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:

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

Christmas at Castle Keyvnor – Erica Monroe

Christmas at Castle Keyvnor, twelve linked Regency romance novellas

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!

Author Erica MonroeMy 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 as pictured in Atalanta Fugiens Emblem 21The 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.

The alchemical symbol for the Philosopher's Stone, 17th centuryFelicity 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, one of the Christmas at Castle Keyvnor anthologies of Regency romances, including one by Claire DelacroixCharmed 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:

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 Nutcracker Reimagined & Tina DeSalvo

Today, my guest is another author participating in the Nutcracker Reimagined anthology. Please welcome Tina DeSalvo!

Author Tina DeSalvoHi 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.Christmas at the Inn at Cloud Hill by Tina DeSalvo

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!

The Nutcracker Reimagined, a Christmas romance anthologyI 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:
Buy at iBooks Buy at Amazon.com Buy at Barnes&Noble Buy at Kobo

Elli, a Second Chance novel, by Tina DeSalvoLearn 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!

The Nutcracker Reimagined & Eliza Knight

Today, my guest is another author participating in the Nutcracker Reimagined collection. Please welcome Eliza Knight!

Hello! I’m Eliza Knight, an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of historical romance. Under the name E. Knight, I pen rip-your-heart-out historical fiction. Most of my novels take place in medieval Scotland, which is my favorite time period to write about. I’m fortunate enough to have been able to do some research in Scotland, too, which brings me even closer to my characters and the land they cherish so much.

The Highlander's Reward, a medieval Scottish romance by Eliza KnightMy Stolen Bride series is kicked off with The Highlander’s Reward, and in it my hero Magnus Sutherland fights for William Wallace and the Bruce in trying win back Scottish freedom from the English. So what happens, when in the middle of a battle, Magnus comes across an English lass, daughter to the enemy, in need of saving? Well, he takes her of course, and forces her to marry him. Arbella is horrified. She didn’t like the idea of leaving England to marry an English lord occupying a Scottish castle as it was. It’s a wild place full of heathens, and now she’s married to a barbarian! For Magnus, marrying the enemy puts his duty to his clan and country in jeopardy, not to mention that having a wife will be a total pain in the arse. But what started as a mock marriage turns into one of passionate love, and together they have to fight off the enemies who would seek to destroy them. The Highlander’s Reward is currently a free read—escape to the Highlands with me and give this series a try!

The Highlander's Gift, a medieval Scottish romance by Eliza KnightMy story in The Nutcracker Reimagined is The Highlander’s Gift, and it features the daughter of Magnus and Arbella from The Highlander’s Reward. Bella is a fiery and independent lass who definitely doesn’t want to be constrained by the bonds of marriage. And she just so happens to find the most perfect man for her. Sir Niall Oliphant was betrothed to the Bruce’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth, until she declares that his wound in battle has incapacitated him as a man. Because he does not wish to marry the spoiled royal, he is glad to pass her off to his brother Sir Walter, and remain a bachelor. Until he is presented with an offer from the Earl of Sutherland to marry his only daughter, a lass more beautiful than any other. Bella Sutherland, daughter of one of the most powerful earls and Highland chieftains in Scotland, can marry anyone she wants—but she wants no one. When she spies the injured warrior at the Yule festival who has been shunned by the Bruce’s own daughter, she makes her choice. What is better than no husband? A husband who cannot truly be husband at all. With them both satisfied that they are gaining a marriage in name only, imagine their surprise when love blossoms and passion ignites?

The Nutcracker Reimagined, a Christmas romance anthologyThe Highlander’s Gift is the ninth medieval tale in my Stolen Bride series. It will be available first as a novella in the Nutcracker Reimagined which releases on October 19th — only available for 30 days for 99 cents – along with nine other great Christmas novellas! After that, The Highlander’s Gift will be expanded into a full-length novel and released in its own edition.

Visit me at www.elizaknight.com and sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know about new sizzling hot reads, book news, contests, and more!

Pre-order your copy of the Nutcracker Reimagined today at these portals:
Buy at iBooks Buy at Amazon.com Buy at Barnes&Noble Buy at Kobo

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.

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