Christmas at Castle Keyvnor – Claudia Dain

Christmas at Castle Keyvnor, twelve linked Regency romance novellas

Today my guest is another of the authors participating in the Christmas at Castle Keyvnor anthologies. Please welcome Claudia Dain!

Regency romance author 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.

Visit Claudia’s website, like her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter.

Enchanted at Christmas, a Regency romance anthology and part of the Christmas at Castle Keynor seriesEnchanted 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:

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One Knight Enchanted

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.

One Knight Enchanted, book #2 of the Sayerne Series of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixFirst 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.

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The Brides of North Barrows

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, a Regency romance novella by Claire Delacroix and #1 of the Brides of North BarrowsSomething 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, book #2 of the Brides of North Barrows series of Regency romances by Claire DelacroixA 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, book #3 of the Brides of North Barrows series of Regency romances by Claire DelacroixA 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.

 

Heartbreakers: Three Medieval Bad Boys

Heartbreakers:Three Medieval Romances in one bundle from Claire Delacroix Heartbreakers:Three Medieval Romances in one bundle from Claire DelacroixDo you love dangerous heroes? Heartbreakers: Three Medieval Bad Boys brings you three wicked heroes of ill-repute – and the women who dare to love them.

In The Scoundrel, Evangeline is determined to recover her family’s relic from the thief Gawain. She knows he’s a charming trickster with no moral code and has vowed to play by his rules to regain the prize, never expecting that Gawain will steal her heart. Gawain is intrigued by the first lady who is his match—when he falls in love with Evangeline, will he be able to convince her that his sweet confession isn’t just another ruse?

In The Frost Maiden’s Kiss, Catriona arrives pregnant at notorious Ravensmuir, home of the Hellhound, a mercenary of dangerous repute. The last person she expects to save her child is this grim and fearless man, and she knows herself to be in his debt. When Malcolm suggests a marriage of convenience to give her son a future, Catriona knows the only way to repay the Hellhound is to save him from the curse placed upon him, whatever the cost to herself.

In The Crusader’s Heart, Christina takes a chance on Wulfe, challenging the Templar to aid her in escaping her captivity in a brothel in Venice. She will do anything to convince him that he has need of her by his side as Wulfe is the key to her safe return home. Wulfe finds himself dangerously tempted by the beautiful and resolute Christina, to the point of discarding his vows. He has nothing to offer her in his own right, but Christina’s optimism is infectious and he revisits his own past, in the hope of building a future with her.

Three bold women each dare to challenge and to love a disreputable rogue, tempting the heartbreakers to change their ways. Love does conquer all in Heartbreakers: Three Medieval Bad Boys!

Heartbreakers goes on sale September 27, 2017 and will be available at Amazon in Kindle Unlimited for three months only.

Pre-order your copy at:

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The Last Highlander Disappears

The Last Highlander, a Scottish time travel romance by Claire Delacroix (writing as Claire Cross)If you’ve been looking for my Scottish time travel romance and romantic comedy, The Last Highlander, you’ll have discovered that its digital edition is currently unavailable.

This morning, I thought I’d tell you why. 🙂

The main reason is that I’ve been invited to participate in an exciting project. This  requires The Last Highlander to be in Kindle Unlimited, which means that it can’t be available anywhere else while it’s available through KU. I’ve removed the book from sale now, to make sure it has time to disappear from all the portals that are fed content by the big portals. After this is all done, I’ll republish The Last Highlander. So, you can expect to find Morgan and Alasdair’s story widely available again in the new year.

I’ll tell you more about this project and give you links as soon as I can!

Wyvern’s Outlaw

The next book in the Dragons of Incendium series is Wyvern’s Outlaw. I revealed the cover at RTC Ottawa last weekend and now it’s up for pre-order for November 29 delivery.

Wyvern's Outlaw, book #4 of the Dragons of Incendium series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeRyke wants nothing more than to escape the space pirates of the Gloria Furore and go home to his young son. He’s pretended to share their views and has worked his way up the ranks to co-pilot of the Armada Seven, commanded by the most vicious space captain of all. The capture of Princess Anguissa and her ship, the Archangel, is a moment of triumph for his superior—except that Anguissa never plays by anyone’s rules. In a flash of dragon fire, she incinerates most of the crew and takes command of the Armada Seven. Ryke is spared, but he’s not sure why—what plans does the beautiful dragon princess have for his future? And what will she demand to grant his wish of returning home?

Coming November 29!

Pre-order available at these portals – the Amazon link will be live at the beginning of September:

Buy at iBooks Buy at Barnes & Noble Buy at Kobo

New Edition of Coven of Mercy

Coven of Mercy, a short story and vampire romance by Deborah CookeA 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!

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Out of print digital cover for Coven of Mercy by Deborah Cooke

The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance II, an anthology of vampire romances including "Coven of Mercy" by Deborah Cooke

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.

Beguiled, a collection of short stories and novellas by Claire Delacroix and Deborah Cooke

 

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.

Guides to Fictional Worlds

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.

Serpent's Kiss, a paranormal romance and Dragonfire #10 by Deborah CookeThe 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.

Wyvern's Mate, book #1 in the Dragons of Incendium series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeIn 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.

On the historical side, I haven’t been nearly as organized. I have family trees compiled and available for free download in my online store—and I update those as various members of each family marry. There’s also a cast of characters for Kinfairlie that was compiled around the time I wrote The Renegade’s Heart, but beyond that, we’re talking file folders and piles of notes. I’m realizing how inefficient this is as I retrace everything I’ve said about Ross.

The Princess, book #1 of the Bride Quest series of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixIn 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.