Quiet at the Château

When I was a kid, moms everywhere interpreted silence as a sign that trouble was brewing. As much as I’d like to be making trouble, silence here on the blog usually means that I’m working. A lot. There are a lot of things in progress behind the scenes, so I thought today I’d give you a peek.

Charmed at Christmas, one of the Christmas at Castle Keyvnor anthologies of Regency romances, including one by Claire DelacroixFirst up, I’m finishing my novella for Charmed at Christmas. Right now, my Regency romance novella is called A Duke by Any Other Name, but that might change. It features Lady Daphne Goodenham, who we met in Something Wicked This Way Comes—she’s headed to Castle Keyvnor for a double wedding at Christmas. Daphne, as you might recall, is determined to marry a duke. Her sister thinks that’s because she’s frivolous and superficial, but Daphne has a better reason than that. (And I think it’s sweet.) On the way south, they meet a duke, also en route to Cornwall. He’s eligible, at least on paper, according to Lady Octavia, the girls’ grandmother. The thing is though that Alexander, Duke of Inverfyre, is a fop. Lady Octavia is certain he’s not the kind of man to make Daphne happy, even if he is a duke. But is Alexander truly what he seems to be? From their first meeting, Daphne notices details that don’t add up and is the only one to look closer…a tendency that the duke finds very beguiling.

Daphne’s story is book #2 in the Brides of North Barrows series. It will be available exclusively in Charmed at Christmas until next March, then it will be available in its own edition.

You might have noticed that Alexander is the Duke of Inverfyre. This is the first of my stories to bring my various fictional worlds together. (See my blog post When Worlds Collide.) Inverfyre is, of course, a holding in the Scottish highlands featured in my Rogues of Ravensmuir, Jewels of Kinfairlie, True Love Brides and upcoming Brides of Inverfyre series. These are all medieval series, but Alexander and Daphne’s story is set in the Regency. In five or six hundred years, a lot can happen!

Just to entwine things a little more, Alexander’s castle is Airdfinnan, the legacy of Alasdair in The Beauty. Alexander’s sister gives him the seed of a vine that grows on Airdfinnan’s walls which is said to be linked to the laird of the estate finding his true love—you can read about that vine’s first appearance at Airdfinnan in  The Temptress. How did Airdfinnan become part of the estate of Inverfyre? That detail is yet to be revealed.

Charmed at Christmas is available for pre-order now at all portals and goes on sale September 26, along with all of the Christmas at Castle Keyvnor anthologies.

Pre-order Charmed at Christmas here:

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, twelve linked Regency romance novellas

A Collaboration

I think this bit of news is so much fun.

In fact, I’ve been itching to tell you about it since last summer and now – ta da! – the day has come.

DeborahCooke_SimplyIrresistibleBK1_200The other day, I told you about my upcoming series of contemporary romances, which launch with Simply Irresistible in June. Today, I’ll tell you the twist. I had an idea that the heroine in Simply Irresistible would love reading erotic romances. When challenged by the hero to take a chance, she decides to try writing erotic romances and publishing them herself. This is part of her journey, but I liked the idea of her story being inspired by her romance in Simply Irresistible. In fact, I wanted to include excerpts from her “book” in my book.

But I don’t write erotic romance. :-/

Her Dark Prince, book #1 in Ella Ardent's Tales from Euphoria series of erotic romancesEnter the collaboration. Ella Ardent is writing a new series of erotic romances which will be connected to my new series of contemporary romances. This is huge fun and is not just allowing me to include excerpts from her books in mine, but to coordinate the story lines a bit and to do some joint promotion. Our on-sale dates will match for the duration of the two series.

Ella’s series is faux-medieval, which is fun, and set in the fictional realm of Euphoria. The first book in her series is Her Dark Knight and it’s available for pre-order for June.

This is going to be fun!

Reader Letter from The Crusader’s Handfast

The Crusader's Handfast, #5 in the Champions of Saint Euphemia series of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixDear Reader;

One of the fun things about writing the Champions of Saint Euphemia series has been following the entangled threads of the story. Each character has witnessed different elements of the adventure and knows different things, and I’ve enjoyed pulling all those perspectives together. It soon became clear, though, that there were some story elements that were missing from all of the books, and that those were likely scenes you’d want to see. What actually happens when Gaston and Ysmaine arrive at his inherited holding? What has Millard done and how is all resolved?

More importantly, whose story would include these details? Ysmaine and Gaston had already found their happily-ever-after before arriving at Gaston’s inherited estate. The option of an extended epilogue didn’t appeal to me. I had thought Bartholomew might witness events there, but he really is itching to get back to the estate he should have inherited to set all to rights. (Plus, it’s high time he met Anna.) Who would show us this side of the story?

I watch movies when I’m trying to solve plot riddles, and invariably they’re movies I’ve seen many times before. I watch and knit and my thoughts wander a bit, in search of solutions. I was watching Gosford Park, which I enjoy because the servants know so much about their employers, yet their employers for the most part are oblivious to this, when the penny dropped. Servants are secret-keepers! Who knows more about Valeroy and local gossip than Ysmaine? Her maid Radegunde, of course. In the first scene I wrote from her point of view in this new project, I learned that Radegunde was very interested in Duncan, the man-at-arms in service to Fergus.

That’s when I realized this series would have a fifth book. The Crusader’s Handfast begins in Paris, after the reliquary has been safely delivered to the Paris Temple, and features the romance of Radegunde and Duncan. Their story involves the revelation of secrets, and the resolution of hidden conflicts. I like that these two ensure the futures of their respective employers from behind the scenes, and I also like that Radegunde’s cheerfulness is so restorative for Duncan. In a way, their resilience and pragmatism makes them two of a kind, but their fates are not entirely their own. Are they star-crossed lovers? Or will the course of love run true? You’ll need to keep reading to find out.

Just to try something different, this story is being published in monthly instalments, beginning in November. The whole book will be available for purchase in both print and digital formats in July 2016. It’s available for pre-order at some portals now.

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

All my best,

Updated Family Trees & Bookmarks

The family trees for Kinfairlie, Inverfyre and Ravensmuir have been updated this week. Eleanor found a typo in Merlyn’s birthdate, and I knew there was another small error in the spelling of Garrett’s name.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 10.33.01 AMConcurrent with posting the updates, I moved all of the family trees to my online store, where they are free downloads. They’re designed to be printed on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper, if you so choose.

You can find all of the family trees in the Family Tree category at my online store.

They’re also listed on the Family Tree page here on the website.

My printable bookmarks have also been updated. You can download the color version here and the black and white one right here.

Reader Letter from The Crusader’s Bride

The Crusader's Bride, a medieval romance by Claire DelacroixDear Reader;

Welcome to a new medieval adventure! Beginning a new series is always exciting for me, and this one is particularly so. I love the medieval era and particularly the twelfth century, so it’s been wonderful to revisit this period. I’ve also been thinking for a while about a linked series following a company of knights on a quest, with each knight finding not just adventure but true love along the way. This series begins in Jerusalem, where our knights are given the task of delivering a precious relic to Paris. We journey with them to Venice and then to Paris, the supposed end of their mission. While this is the end of Gaston’s part in the mission, it’s not the end of the story for the other knights. One knight, Wulfe, will continue in pursuit of the villain, to see justice done. Another knight, Fergus, will secretly take custody of the treasure to see it secured near his home in Scotland.

These stories also intersect and overlap, a structure that intrigues me. For example, Gaston meets and marries Ysmaine in Jerusalem, at the beginning of the quest and the beginning of book #1, The Crusader’s Bride. We also meet Christina in this first book, shortly after Wulfe meets her, but we don’t witness the adventure that compels them to become reluctant allies. That night is the beginning of The Crusader’s Heart, book #2 in the series. Similarly, neither Gaston nor Ysmaine know what the squires are arguing about, much less why Bartholomew settles the dispute, but we’ll learn more about that in a subsequent story. I’m quite enjoying the challenge of showing discussions and incidents from different points of view and hope you enjoy it, too. By the end of The Crusader’s Vow, book #4, all of your questions should be answered!

I had originally planned for these stories to be linked novellas, but Gaston and Ysmaine insisted that their story be a full length book. So it is and so will the others be. These books will be published at three month intervals, so you can expect Wulfe’s book in October 2015, Bartholomew’s in January 2016 and Fergus’ in April 2016. The additional books are available for pre-order at some portals now.

And finally, a confession: I’ve taken some poetic license with this series, with two details in particular. Saint Euphemia was a virgin and a martyr who died in AD 303 in Chalcedon. Her relics were subsequently scattered. It was rumored that the Templars possessed the precious relic of her head, and there are accounts in the trials of the Templars (from later centuries) of them worshiping a head. Although there is no absolute evidence that this head was that of Euphemia—and that relic has not been located—I decided to make it so. Also, the tunnel in Acre does exist and was discovered only recently. It is believed to have been built by the Templars and to date from the years after Acre was reclaimed from the Saracens. I decided, for the sake of Gaston and Ysmaine, that it might have been under construction before the city was lost.

In other news, my historical romances are being produced in audio editions. Right now, all of the Jewels of Kinfairlie series is available in audio, as well as The Rogue. The True Love Brides are in production and all four titles should be available in audio by the end of 2015. Then we’ll go back and finish the Rogues of Ravensmuir. As well as going back, the audio editions are going forward: The Champions of Saint Euphemia is starting in audio production too, with the goal of having each book available in audio just a few months after the initial release.

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

All my best,