SPRT Free Romance Cross Promotion

SPRT September Free Book Promotion
The SPRT Free Romance Cross Promotion is back! Today through September 30, you can download free digital romance novels in a wide variety of sub-genres, and have a chance to win a new Kindle Fire or Amazon gift cards. The first time I participated in this promotion was in June, and this time, it features different books.

Double Trouble, book #2 in the Coxwell Series of contemporary romances, by Deborah CookeYou can grab a copy of Double Trouble, my contemporary romance and romantic comedy, as part of the promotion this month. Maralys and James’ story is the second book in my Coxwell Series, but all four of these books are standalone novels. You don’t have to read them in order.

Double Trouble is free at Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo and GooglePlay.

Visit the SPRT landing page for your chance to win, and to pick up some more free reads. I hope you find a new favorite author. Happy reading!

New Covers for My Rogues

And yes, there are still MORE new covers to show you!

The Rogues of Ravensmuir series originally had “candy box” covers. This means they had no people on them: candy box covers have flowers or ribbons instead of people. The covers for this series were done by Alan Ayers and intended to evoke the style of the original Bride Quest covers, which he also designed. The difference was that the Bride Quest titles had step-back covers (well, the first five of them did) with the candy box on the outside and an image of the couple on the next page. This is kind of the best of both worlds—each reader gets the kind of cover image he/she prefers—but makes for an expensive book in production. It has two covers, and the second one (the step-back) has to be tipped into the finished book by hand. Step-back covers are also more inclined to be damaged in distribution, so they have a higher waste rate even when returned to the publisher for credit.

Here are Warner’s original covers for the mass market editions of The Rogue, The Scoundrel, and The Warrior:

The Rogue, book #1 of the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy of Scottish medieval romances by Claire Delacroix, out of print mass market edition The Scoundrel, book #2 of the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy of Scottish medieval romances by Claire Delacroix, out of print mass market edition The Warrior, book #3 in the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy of Scottish medieval romances by Claire Delacroix, out of print mass market edition

When the rights to publish the books reverted to me, I wanted to have the heroes on the covers. I “met” Eithne O’Hanlon, a very talented illustrator, on Facebook and she offered to work on cover illustrations for me. This is when I learned that illustrators who create cover images for publishing houses don’t create the type. These are the covers that Eithne created for the books:

The Rogue, book #1 of the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy of Scottish medieval romances by Claire Delacroix, out of print first trade paperback edition The Scoundrel, book #2 of the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy of Scottish medieval romances by Claire Delacroix, out of print first trade paperback edition The Warrior, book #3 in the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy of Scottish medieval romances by Claire Delacroix, out of print first trade paperback edition

I LOVED these images, but wasn’t as happy with the type. Hmm. I had a talk with Kim Killion, who has a wonderful talent for type, and she expressed concern about the amount of space left for the type. After attending a conference and hearing about the selling power of man-chest, I decided to redo these covers. This is the next generation of covers for this series, created by Kim Killion:

The Rogue, book #1 of the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy of Scottish medieval romances by Claire Delacroix The Scoundrel, book #2 in the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy of Scottish medieval romances by Claire Delacroix The Warrior, book #3 in the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy of Scottich medieval romances, by Claire Delacroix

By this point in time, Kim had created some lovely branding for Claire’s name, which is used consistently across the list. I loved the type on these and was happy with these covers. The magic selling power of man-chest didn’t happen for these books, though, and I think it’s because they’re not that sexy. Readers wanting a sexy read might not like the suspenseful Gothic medieval romance they get and readers wanting a suspenseful Gothic medieval romance wouldn’t expect it from these covers. So, we tweaked to make the covers better convey the books. Here are the new covers:

The Rogue, book #1 of the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix The Scoundrel, book #2 of the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix The Warrior, book #3 of the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix

This also means that there are MORE print books in the sale bin in my online store.

What do you think?

 

Reviews for the Dragons of Incendium

On Friday, Sandy at the Reading Cafe posted reviews for Nero’s Dream and Wyvern’s Prince. What a wonderful way to start the weekend. Here are some of the good bits!

Nero's Dream, #1.5 in the Dragons of Incendium series by Deborah Cooke“NERO’S DREAM is a short story that runs parallel to the events of book one-Wyvern’s Mate-revealing some of the background information not previously explored in the story. I recommend reading the series in order as each subsequent novella and short story builds upon the events of the previous book or runs parallel to the current time line.

Deborah Cooke’s world building is colorful as the author pulls the reader into the fantastic; the imaginative journey between planets borders on the sci-fi; the romance is sweet and fated. We learn a little bit more about the politics of Incendium, the power of a dragon when spurned by a potential mate.”

Learn more about Nero’s Dream.

Wyvern's Prince, #2 in the Dragons of Incendium series of paranormal romances by Deborah Cooke“WYVERN’S PRINCE is a fairytale-esque story line with dragons and magic, building love, an evil queen who is not above destroying her family to get what she wants, and a little bit of science fiction added for some interesting color. The premise is imaginative and enchanting; the characters are dynamic and colorful; the romance is passionate and fated. WYVERN’S PRINCE is a well written, energetic and engaging story that sees another Princess find her Heartkeeper and her mate.”

Learn more about Wyvern’s Prince.

You can read both reviews in their entirety on the Reading Cafe site.

Bent Needles

Several weeks ago, I mentioned that I’d had to get a new set of DPN’s because I’d bent my needles. I promised to show you how that had happened. Today’s the day.

I bent my steel knitting needles by knitting with wire. I was knitting this:

Bead Soup necklace knitted by Deborah Cooke

This necklace is a kit from Earthfaire, which includes both the materials and the pattern. It’s called the Moonrise necklace, and I ordered my beads in the Moonrise on Neptune colourway. It comes with silk thread but I thought it would be cool to use silver-plated wire instead. I also changed out the clasp and used a sterling one instead, since I was spending so much time on the project. The result is wonderful and I like it a lot, but it took a long time to knit this. I had to keep putting it aside to let my fingers heal! Knitting with wire isn’t for wimps, especially when you use teeny needles (2.5mm) like I did. I think that the result was worth a few sore fingertips and even the bending of a couple of DPN’s.

I still have the bracelet on those bent needles and will have enough beads left to make matching earrings.

What do you think?

New Covers for My Angels

The Prometheus Project has new covers, which actually are new versions of their original covers.

Yes, that makes sense. Read it again.🙂

Here’s what happened. When Fallen, Guardian, and Rebel were originally published, TOR commissioned cover illustrations from artist Larry Rostant. I loved these images and the resulting covers. Here they are:

Fallen, book #1 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Claire Delacroix, out of print mass market edition Guardian, book #2 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Claire Delacroix, out of print mass market edition Rebel, book #3 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Claire Delacroix, out of print mass market edition

When the right to publish the books reverted to me, I tried to contact Larry to find out if I could license the illustrations for the new images. I didn’t have any luck finding him, though. (My message probably went to spam.) So, I had Kim Killion design new covers with stock photographs. I decided to try something different and focus on the heroines for the covers—a strong tradition in urban fantasy romance—and these are the covers:

Fallen, an urban fantasy romance by Claire Delacroix Guardian, an urban fantasy romance by Claire Delacroix Rebel, an urban fantasy romance by Claire Delacroix

There also were two additional covers, one for Tupperman’s store, Abyss, and one for the digital bundle of the entire series:

Abyss, an urban fantasy romance by Claire Delacroix The Prometheus Project Boxed Set of urban fantasy romances by Claire Delacroix

Fast forward to last spring. I saw a beautiful cover illustration on Pinterest, pinned by Larry Rostant. It was one of his newer works, and just beautiful. I tried to contact him again, and this time, it worked! I licensed the three images for my editions of the first three books. I hired Frauke Spanuth to create the covers (the illustrations have no type on them) and asked if she could possibly come up with something similar for Tupperman’s book, Abyss. Well. She knocked it out of the park, as far as I’m concerned.

I also took this opportunity to change the author name on the books. Although TOR wanted to publish the series as Claire Delacroix books, and I thought at the time that Claire might focus on urban fantasy from that point onward, it hasn’t worked out that way. Claire is writing and publishing medieval romance, so these books look out of place on her list. Deborah, though, is writing a lot of paranormal romance. Urban fantasy romance isn’t quite the same, but it makes more sense for the angels to be with the dragons than with the knights.

Here are the new covers for my fallen angel books:

Fallen, #1 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Deborah Cooke Guardian, #2 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Deborah Cooke Rebel, #3 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Deborah Cooke Abyss, #4 of the Prometheus Project of urban fantasy romances by Deborah Cooke

The book pages here on the website have moved to the list of Deborah Cooke books, too.

Expect the new editions to be available in your bookstore of choice in October. I’m not changing the ISBN#’s, but am just uploading these as new editions. (All the books already listed both Deborah and Claire as authors in their metadata.) You should be able to download the new editions if you’ve bought the earlier ones. And yes, that means more print books in the sale bin at my online store.

What do you think of the new covers?

On Resonance

Spellbound, a Regency romance anthology by Claire Delacroix, Jane Charles and Claudia DainHave you ever struck a crystal glass and heard it chime? That resonance lets you know that the glass was well-made. A book has a resonance, too, if it’s well-crafted. Over the years, I’ve developed an inner ear for my own books and their resonance. I don’t always know what’s missing from a work-in-progress, but when it’s right, I have no doubt of it. I can hear its resonance and know the book is done. Once upon a time, I never delivered a book to an editor until it had that resonance—now, I don’t publish one without it.

There are a lot of variables that influence the resonance of a book. The characters need to be fully dimensional and the story has to have a crisp pace. It goes deeper than that, though. Since I write romance, each book has two protagonists—each one has to have inner and outer conflicts, and best of all, each one has to help the other along his or her character arc. They have to become partners and be good for each other in order for their romance to be compelling, in my opinion. All the loose ends have to be resolved, and the bad guys have to get their due. When all of this is done and I review the story and its telling, I can ‘hear’ its resonance. *ping*

Wyvern's Prince, #2 in the Dragons of Incendium series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeThere are also factors that challenge resonance. A book that contains too many elements can be difficult to build into coherence, let alone resonance. A book that is a step onto a new path for the author can fight its resonance. For me, though, the biggest factor influencing resonance is my own health and welfare. If I’m sick with a cold, I don’t write well. If you took Psych 101, you’ll remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (You can read the Wiki on it right here.) According to this theory by Abraham Maslow, human capabilities are made possible in a hierarchy by the satisfaction of needs. For example, the base of his pyramid of needs is Physiological—if you’re hungry, cold, and/or naked in the dark, you’ll be focused on solving those issues to the exclusion of all others. Once your basic survival is assured, you begin to concern yourself with Safety. After you’re safe and fed and sheltered, you become concerned with love and social connections, and so the pyramid builds higher. Creative processes are in the very top bit of the pyramid, as part of Self-Actualization. Essentially, artists function best when all other needs are covered. Maybe that makes creativity a luxury in this theory. We could debate that, but I’d agree that if any of those lower levels of the pyramid are in jeopardy, then creativity is challenged. Resonance, at least for me, becomes harder to achieve.

The Crusader's Handfast, #5 in the Champions of Saint Euphemia series of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixA good example of this is that I’m seldom very creative in the summer. This used to frustrate some of my New York editions, but it’s a matter of physiology. When it becomes very hot in my little corner of the world, it also becomes humid and there’s an increased chance of thunderstorms. Thunderstorms cause changes in barometric pressure and I—like many hundreds of thousands of other people—get migraines from shifts in barometric pressure. I can tell Mr. Math when it’s going to rain, no matter what the weather forecasters say, if the storm is going to be violent. Nothing helps my migraines much, except the ultimate leveling out of the barometric pressure. These kinds of pressure changes are more frequent in the summer, and I build more time into my seasonal schedule to allow for the downtime.

Arista's Legacy, #2.5 in the Dragons of Incendium series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeThis year, we had heat for almost three months instead of a couple of weeks here and a couple of weeks there. We had a lot of shifts in barometric pressure, but not very many thunderstorms resulted. Resonance in my writing proved to be a little more elusive as a result. (I’m including all of the covers in this post of the books I did write this summer which found resonance!) I wrote Something Wicked four times before I was happy with it, and the story changed radically from the outset. I just made deadline on that one. Wyvern’s Prince had something keeping it from resonance until what seemed like the very last minute—then I figured out what it was, and made the change in time for the pre-order deadline. Phew! Arista’s Legacy is in final edits, so it’ll be good to go for November. I’ve finished the edits for The Crusader’s Handfast, which was a great review of the Champions series to date, so it’s all set up for October.

The Crusader's Vow by Claire Delacroix, book #4 in the Champions of Saint Euphemia series of medieval romances.The issue is that I’m not happy with this current telling of The Crusader’s Vow. It’s written but not resonant. I need to take the story apart and re-envision it—I have a list of new avenues to explore and research to do—because Leila’s story currently isn’t adding enough to the book. Trust me.🙂 I want the story to be resonant, and that can’t be rushed. I also don’t want to have the various portals pinging me with reminders of the final book file being due.

So, as you might have guessed, I’ve moved the publication date on The Crusader’s Vow out to March. That leaves lots of time to make sure the book is resonant and that you love Fergus (and his HEA) as much as I do. Currently, there are only pre-orders available at Kobo and iBooks—the others will go live when the book is done and off to be formatted. I’m hoping that giving the story some space will ensure that it’s ready for publication earlier than that.

Thanks for your patience and understanding! Next year, I’ll be sure to cut my summer writing schedule back even more. I should be able to take care of things like website maintenance instead.

Spellbound Today!

The Haunting of Castle Keyvnor anthologies go on sale today! My story is one of the three Regency romance novellas included in Spellbound.Spellbound, a Regency romance anthology by Claire Delacroix, Jane Charles and Claudia Dain

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Claire Delacroix
Seven years ago, Sophia Brisbane lost everything—her father, her brother, her family fortune—but worse, was rejected by the man she loved. She’s determined not to yearn for the past and its pleasures—until she encounters Lucien de Roye again. Although he knew Sophia could never be his own, Lucien vowed to retrieve her squandered inheritance—even wagering his very soul to a demon. When Sophia learns what he has done, no force on heaven or earth will convince her to let him pay the demon’s due, no matter what the cost to herself.

Her Gypsy Lord by Jane Charles
Lady Charlotte Beck craves just one little adventure, which is nearly impossible as her older brothers are the most diligent of chaperones. However, when her family is summoned to Castle Keyvnor for the reading of her great-uncle’s will, Charlotte can hardly contain her excitement. Ghosts, magic and gypsies seem to be the ingredients to the adventure she’s been searching for. However when she meets Adam Vail in the nearby gypsy camp, it may be another adventure all together that calls to her soul…if she can survive Castle Keyvnor and one very murderous ghost.

Lord Death and Lady Ghost by Claudia Dain
Hal Mort, Viscount Blackwater, visits Keyvnor Castle in the company of friends and atop his new stallion. How was he to know that ghosts awaited him? Hal does not believe in ghosts. Unfortunately for Hal, the ghosts take an interest in him. One ghost wants to see him married to the lovely Lady Morgan. Another ghost is just as determined to see him slip the noose. As the ghosts work their supernatural magic, Hal can’t determine if the intense attraction he feels for Morgan is coming from him or from them. And after a few magical kisses, he’s not sure he cares.

Buy at iBooks Buy at Amazon.com Buy at Barnes&Noble Buy at Kobo Buy at GooglePlay

Wyvern’s Prince Today!

More dragons!

Wyvern’s Prince, book #2 in the Dragons of Incendium series of paranormal romances, is available in its digital format today. The print edition is in final formatting and should be available later this week.

Wyvern’s Prince is longer than Wyvern’s Mate, and Arista’s Legacy is longer than Nero’s Dream—the second mini-book in this series is 262 pages while the first was 188.

Wyvern’s Prince was a bit of a race to the finish line—you can be sure you have the right version if the covers for Arista’s Legacy and Wyvern’s Warrior are in end matter of your digital copy.

Wyvern's Prince, #2 in the Dragons of Incendium series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeOnce, in the Kingdom of Incendium, there were twelve princesses of the realm, each a dragon shifter. Each fiery and passionate. Each possessed of an appetite for pleasure that only her destined mate can satisfy. Twelve men are expected in Incendium, each with special powers of his own, each with the gift to claim one dragon princess’s heart forever.

Engaged to Prince Urbanus of Regalia, Gemma knows that her fiancé ordered the assassination of her best friend—but has been told that he’s her HeartKeeper. Caught between her destiny and her moral duty, she decides to take vengeance upon Urbanus after the wedding night. Gemma’s not counting on more dark revelations about Urbanus, much less his beguiling charm. Alone in his palace, Gemma can only rely upon herself to ensure her survival—or can she trust the mysterious stranger who pledges to aid her, for reasons unknown?


Available today!

Wyvern’s Prince is available in a digital edition. It will also be available in a mini-book  print edition exclusive to Amazon, Createspace and my online store.

Download a free sample from my online store in EPUB or MOBI.

Buy Wyvern’s Prince at these portals today:

Buy at Amazon US Buy at iBooks Buy at Barnes & Noble Buy at GooglePlay Buy at All Romance eBooks Buy at Kobo Buy at Amazon CA Buy at Amazon UK Buy at Amazon DE

Guest Author Michelle Willingham on the Haunting of Castle Keyvnor

The final post in our series Behind the Scenes at the Haunting of Castle Keyvnor is from Michelle Willingham, whose novella is included in the anthology BEDEVILED. Please welcome Michelle!

Don’t miss the other posts in this series:
Ava Stone
Claire Delacroix
Elizabeth Essex
Claudia Dain
Kate Pearce
Renee Bernard
Erica Monroe
Deb Marlowe
Jerrica Knight-Catania
Jane Charles

The Haunting of Castle Keyvnor, a Regency romance collection

Author Michelle WillinghamI was married on this day eighteen years ago. Happy Anniversary to us!

My own personal love story began with a blind date. One of my good friends invited me to come and play cards with her, and she mentioned that her boyfriend and his roommate would be there. I didn’t know at the time that the entire card game was a set-up. The roommate was looking for a date for an upcoming dance, and my friends thought I would be a good candidate.

We hit it off, but I can’t say it was love at first sight for either of us. We did go to the dance, became good friends, and enjoyed spending time together over the next few months. And then, out of the blue, I realized that I was looking forward to his visits more and more. Friendship gradually transformed into love, and we’ve been married for eighteen years now.

Michelle Willingham's wedding pictureIn my story, “A Dance with the Devil,” Jane Hawkins and Devon Lancaster are intrigued by one another but Jane is well aware that no man wants to marry an impoverished vicar’s daughter. They become friends by chasing down an escaped poodle, Oscar, and Jane finds Devon easy to talk to. And when they are locked in the wine cellar together, the sparks fly! It may not be love at first sight, but friendship at first sight can lead to an even stronger love.

And remember the card game I was invited to play? Ironically, we were playing “Hearts.”

Michelle Willingham is the author of over thirty historical romances and novellas. She lives in Virginia with her husband and three children. Visit her website at: www.michellewillingham.com/book/bedeviled to read an excerpt from Jane and Devon’s story, “A Dance with the Devil.”


Bedeviled, an anthology of Regency romance novellas by Kate Pearce, Deb Marlowe andA Dance with the Devil by Michelle Willingham
Devon Lancaster is fascinated by the beautiful vicar’s daughter, Jane Hawkins, who has been summoned to the will reading of the late Lord Banfield. But is she truly only a vicar’s daughter? Or does her past hold secrets that put her very life in danger? Jane knows she is unlikely to find a husband among the handsome men at Castle Keyvnor because of her poverty. But when she is locked in the cellar with Devon, she finds that the Devil of Lancaster sets her blood on fire.

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Review of The Last Highlander

The Last Highlander, a Scottish time travel romance by Claire DelacroixI don’t usually post on Saturday, but Eileen’s review is worthy of an exception.

She’s posted a five-star review of The Last Highlander on her site, BookTalk with Eileen, and it’s a rave. Here’s a good bit:

“I’m partial to time travel.  I mean, after all, what is better than experiencing the real thing instead of reading about it in history books?  Author Claire Delacroix made it very enjoyable plenty of comical situations and many moments where I related to the anguish of the main characters, eyes brimming with tears or laughing out loud to the reactions of the hero of the hour, Alasdair MacAuley.  It is so much fun seeing the 20th century in the eyes of someone from centuries before…

Need I say more about this wonderful read?  It’s funny, at the same time the story will clench your heart.  Will love win out in the end?

This is a five-star review.  I highly recommend Claire Delacroix’s books, whether time travel, historical romance or fantasy.  She will surely entertain!”

You can read the entire review on Eileen’s blog here.

🙂 I’m so pleased. I just love Alasdair and Morgan’s story, and it’s so wonderful when someone else loves that book, too. Eileen has made my weekend – maybe even my month! Thank you, Eileen!