A disheartened doctor finds hope—and an unexpected future—with a sexy, mysterious stranger.
Meet a new breed of vampire guardians in this romance and short story.
Available October 25.
Pre-Order Coven of Mercy now!
Several years ago, I was invited to contribute a vampire short story to the anthology The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance II (the title was Love Bites in the UK.) I wanted to do something different from the usual vampire romance, and Coven of Mercy was the result. The Mammoth Book is still available, with the cover at right. This story was also available for a while as a digital short with the cover at the far right, but now has the wonderful new cover you see above left.
Coven of Mercy is also included in my short story and novella collection Beguiled, which is available in both print and digital formats.
I’ve been wanting to expand the world of the coven since first writing this story. Maybe the new cover will prompt me to do that.
I’m switching around my Thursday and Friday posts, since there’s a link for the other post that’s taking a bit to populate. Let’s have Fibre Friday on Thursday this week!
Last year, at the readers’ conference Romancing the Capital, Carol gave me some of her beautiful merino handspun. She’d dyed it, too, and I spent a lot of time looking at the (very soft!) yarn, trying to figure out how to show it off.
I finally decided on a pattern called Daybreak by Stephen West. It’s written for fingering weight yarn and this was heavier, so I just winged it. I started with the purple, then striped in the turquoise. When I ran out of purple, I switched to the pink, then did the edging in pink when the turquoise was gone. I’m very happy with how it came out:
It’s just the perfect size to sit over the shoulders and falls to my elbows. I love shawls of this size as they keep my back warm but stay out the way.
The pattern was great and I’ll definitely knit another.
I’m heading to RTC again next week, and I’m going to wear the shawl. I’m hoping that Carol will be there.
In 2016, I published a reader guide for the first time as a free download. You all loved this resource, based on the number of downloads it had, so it’s been updated for 2017. Just like the first one, this little volume is thick with links. There are links to product pages as well as links to other content on my site that you might have missed—an out-take scene, family trees to download, audio samples, swag, upcoming booksignings. This year, I’ve added more books to it, as well as some new sections with suggestions for reading order. There’s section about tropes, for example, AND there’s a link at the end to a poll about world guides. I’d love if you had the chance to do the survey.
I changed the cover so you’d know which version you have—the red guide is the 2016 edition and the purple guide is the 2017 edition. At iBooks, you should be advised that the book has been updated. At Amazon, you might or might not have access to the new edition—you can ask Amazon support to help you, or you can download the new one from my online store. The guide is available for the first time at GooglePlay, Nook and Kobo.
You can download it free at:
If you’ve got the Reading Guide for 2017 and you find any broken links or missing tropes or have any suggestions for changes in the 2018 edition, please comment on this post.
Today’s suite of tropes once again feature the qualities of the hero.
Military – the hero is a member of a fighting corps. Most of my medieval heroes are knights, and some belong (or have belonged) to a military order like the Templars. Others have seen active military duty on crusade or as mercenaries and a few are assassins.
Highlander – either (or both) the hero and heroine are highlanders or Scottish. These books are usually set in Scotland, too.
Those are two huge groups of books, so we’ll stop there today. Which kind of heroes are your favorites?
The pre-order for the new edition of The Heiress is available at Amazon!
No woman can resist the charms of Rowan de Montvieux. But the dashing rogue is in no hurry to marry—until his family dares him to find a bride…or risk losing his inheritance. So Rowan sets out on a Bride Quest, vowing to wed only The Heiress.
But his journey is interrupted when a slave merchant offers to sell him a ragged peasant girl who carries herself like a queen. Intrigued and never imagining she is the sought-after Bronwyn of Ballyroyal, an heiress in disguise, Rowan buys her, offering her his protection if she will lead him to the bride he seeks.
Never has he met a woman so proud, so beautiful, so defiant. He suspects she is no commoner and vows to uncover her secrets and melt her fiery resolve. But the perilous voyage to Ireland kindles passions that risk both their lives, as the slave girl who would not be mastered slowly takes possession of his wary heart.
“This twelfth century romance is as good as they come!”
The Dallas Morning News
A mysterious nanny has a special message to deliver to a young orphan and her uncle who long to feel the joy of Christmas in their hearts again—but it’s Drew and Natalie who make Holly’s secret dream come true.
A Berry Merry Christmas is a holiday romance novella, a paranormal romance and a romantic comedy which was originally published under my pseudonym Claire Cross. It’s still available in a print anthology called Silent Night.
As of the fall of 2017, however, it is also available in a digital-only edition and specially priced for holiday reading.
Order A Berry Merry Christmas for September 27th delivery:
I promised last week to tell you about another project in the works this month. I’m participating in a second themed anthology of romance novellas for Christmas. The Nutcracker Reimagined features stories that involve elements of that classic Christmas story, The Nutcracker.
My contribution is a medieval romance called The Mercenary’s Bride. This novella is the first story in the Brides of Inverfyre series. It’s the story of Mhairi, daughter of the Hawk of Inverfyre and his wife Aileen. (The family tree for Ravensmuir and Inverfyre is a free download in my online store, right here.) Mhairi is the middle child of five and the second daughter. She’s a crack shot with a crossbow and a bit of a tomboy, and she’s unafraid to defy her father. Her interest was why the mercenary Quentin was dismissed from Inverfyre, but when he returns, bitter and wounded, Mhairi is the only one who can see his merit. Can her love heal him? I think you can guess, but I hope you’ll join me for their adventure.
The Nutcracker Reimagined is specially priced at just 99 cents and is available for pre-order now. It will deliver on October 19 and be available only for 30 days.
Here’s another group of tropes found in my books. We’ve talked about marriage tropes, about hero tropes, and about some relationship tropes. This group could be considered relationship tropes or protagonist tropes.
Disguise – one of the protagonists assumes a false identity for what seems like a good reason at the time. The other falls in love with the fiction and the first continues the ruse to maintain the developing relationship. I see Mistaken Identity as a variation on this – instead of a deliberate disguise, the second identity is the result of a misunderstanding, but is perpetuated in the same way as Disguise.
Broken Bird – either the hero or heroine is wounded or scarred, emotionally or physically, and is healed by the other’s love. I often write characters who need to recover from an emotional wound and learn to trust again, so these are the ones with physical injuries at the root of the emotional ones. This trope is also called Scars.
Homecoming – also called Reunion, one of the characters returns to his/her hometown. The other protagonist might have been there all along (Friends to Lovers or Second Chance at Love) or could also have arrived recently.
Orphan – one of the protagonists has been orphaned (literally or figuratively) and needs to learn about love. I’m including my voluntary outcasts here, as well.
Second Chance at Love – the hero and heroine were involved before but parted ways for some reason that seemed reasonable at the time. They meet again after an interval, and overcome those previous obstacles. I like to use this one in novellas. (In fact, I just like this one.)
Phew! Lots of tropes – and there are more to come! Are any of these your favorite? Why?
One of the (many) things I’ve been working on this summer is compiling all the various details about my fictional worlds into comprehensive guides. This includes lists of characters and details about those characters, family trees and family relationships, relevant dates and events for those characters, as well as known information about the world itself and a glossary of terms.
The first of these that I began to compile was for Dragonfire. In addition to the above, that world guide includes the lore of the Pyr and their history, as well as an explanation of their powers. Since I began compiling the world guide when I was writing Firestorm Forever, it’s proving to be a bit of a slog. There’s a lot of back-and-forthing in the books and my notes to be done, and so I have an assistant helping me on this project. It still won’t be done for a while. Because many readers have asked about it, there will be a published Dragonfire companion volume, which will be released as part of the publication schedule of the new editions of the first eight books. My assistant is also writing synopses of all of the stories and I’m adding some additional notes about the creation of Dragonfire. It’s going to be a big fat book and I’m excited about it.
In contrast, the world guide for the Dragons of Incendium is evolving as the stories are written. My idea here was that I’d be more organized and avoid all this digging through the past by working in real-time. This world guide is on the Dragons of Incendium website under the tab “Guides” and it’s updated after the publication of every new book in the series. You’ll find a cast of characters and a glossary there, as well as some additional references like a Brief History of Incendium. The inclusion of these references is one of the reasons that these dragons have their own website.
In preparing the new editions of the Bride Quest books, I had a question and unearthed my old notes—I found a map of Tullymullagh that I’d drawn! That got me to thinking about connecting my historical worlds and I wrote a blog post about that in June. The thing is that to make the worlds intersect plausibly, I need to compile world guides for my own reference.
Which explains where I am right now. I have a Dragonfire companion volume in the works. I have a Dragons of Incendium world guide on the website. I am currently creating a Bride Quest world guide and a Ravensmuir/Kinfairlie/Inverfyre world guide for my own reference. And that brings me to the question of the day—what should I do with all these world guides when they’re done?
There’s a poll below about world guides and companion volumes. I’d love if you took a moment to share your thoughts. I’ll leave it open for quite a while, since these references will take some time yet to be completed.
Don’t worry – The Dragonfire companion volume will definitely be published. The cover is done! It’s the others that I’m wondering about.
Here’s a poll about whether or not you use these volumes – and whether or not you buy them:
Here’s a poll about which series of mine for which you’d like to have a world guide:
And finally, here’s a poll about what you expect to find inside a world guide, just to make sure I don’t miss anything! There’s room for you to add suggestions.