The Nutcracker Reimagined Anthology Today!

The Nutcracker Reimagined, a Christmas romance anthologyThis year, I’m participating in a second themed anthology of romance novellas for Christmas. These are all new stories which haven’t been published before. 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.

The Mercenary's Bride, book #1 of the Brides of Inverfyre series of medieval Scottish romances by Claire DelacroixGet your copy today at these portals:
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There’s also a four-day feature on the anthology running at Rae’s blog, including reviews of the ten stories. Rae is giving away some prizes, too, although I think they’re limited to US readers. Here’s Day #2, which includes a review of my contribution, The Mercenary’s Bride.

Spellbound on the Charts!

As you know, our Regency romance anthology Spellbound is free until Sunday. Yesterday, it had a BookBub featured ad and this morning – thanks to all of you – it’s riding high on the charts. Let’s take a look.

At Amazon.com, Spellbound rose to #3 overall free in the Kindle store, as well as #1 in Regency romance.

Spellbound, a Regency romance anthology, at #3 overall free in the Amazon store on July 5, 2017

Here’s the top of the free chart:
Spellbound, a Regency romance anthology, was #3 overall free at Amazon.com on July 5, 2017

And here’s the top of the Regency romance chart:

Spellbound, a Regency romance anthology, was #1 free in Regency romance at Amazon.com on July 5, 2017At Amazon UK, Spellbound was #7 overall free and #1 in Regency romance:

Spellbound, a Regency romance anthology, was #7 overall free at Amazon.co.uk on July 5, 2017

At Amazon CA, Spellbound was #3 overall free and #1 in Regency romance:
Spellbound, a Regency romance anthology, was #3 overall free at Amazon.ca on July 5, 2017Here’s the top of the free chart in the CA store. Usually, there are regional variations, but today, the US and the CA chart – at least at the very top – are the same.
Spellbound, a Regency romance anthology, was #3 overall free at Amazon.ca on July 5, 2017Over at iBooks, Spellbound is also doing really well. It’s #2 overall free in the store:
Spellbound, a Regency romance anthology, #2 overall free at iBooks on July 6, 2017

And it’s #1 in Historical Romance:

Spellbound, a Regency romance anthology, #1 free in historical romance at iBooks on July 6, 2017

What a great suite of results! Thanks to everyone who picked up a copy. If you haven’t grabbed yours yet, Spellbound is still free through the weekend.

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Guest Author Elizabeth Essex on the Haunting of Castle Keyvnor

It’s time for another guest blog post about the creation of The Haunting of Castle Keyvnor collection. Today, my guest is Elizabeth Essex, whose story is included in Vexed.

Don’t miss the other posts in our “behind the scenes” series:
Ava Stone
Claire Delacroix
and more to come!

The Haunting of Castle Keyvnor, a Regency romance collection

It all began with an email from Deb Marlowe, whom I like to think of as my personal Fairy Godmother in Romancelandia—she has been a trusted mentor from the very beginning of my writing career. I even named the hero of my debut novel, The Pursuit of Pleasure, Marlowe in her honor!

Regency romance author Elizabeth Essex“Would you like to be part of a collection of Regency novellas set along the coast of Cornwall?” she asked. “They would all be set in and around a haunted castle—”

I didn’t even hear the rest. My mind was already off and running along the fog-shrouded coast and windy clifftop paths, looking for strong-jawed seafarers and shifty-eyed smugglers, thinking up all sorts of nefarious and adventurous goings-on.

Oh, yes, please!

The Haunting of Castle Keyvnor is unlike anything I’d ever done, with twelve inter-related, but entirely different spooky stories. I’d never written a ghost story before, but Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea feels more like a homecoming than anything new, because I was able to write what I love best—tales of the sea, with heroic sea captains and the irrepressible young women who love them.

In Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea that irrepressible, shyly adventurous young woman is Nessa Teague, the vicar’s forgotten middle daughter. She has pined for Captain Lord Harry Beck and worshiped him from afar for twelve long years. But when he comes back to Bocka Morrow with his family for the reading of his uncle’s will, Nessa decides that there is nothing—absolutely nothing—she won’t do to make him her one and only true love. Even if it means resorting to forbidden magic!

Elizabeth Essex is the award-winning author of critically acclaimed historical romance. Her three Brides Series (Dartmouth Brides, Reckless Brides and her new Highland Brides) have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award and Seal of Excellence Award, and RWA’s prestigious RITA Award. The Reckless Brides Series has also made Top-Ten lists from Romantic Times, The Romance Reviews and Affaire de Coeur Magazine, and Desert Isle Keeper status at All About Romance. Her fifth book, A BREATH OF SCANDAL, was awarded Best Historical in the Reader’s Crown 2013.

When not rereading Jane Austen, mucking about in her garden, or simply messing about with boats, Elizabeth can be always be found with her laptop, making up stories about heroes and heroines who live far more exciting lives than she.  It wasn’t always so.  Long before she ever set pen to paper, Elizabeth graduated from Hollins College with a BA in Classics and Art History, and then earned her MA in Nautical Archaeology from Texas A&M University.  While she loved the life of an underwater archaeologist, she has found her true calling writing lush, lyrical historical romance full of passion, daring and adventure.

Elizabeth lives in Texas with her husband, the Indispensable Mr. Essex, and her active and exuberant family in an old house filled to the brim with books.

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Vexed, an anthology of Regency romance novellas by Erica Ridley, Ava Stone and Erica Monroe

Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea by Elizabeth Essex
Nessa Teague has never believed in the magic that swirls around her village like a fine Cornish mist. She’s never had need of it. Until the day Lord Harry Beck returns to Bocka Morrow and Nessa realizes there is nothing, including the blackest of magic, she won’t do to have him for her own.

Vexed goes on sale September 20. Pre-order your copy at these online portals:

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A Dark and Stormy Night

This is a first of a series of guest blog posts from some of the authors participating in the Haunting of Castle Keyvnor series. There are twelve Regency romance novellas in this series, all of which take place during the same week at a haunted estate in Cornwall, while the characters await the reading of the late Earl’s will. I was invited to participate in this project by Ava Stone, and I’ll talk about that a bit more tomorrow.

Today, please welcome Ava Stone herself, to explain how the idea was born…

The Haunting of Castle Keyvnor, a Regency Romance novella collection

It was a dark and stormy night…

It really was. Dark AND Stormy. Jerrica Knight-Catania, Jane Charles, Deb Marlowe, Claudia Dain and I were in New Orleans for the Romantic Times Convention, and we were taking a haunted history walking tour at night and darting in and out of bars, trying to stay dry while we waited for the storm to let up a bit. And we might have sampled a Hurricane or two…That part is a big foggy.

Regency romance author Ava StoneBut that’s when inspiration hit, between Hurricanes in one of the most haunted cities in America. You can’t be in the French Quarter at night and not feel like you’re stepping back into another era. There is something seriously magical about New Orleans, and something seriously spooky at night under the gas lamps while you listen to tale after tale of the city’s haunted past.

One of us said, “What if we did a collection of haunted Regency stories?” That autumn, Jane, Jerrica and I published One Haunted Evening, which we followed up with One More Haunted Evening the next year.

But this year we wanted to do something new, something different, something BIGGER….

“What if an earl died and the vast majority of his estate was unentailed?”

“And what if he lived in a haunted castle, and his distant relatives had to stay there while they waited for the reading of his will?”

“And what if there were more than just ghosts there?”

“More than just ghosts?”

“Like witches! Cornwall is famous for witches!”

“Oh, and their rocky coast! There could be smugglers! And—”

“Maybe some Cornish Pixies!”

“And a dead wife in an attic à la Jane Eyre!”

“Attic? How ’bout turret, instead?”

“Let’s make this BIGGER than what we’ve done before.”

“Bigger?”

“More authors. More stories. More hauntings.”

And so, The Haunting of Castle Keyvnor was born.

With four anthologies, VEXED, BEDEVILED, MYSTIFIED, and SPELLBOUND we’ll bring you more authors, more stories, more hauntings as the distant relatives of the late-Earl of Banfield converge upon haunted Castle Keyvnor to await the reading of his lordship’s will. We hope you will fall in love with Castle Keyvnor just like we did.

USA Today Bestselling Author Ava Stone first fell in love with Mr. Darcy, Jane Austen, and Regency England at the age of twelve. And in the years since, that love has never diminished. If she isn’t writing Regency Era romance, she can be found reading it.

Her bestselling Scandalous Series is filled with witty humor and centers around the friends and family of the Machiavellian-like Lady Staveley, exploring deep themes but with a light touch. A single mother, Ava lives outside Raleigh NC, but she travels extensively, always looking for inspiration for new stories and characters in the various locales she visits.

Ava can be found regularly at Red Door Reads, on Facebook, Twitter and at Lady Jane’s Salon Raleigh-Durham, where she is one of the salon’s directors. Visit her website at http://www.AvaStoneAuthor.com


Vexed, an anthology of Regency romance novellas by Erica Ridley, Ava Stone and Erica MonroeOnce Upon a Moonlit Path by Ava Stone
Lady Cassandra Priske sees dead people…not all the time, but occasionally. When her family is summoned to Castle Keyvnor for the reading of the late Earl of Banfield’s will, Cassy is more than terrified. After all, the castle is famous for its hauntings. But the very last person, dead or alive, she expects to see at the castle is the rakish Lord. St. Giles. After all, he’s not even a distant relation to the late-earl.

Vexed goes on sale September 20. Pre-order your copy at these portals:

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Spellbound Available for Pre-Order

Summons to Spellbound Regency anthology by Claire Delacroix, Jane Charles and Claudia Dain

As mentioned last week here on the blog, I’m participating in a series of linked Regency romance novellas with eleven other authors. There will be four anthologies published, each with three novellas in them. The novellas all take place at the same time – during a week before the reading of the late earl’s will at Castle Keyvnor. Halloween 1811 is right smack in the middle of that week, and the castle is said to be haunted. We’ve had a lot of fun coordinating events and hinting at the doings of each other’s characters in our own contributions. It’s a really fun project—plus it gave me the opportunity to finally write a Regency romance, with lots of expert advice at hand.

Spellbound, a Regency romance anthology by Claire Delacroix, Jane Charles and Claudia Dain

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Read about the whole series on its new page here on my website: The Haunting of Castle Keyvnor.

Beguiled

Beguiled, a collection of short stories and novellas by Claire Delacroix and Deborah CookeBeguiled, my new collection of novellas and short stories, is available today!

Tales of fantasy, romance and forbidden love…

A collection of my own short stories and novellas, including:

An Elegy for Melusine by Claire Delacroix
Amor Vincit Omnia by Claire Delacroix
The Leaves by Deborah Cooke
The Kiss of the Snow Queen by Claire Delacroix
Coven of Mercy by Deborah Cooke
The Ballad of Rosamunde by Claire Delacroix

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Reader Letter from Beguiled

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

Dear Reader,

I don’t write a great many short stories, although in assembling this collection, I have to wonder why that is. A shorter work is an opportunity—if not an invitation—to try something different in terms of style or to play with an unusual idea. Short stories are fun to write for that reason, and in addition, offer different structural challenges than books. I love to read short stories: they can be tantalizing in themselves, and also can provide a telling introduction to an author’s work.

The works included here were all written as the result of an invitation for me to participate in an anthology with other authors. In the past, invitations have been the only reason I wrote short—though that might change! I was glad to be invited to participate in all of those volumes, but is often the nature of short stories to remain available to readers for only a limited time. So, I’m very pleased now to have the opportunity to pull these works into a collection of my own and make them available to you again.

In addition, putting the stories together makes their similarities to each other more clear. Most of these works have a medieval setting, and all of them include both romance and fantasy elements. Each of them features a strong heroine who makes a choice, a choice that might end up costing everything she holds dear. Historians called the ability to influence one’s own situation “agency” and it’s an idea that I like to explore in all of my work. In the medieval era, women had more agency than many people believe, and we, too, have agency in our era, although maybe it’s less than many people believe. What we choose and why fascinates me. For the women in these stories, the opportunity to choose is more important than the result: I don’t know that even Melusine would regret her decision, though the end result is not what she had hoped to gain.

I’ve included an introductory note before each story, telling you a bit of how it came to be and its history. I’ve also included an excerpt from my medieval romance, The Rogue, because in reviewing these shorter stories, it’s clear that Alix and Melusine led me directly to Ysabella. Finally, there’s an excerpt from my upcoming medieval romance, The Frost Maiden’s Kiss. This is the third book in my True Love Brides series, and features the return of Malcolm to Ravensmuir from his time as a hired mercenary in Europe. He’s earned a fortune, but believes it has cost him his soul (and possibly his sanity) until he meets Catriona, a woman who shows him how to rediscover goodness. Catriona, however, has dangerous secrets of her own, ones that can threaten everything they build together. Malcolm and Catriona’s book will be published in August 2014.

Until next time, I hope you are well and have plenty of good books to read.

All my best—

Deborah
also writing as Claire

Books!

I think getting a box of books is my favourite part of being an author. Today, my copies of the Dragon Legion Collection arrived, and they’re just beautiful. Look!

The Dragon Legion Collections trade paperbacks

I owe copies to a number of you, so now that my books have arrived, I’ll get yours into the mail to you.

I might have to stack them in different ways and play with them a bit first. They really do look wonderful. 🙂

Dragon Legion Collection Released!

The Dragon Legion Collection by Deborah Cooke

The complete collection of the Dragon Legion novellas is now available in a trade paperback print edition and is Dragonfire #9.

They will sacrifice anything to regain the loves they’ve lost…

When the Dragon Legion take custody of the darkfire crystal, Drake and his fellow dragon shifters fear that the sorcery trapped in the stone is bent on destroying them. In Kiss of Danger, Alexander defends his wife and son from a vicious killer who has followed him through time. In Kiss of Darkness, Damien enters the realm of the dead to fix an old mistake, but loses his shifting abilities. In Kiss of Destiny, Thad believes he can secure the future of all the dragon shifters known as the Pyr, if only he can win the heart of the elusive woman who sparks his firestorm. Will the darkfire demand all they have to give, or is the unpredictable magic giving these dragon warriors a second chance?

This collection contains all three Dragon Legion novellas, as well as an excerpt from Serpent’s Kiss (the next Dragonfire novel), a cast of characters and Dragonfire glossary. It will be available in a trade paperback edition.

It’s available now directly from Createspace, Amazon, and B&N.

All of the novellas are available individually in digital formats. The digital edition of the entire collection will be published in September.

For those of you who have won copies of the this print edition, I’m waiting on my copies to arrive, then will sign and send out yours. 🙂

You can read about the whole series on my website, right here.