You’ll find the colouring pages in the Colouring Pages category of the store.
Let me know if you like them, and which covers you’d like to see added to the collection.
You’ll find the colouring pages in the Colouring Pages category of the store.
Let me know if you like them, and which covers you’d like to see added to the collection.
Today my guest is another of the authors participating in the Christmas at Castle Keyvnor anthologies. Please welcome Claudia Dain!
There’s something about having a lot of time on your hands, about unending leisure time, that feels . . . wrong. Maybe that’s my middle class values showing, but for this story, I wanted my hero to have A Job. Oh, yes, he’s an aristocrat and he’s not hurting for money (because that’s more fun than being broke) but he does have Goals and Dreams and he is determined to run a profitable business venture in Regency England. He is going to own the best coach/cross-country horse breeding stable and the best hunting dog breeding kennel in England; that is his goal.
In researching horse breeds, I stumbled across the Trakehner. Originally developed to take knights into battle, by the 16th century, this horse had been refined into an elegant coach horse. It had a bold, fearless nature that made it perfect for the cavalry. Did you know any of that? I didn’t. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect horse for an elegant aristocrat in 19th century England to breed? I thought so. Trakehners are known for being highly courageous with an ideal temperament, a horse of great stamina and endurance. Just what we’d all like our heroes to be.
Of course, my hero, Charles Grimstone, Earl of Snowingham, is all of that and more. He is the inheritor of the Grimstone ring. To him, it’s just a family heirloom, with a family myth of Vikings and Valkyries to go with it. He wears the ring at all times, as family legend insists he do, but when the ruby in the ring begins to glow when he enters Castle Keyvynor, and then the power within the ring explodes when Lady Rose Hambly appears, Lord Snow begins to realize that there might be more than myth to the legend, and more fact behind the legend than he’s been willing to admit. Until he meets Lady Rose.
Writing stories with a paranormal element isn’t what I usually do. Castle Keyvnor is the setting for stories with a very definite paranormal slant. The whole place is haunted! I honestly didn’t know if I had the mindset for writing a romance set at Castle Keyvnor, and then I found out that I did. I created two ghosts in my first story (Lady Ghost and Lord Death: A Love Story) and I had a lot of fun having them spar with each other while interfering in the romantic life of the hero and heroine. When it was time to sit down and write Lady Rose and Lord Snow: A Wedding Story, I decided to give my ghostly pair something dangerous to come up against. I created the Grimstone ring and the legend behind it. Lord Snow and his ring can destroy ghosts. This time, if the ghostly pair wanted to interfere in the romance of my hero and heroine, they’d risk destruction.
I wish I could tell you where I came up with the idea for the Grimstone ring. As a writer, I normally don’t know where my ideas come from. A good idea just sort of beckons, leading me down a path that looks exciting, and I follow it. The Grimstone ring was a wonderful path into the story of Rose and Snow, and it ultimately plays a significant role in their love story. Do any ghosts pay the ultimate price of the Grimstone ring? I’m not going to ruin my story, or anyone else’s. You’ll just have to read them all to find out.
Have you ever looked at a piece of jewelry and had the feeling it had a story to tell, a past you wished you knew?
Claudia Welch/Claudia Dain graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in English. While there she became a member of Alpha Phi, one of the oldest sororities in America. A two- time Rita finalist, she has won numerous writing awards and honors since her first novel was published in 2000. She has lived for most of her life in Los Angeles, called Connecticut home for a decade, and currently lives in North Carolina with her husband.
Enchanted at Christmas
includes Claudia Dain’s Lady Rose & Lord Snow
The Grimstone has come to Castle Keyvnor. His name is Charles Snowingham and he is the Earl of Grimstone. Upon his right hand he wears the Grimstone ring, an ancient ring imbued with, it is said, ancient power to destroy ghosts and ghouls and otherworldly things. Snow is not the sort of man to believe in fairy tales, until he arrives in Castle Keyvnor, that is, and he meets Lady Rose Hambly. * Lady Rose is determined to escape her ancestral home, Castle Keyvor. She’s not about to admit it publicly, but there is a certain ghost at the castle who is haunting her. Since her sisters Morgan and Tamsyn are being wed on Christmas, and since the castle will be awash with eligible men, she is determined to find a husband as quickly as possible, if only to get away from Castle Keyvnor and her impossible ghost. * What Lady Rose and Lord Snow do not realize is that the ghosts of Keyvnor want them away from the castle immediately, if not sooner. The Grimstone ring spells their doom, and Rose’s ghost doesn’t want to haunt her just as fervently as she wishes not to be haunted. Will Rose take romantic advice from a ghost who does nothing but insult her? Not willingly.
Available September 26, 2017
Pre-order now at:
Today, my guest author is Erica Monroe, who has a Regency romance novella in Charmed at Christmas, one of the Christmas at Castle Keyvnor anthologies. Please welcome Erica!
My heroine Felicity Fields of THE DETERMINED DUCHESS (available in Charmed at Christmas) practices alchemy, a chemical and speculative philosophy that aimed at transmuting metals into their base elements. Much of alchemy focuses on transforming common substances into substances that have great value, like gold, as discussed below. While much of modern science can trace its roots back to alchemy, chemistry is probably the most notable, and in fact until the 1830’s scientists were oft called “chemists” or “natural philosophers,” regardless of what they studied. In fact, Isaac Newton’s alchemical papers have now been found and portions can be viewed online, as well as in museums.
Though alchemy has an ancient history that spans across several continents and centuries, by the Regency alchemy had fallen out of favor and was no longer viewed as a “real” science. Instead, scientific research moved more toward chemistry, galvanization, and astronomy. Alchemy began to be viewed as a form of witchcraft, and many scientists were in a hurry to distance themselves from being seen as pseudoscientists.
I had a lot of fun depicting the Regency disdain for alchemy. Felicity faces scorn on two fronts because not only is she a woman dabbing in subjects many thought were better left to men, but she is actively pursuing alchemical experiments that have now become taboo. Christy Carlyle and I got the idea that we’d both write scientists, but we’d have them at odds with each other. Septimus Locke, the hero of A LOVE FOR LADY WINTER, is pursuing galvanization, and he views Felicity’s attempts to recreate the Philosopher’s Stone as absurd and pointless. (You can read Christy’s excellent novella in Enchanted at Christmas.)
The Philosopher’s Stone is perhaps the most famous and intriguing of alchemical works, and so when I wrote THE DETERMINED DUCHESS, I had to include it. To fans of Harry Potter, the Philosopher’s Stone probably sounds familiar. In J.K. Rowling’s HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE, she reinvents the work of famous alchemist Nicholas Flamel. (The British title of this book is indeed HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE, off of Flamel’s work). For many alchemists, the Philosopher’s Stone represented the ultimate triumph – not only on a scientific level, but also on a spiritual level. It was thought that if one was able to take the stone through the three stages of transmutation – Black Phase, White Phase, Red Phase—you’d be able to unlock the mysteries of the universe.
Felicity doesn’t care about using the stone to transform simple materials into gold. She’s after the Elixir of Life that one can supposedly make from the stone. The Elixir of Life has many interpretations throughout both Eastern and Western philosophy, but I chose to focus mostly on the work done by alchemists in Europe, as that is what Felicity would have had access to. The Elixir of Life is said to have granted Flamel and his wife eternal life, and it contained healing properties as well.
Because of the Elixir of Life’s special properties, Felicity hopes to use the stone to bring back her beloved guardian from the dead. (THE DETERMINED DUCHESS is my take on Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN, make of that what you will). It was a challenge to balance Felicity’s alchemical experiments with her very real grief over her guardian’s death—science has always been her touchstone, so she sees it as a way to make sure that she is never abandoned again, and she thinks she owes her guardian a second chance at life.
Will she succeed? You’ll have to read CHARMED AT CHRISTMAS to find out. 😉
For more information on alchemy, you can check out my story board on Pinterest.
Erica Monroe is a USA Today Bestselling Author of dark, suspenseful historical romance. She was a finalist in the published historical category for the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Romantic Suspense, and her books have been recommended reads at Fresh Fiction, Smexy Books, SBTB, and All About Romance. When not writing, she is a chronic TV watcher, sci-fi junkie, and comic book fanatic. She lives in the suburbs of North Carolina with her husband, two dogs, and a cat. Visit Erica online at ericamonroe.com and sign up for her new release newsletter at: bit.ly/mlem4.
Charmed at Christmas
includes Erica Monroe’s The Determined Duchess
After the death of her beloved guardian, Miss Felicity Fields is left alone with an uncertain future. But this blunt bluestocking has a secret: she’s determined to resurrect her guardian through the ancient art of alchemy. The last thing she needs is the return of Nicholas Harding, the Duke of Wycliffe and rightful owner of her home on the wild coast of Cornwall. He stirs an unexpected passion within her, and Felicity has had enough change in her life.
When they were children, Nicholas never understood his aunt’s brilliant but unemotional ward, or her many scientific studies. Now, he’s determined to bring Felicity to London so that she may make a match within society–except he can’t stop thinking about her. But with the line between life and death blurred by Felicity’s experiments, can he convince her that she’s no longer alone, and her proper place is by his side?
Available September 26, 2017
Pre-order now at:
I’m starting off a series of posts from the authors of the Regency romance novellas in the Christmas at Castle Keyvnor collection. We’ll each talk a little bit about our research and our story.
As most of you know, I don’t usually write stories set in the Regency period, although it is an era that fascinates me. I read a lot of Regency romance written by contemporary authors, but what is particularly fun about the Regency era is how much fiction was published within that period. Reading the same stories that my characters might have read is consistently a favorite research avenue of mine. Technically, the Regency era is from 1811 to 1820, but Wiki notes that the period is often entended to 1795 to 1837. I like the broader parameter for finding books.
Let’s look today at a few authors and books from that period.
The most obvious author to read, of course, is Jane Austen, particularly if you’re interested in social conventions and romance. Her books – Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Northanger Abbey (1818) and Persuasion (1818) – are must-reads for all Regency romance fans. I really enjoy her wit and it’s hard to pick a favorite. If pressed, I have to say P&P, because I like how Elizabeth challenges Mr. Darcy’s expectations, prompting him to take a second look. On the other side of the coin, his criticism provokes Elizabeth to reconsider her own actions. They change each other, and I like that.
Within Austen’s books, however, there are references to other authors who were her contemporaries (or close to it) whose works were popular with young women. In Emma, Harriet Smith is disappointed that her beau, Mr. Martin, forgets to read the book she has recommended to him – The Romance of the Forest, which is by Ann Radcliffe. In Northanger Abbey, the protagonist Catherine Morland loves Gothic novels, particularly Mysteries of Udolpho, also by Ann Radcliffe.
According to Wiki, Ann Radcliffe was a “pioneer of the Gothic novel”. Her works certainly were popular in her time and she was comparatively well paid for her work. The Romance of the Forest (1791), The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), The Italian (1797) are several of her books that I’ve read. They have a lot of description of the landscape and the pacing is slow. They are long books and the heroines weep a lot. (They are not very active protagonists.) It’s easy to see how people found Radcliffe’s depiction of supernatural elements to be compelling (although I am skeptical that Mr. Martin read Forest so very quickly once he did get a copy!)
I haven’t read Catherine Cuthbertson, although she is said to be an author who was influenced by Radcliffe. Her works include Romance of the Pyrenees (1803), Forest of Montalbano (1810), and The Hut and the Castle: a Romance (1823).
Sir Walter Scott’s fiction is also considered to be Regency era literature and much of it is romantic in tone. The Lady of the Lake (1810), The Bride of Lammermoor (1819) and Ivanhoe (1820) would be good choices for their glimpse of Regency-era romance. I also use Scott’s Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802-3), in which he recorded oral stories of Scotland, as a reference when I write Scottish romances.
Lord Byron was a romantic poet, but also an influence over romantic fiction both during his life and after his death. His excesses, moodiness, periodic charm, good looks and tragic ending have been captivating to many – even now, we talk of Byronic heroes – and that his only daughter, Ada, was so clever has inspired many a ‘bluestocking’ Regency heroine. Of his own work, the narrative poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812-1818) is probably the best known.
One Regency-era author often forgotten or overlooked is Mary Shelley, whose work Frankenstein (1818) was published in the period. Her husband Percy Boyd Shelley was one of the romantic poets as well as a friend of Byron’s. I love that this story resulted from a challenge between writers: Mary, her future husband Percy, Lord Byron and John Polidori competed to discover who among them could write the best horror story. Mary’s idea of a doctor creating a living creature then being horrified by the result has become a cornerstone of the horror genre. It remains a great read and a classic book. Polidori’s story, btw, was The Vampyre (1819). I still need to read that one.
There are also stories written after the Regency which portray the era. One of the things I always notice about Regency characters is their obsession with appearances and their frank discussions about money. Mr. Darcy is interesting at dances and social events because of his annual income, which the various ambitious mamas seem to know down to the shilling. As a result, I’ve always enjoyed William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, which takes a dim view of this obsession with the physical realm, and his cunning heroine Becky Sharp. It was published in 1848 and is often considered the first Victorian novel, partly because Becky isn’t very sympathetic, partly because of its social criticism. It gives good insight into what people were prepared to do to maintain those appearances, though.
The Brontë sisters were published later than the Regency era, although their work is romantic and I think it contributed a great deal to the romance genre and reader expectations. Jane Eyre (1847) by Charlotte Brontë has definite commonalities with Ann Radcliffe’s work, given that the heroine is left with nothing and needs to conquer obstacles to win love and her happy ending. Wuthering Heights (1847) by Emily Brontë is another Gothic classic, albeit with a more tragic twist, while Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) has been called the first feminist novel.
Oscar Wilde’s work was published well after the Regency, but I love his wit. His dialogue is just wonderful and his social commentary is cutting. Lady Windemere’s Fan (1892), An Ideal Husband (1895) and, of course, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) are wonderful and inspiring reads for all writers.
Another great favourite of mine when it comes to Regency romance is Georgette Heyer. Her sparkling dialogue, wit and sense of humor are unrivalled in the genre. One of her books that I revisit over and over again is The Grand Sophy (1950) with its practical, problem-solving heroine, squaring off with a hero who has learned to worry only about himself.
I found my inspiration for A Duke by Any Other Name in a work of fiction that depicts an era a little earlier than the Regency—I love Baroness Orczy’s Scarlet Pimpernel (1903). I love a hero in disguise, and particularly enjoy that this Sir Percy is consistently dismissed as a fop and a fool, even as he is orchestrating the escape of aristrocrats from Paris and cheating Lady Guillotine. In my story, Alexander, Duke of Inverfyre, is hunting a jewel thief, one who has ruined his sister’s reputation. He does so in disguise, but Daphne isn’t fooled—and Alexander is tempted. Will Daphne’s curiosity win the duke? Or will she jeopardize his quest, right before it is fulfilled? I had a lot of fun with this story and hope you enjoy it, too.
A Duke by Any Other Name is included in the anthology Charmed at Christmas and will be available in a solo digital edition (with the cover at left) in March 2018.
Claire Delacroix’s A Duke by Any Other Name
Daphne Goodenham has always been determined to wed a duke—not just because she loves fine dresses and parties, but because she wants to guarantee that she and her sister are never destitute again. When she meets the Duke of Inverfyre, a notorious fop, she immediately notices intriguing inconsistencies. Is there more to the duke than meets the eye? Why would he hide the truth if he were handsome, young, rich and a duke? Alexander, the Duke of Inverfyre, is bent on catching a notorious thief who injured his sister, no matter what the cost. But when the lovely Miss Goodenham is bent on charming him, Alexander’s disguise proves to be no defense against her curiosity—and he has no resistance to her kiss. Will Daphne inadvertently foil Alexander’s plan? Will he have to sacrifice her interest to avenge his sister? Or can Daphne ensure Alexander’s triumph and make her own Christmas wish come true?
Available September 26, 2017
Pre-order now at:
I’m finally making progress on the republication of my books which were originally published by Harlequin Historicals. Mostly, I needed a plan. 🙂 They all need some revision and some reworking, partly because I’ve learned a few things about writing and storytelling in the past twenty years. I also wanted to build stronger series connections between the books, as many of the series grew organically instead of being planned from the outset.
First up is a revised edition of my story, Enchanted, which was always a favourite of mine. I love the new version even more. It’s called One Knight Enchanted and is available for pre-order now, with a delivery date in December. This book will be going into Kindle Unlimited on publication, and will be available for 99 cents when it first goes on sale.
I also love the new cover.
Annelise de Sayerne is determined that only true love will convince her to pledge herself in marriage, a legacy of her father’s cruelty. When her brother conspires to see her wed against her will, she insists upon returning to the convent instead. En route, their party is attacked by wolves and divided. Annelise finds herself before the gates of a mysterious palace, hungry predators at her heels, only to learn that the price of admission is marriage to the palace’s lord, sight unseen.
A knight and younger son, Rolfe de Viandin hopes his older brother rewards him on his return from crusade with a small holding of his own. But on his way home, Rolfe opens the gift he bought for his brother in Outremer, releasing a djinn from captivity. He is granted a magical palace, but also cursed to be a wolf by day and man by night—unless love breaks the curse and sets him free. Could lovely, impulsive Annelise be his salvation? Or will she be the one to bring treachery to his gates instead?
Pre-order One Knight Enchanted for December 12 delivery at Amazon.
I reorganized one corner of the website this week, bringing this series out onto the main menu for my historicals. This means that if you had the page for the Brides of North Barrows bookmarked before (or if you had the page for Something Wicked This Way Comes bookmarked before) the link might not work any more.
Of course, I did this because we have a series going on. 🙂 When the series is complete, there will be a digital and print bundle of the entire series.
Something Wicked This Way Comes is Sophie and Lucien’s story. When Octavia and her grand-daughters Daphne and Eurydice travel to Castle Keyvnor for the reading of a will, the girls’ governess encounters her lost beloved, who has made a wicked bargain to defend her. A demon is due to collect Lucien’s soul on Samhain, but Sophie can’t stand by to watch the man she loves be lost forever.
This Regency romance novella is available on its own in a digital edition, and also in Spellbound, one of the Haunting of Castle Keyvnor anthologies.
A Duke By Any Other Name is Daphne’s story. When the family return to Castle Keyvnor at for a Christmas wedding, they meet Alexander, Duke of Inverfyre, en route. Alexander isn’t particularly looking for a wife—in fact, he’s in disguise as part of a trap to foil a jewel thief and means to see that quest completed and his sister avenged first. But Daphne is both tempting and perceptive—when she’s targeted by the villain, will she inadvertently foil his plan? Or will Alexander see another beauty’s reputation ruined by this same thief?
This Regency romance novella is included in Charmed at Christmas, one of the Christmas at Castle Keyvnor anthologies which go on sale September 19. It will be available in its own digital edition in March 2018.
A Baron for All Seasons is book #3 and will be the story of Alexander’s sister, Anthea and Alexander’s friend, Rupert. I’m hoping to publish this story in the spring of 2o18.
Book #4 will be Eurydice’s story but it doesn’t have a title or a cover yet.
There’s a second promotion running this weekend, which also features free and 99 cent reads. You’ll find All or Nothing, Wyvern’s Mate and The Beauty Bride included in this promotion along with many other books.
The landing page is right here. Happy browsing!
D.A.T.E. (Download All The eBooks) is a promotion organized by Erica Conroy. This weekend, you’ll find a number of free romances available from the landing page, including my romantic comedy All or Nothing. This promotion features Amazon links, but All or Nothing is free at iBooks, too.
The landing page is here. Happy browsing!
Once 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!”
USA Today Bestseller
1999 Best Historical Romance in a Series
Today, my guest is another author participating in the Nutcracker Reimagined anthology. Please welcome Tina DeSalvo!
Hi everyone, and thank you Deb for inviting me to stop by to say hello and talk about my books. It is one of my favorite things to chat about. It’s up there with talking about recipes, family and oh, heck, let me confess now, I like to talk about almost anything. Yeah, the truth is out, I enjoy visiting with readers and anyone who doesn’t rush off in the other direction (I have yet to chase after anyone). LOL. I guess I should introduce myself so you know who this chatty person is yammering away – My name is Tina DeSalvo and I write contemporary romances with a little bit of mystery and a whole lot of laughter and emotion. My favorite settings are small towns. And, I love to surround my hero and heroine around eccentric, crazy, well-meaning people who make us smile, laugh and just plain-ole feel good. In my Second Chance Novel series, my books are set in the heart of Cajun Country in south Louisiana – a place I am very familiar with as that is where I have lived, worked, raised my family and passed a good time! I hope you give the Second Chance Novel Series a try – Elli, Jewell, Abby, as well as, Hunt for Christmas, Out-lanta and A Second Chance in Vegas.
The Rocky Mountains also hold a special place in my heart, too. My hubs, Mr. Co-Man, and I spend a lot of time there enjoying the majestic scenery and cool temperatures. We consider it a second home. The Rockies is the setting for my Cloud Hill series – the first book (a novella) is part of the AMAZING Nutcracker Reimagined Christmas Collection. I am so honored to be included with the wonderful authors writing for this collection! The title of my novella is Christmas at the Inn on Cloud Hill. The following books in this series are Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer – the names of the sisters this series is about and you briefly hear about in Christmas). Oh, I’m so excited to share this series with y’all!
I had so much fun writing my story, Christmas at the Inn on Cloud Hill for the Nutcracker Reimagined Christmas Collection. As I mentioned before, it is the first story of a new series I am writing, so researching and exploring then new setting has been really fun. I have moved from the bayous of Louisiana to the high elevation Rocky Mountains of Colorado with this setting. Although the landscape is very different, the heart of what I write about is the same – small towns, sense of community and family with a hodge-podge of eccentric personalities. All, who are basically good people who care for one another and the place they live. In this Christmas novella Country Music Superstar, Daniel Brooks, has comes to the tiny village of Cloud Hill for a little R & R and reunites with a childhood acquaintance, Aurora Morgan. Now an accomplished muralist who is back in Cloud Hill to paint a mural at the historic Inn of the owner’s four daughters, Aurora hopes to prove to herself she has indeed come to terms with a horrific life-changing event from her past. She didn’t realize she would have to face the man who had set it all in motion though – Daniel Brooks. As they get reacquainted for the first time in over twenty years, the town’s historical society decides that good fortune has rained down on them with a talented artist and a musician! They manage to get both Daniel and Aurora to help with the annual Christmas Festival – in particular the Nutcracker Variety Show. I hope you enjoy this story with its elderly ladies dancing in sequined tutus, defiant fostered three-legged deer, and a kilt-wearing handyman, who all play roles to create this Nutcracker story REIMAGINED in a way to bring Daniel and Aurora together to find love, happiness and resolution.
Pre-order your copy of the Nutcracker Reimagined today at these portals:
Learn more about Tina and her books at her website.
Tina has very graciously offered a giveaway today, of two free copies of her e-book, e-book copies of the first Book in her Second Chance Series, Elli, a Second Chance Novel. Please comment on this post and say what it is you like or dislike about the Classic Nutcracker Story for your chance to win. Good luck!