? I’m digging them out again. Will my earlier books be the source of legends and stories told in my later books? I remember now that I had originally planned to tell the story of the maiden who disappeared through the window at Kinfairlie into the realm of the Fae. My publisher didn’t like the idea but I still do.

Mr. Math has ordered me some maps to mount on the wall of my office so I can locate the holdings and consider ways to connect them. My imagination is exploding a little bit right now, as there are so many options and possibilities. Family trees are going to get bigger. It also means that I’ll probably need another companion volume and guide to my medieval books. I have a number of map-creation sites bookmarked on my browser and might need to create my own medieval map, as well as share layouts of keeps and towns. Hmm. This means there’s a lot more to add to the calendar, but it’s so much fun!

Quiet in the Office

Notice how quiet it is around here this week? That’s because I’m in the middle of several nitpickity jobs.

I’m weeding and mulching my garden – when it’s not raining.

The Princess, book #1 of the Bride Quest series of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixAnd I’m preparing the book files for the republication of the Bride Quest. This is the first time I’ve worked with scanned book files and it’s been an interesting process. I had the books scanned, which means that a single copy of each book was torn apart and put through an OCR scanner to generate a Word document (and a PDF, too, but I’m not using that.) The thing is that the scanner tries to recognize characters, but it’s not smart at all. It doesn’t look at context or grammar or anything beyond trying to identify each character. As a result, you end up with a file that’s mostly right but has some characteristic quirks.

I’m developing a system. 🙂 The scanner interprets the end of each printed book page as a section break in Word, and those section breaks have to be taken out. Page breaks at the end of each chapter have to be added in. Scene breaks are odd little interpretations of the dingbat used by the publisher, and can vary each time. The same is true of the drop caps at the beginning of each chapter. All of that gets addressed in my first pass through the book.

The Countess, book #4 of the Bride Quest series of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixThen there are the misinterpretations. For example, the scanner might perceive rn as m. Fortunately, Word has a seach and replace utility, and I have a growing list of words that get mucked up. Burn might appear as Bum; ruin might appear as min; corner as comer. It might decide that I is 1, that an m is a w (we instead of me) or present a double quote (“) as two single quotes separated by a space (‘ ‘). We won’t even talk about what happens with italics. Each time I think I’ve found everything, I find something else to add to the list. Spellcheck has helped to find some things, Grammarly has helped with others, and I’m sure the proofreader will find some more.

I think it’s saving time over retyping the books completely but at the end of each day, I do wonder.

Two down, four to go.

What are you doing this week?