Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Book Release - The Earl's Complete Surrender

The Earl's Complete Surrender is on sale today!!! It's the second book in the Secrets At Thorncliff Manor series. For tour dates and to enter the giveaway for a $25 ebook gift card, courtesy of Avon Books, please click HERE

To grab your copy today, please follow the buy links via my website at sophiebarnes.com


Monday, December 14, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

Top Five CRAZIEST Facts I learned while researching for Historical Romances


1.       Female duelists

Apparently not as uncommon as one might think. I did quite a bit of research on this when I wrote Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure. One of the most notable accounts, is probably the incident where Princess Pauline Metternich and the Countess Kielmannsegg came to arms because of a disagreement regarding a floral arrangement. This duel achieved particular notoriety because both ladies fought topless due to the danger of minor wounds turning septic as a result of fabric being driven into the wounds with the point of the sword.

Artistic rendering of Lady Almeria Braddock and Mrs. Elphinstone dueling. The event took place after Mrs. Elphinstone accused Lady Almeria Braddock of lying about her age. You can read the reputed dialogue between them here - it's quite amusing.

2.       Women could be sold at market by their husbands

Turns out that during the Regency period, a husband who wanted to be rid of his wife, could in fact lead her to market and officially sell her. Oftentimes, the wife would be in agreement, but due to the high expense/scandal of divorce, a transaction of this nature was a much cheaper and simpler option, though there were many people who disapproved.

A contemporary French print of an English wife sale. The scene is set at a cattle market, which places it in the context of livestock sales and implies that the wife already has a lover, as the husband is shown apparently "wearing horns", a traditional symbol that he has been cuckolded. - From Wikipedia


3.       Men wore unmentionables but women wore…nothing

I pretty much knew this after all the fashion history classes I took in college, but I didn’t realize that few women prior to the Victorian era had a solution to ‘that time of the month’. Menstruation belts were worn after 1800, but many women, especially those from the lower classes, would just refrain from leaving the house.

4.       The flush toilet was an Elizabethan invention.

I’ve always thought that flushing toilets were invented during the Victorian era by George Jennings and somewhat later by Thomas Crapper, but apparently that’s not the case. The very first flushing toilet was invented by John Harrington in 1596, a prominent member of Queen Elizabeth I's court.

5.       Hang him!

When we read Regency romances, the fairy-tale setting and plot distract from the more unpleasant aspects of that day and age. In fact, I don’t recall ever reading a romance novel in which a public hanging was mentioned, and yet they continued to take place until 1868 when Michael Barrett was hanged for his part in the Clerkenwell bombing.



Originally posted on FOREVER BOOK LOVER, April 30th 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015


Tiaras and Ballrooms Romance 
Ebook Contest

Sophie Barnes

Enter to win 5 ebooks & $20 

Amazon gift card

One grand prize awarded will recieve the following ebooks:

Lady in Disguise by Wendy Vella
Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires by Sophie Barnes
Wicked by Cheryl Holt
A Heart Revealed by Josi S. Kilpack
Cast in Ice by Laura Landon 

Contest is open to all residents of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Canada (excluding Quebec) and must be the majority of age within the state/province they reside in. 
Contest runs from October 11, 2015 12am and ends October 17, 2015 at 11:59pm.

b

Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires


Welcome to Thorncliff Manor, where London’s elite mix, mingle, and may even find their heart’s desire . . .
There are thousands of things Christopher, Viscount Spencer, would rather do than hunt for a bride, especially since experience has taught him that women are not to be trusted. Then he finds the intriguing Lady Sarah scrambling around in Thorncliff’s conservatory and he is instantly charmed by her passionate nature. But why is she so intent on avoiding him?
Lady Sarah would make the perfect bride for a peer—if not for a tarnished past that she’s hiding from the ton. A stay at Thorncliff Manor was meant to help her plan for her future, not fall in love. Yet Christopher’s kisses are irresistible, his gallantry enticing. When her secret stands to be revealed, will the truth ruin their dreams of happiness? 
Get Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires for only $1.99 
for a LIMITED time:

Buy from Amazon.comBuy from Barnes & NobleBuy from KoboBuy from the iBookstore

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Avon Authors Newsletter and Books On Sale

If you're following this blog, then you're probably a romantic at heart, which is why I thought I'd make you aware of the Avon Authors monthly newsletter. Signing up is easy and it will help you keep up to date on the latest romance releases from Avon as well as inform you of contests and signings. This newsletter is not sponsored by Avon but by the authors themselves and also offers information on how to get in touch with each of them online.

http://www.avonauthors.com/newsletter-2/


And since we are on the subject of romance novels, I thought I'd let you know about the following e-book offers:

Only $1.99

Amazon

B&N

FREE

Amazon

B&N

FREE

Amazon

B&N

Friday, September 25, 2015

One More Haunted Evening Release Party


Today I'll be participating in the One More Haunted Evening release party, courtesy of Ava Stone, Jerrica Knight-Catania and Jane Charles whose new novel goes on sale today - a spooky historical that will make your toes curl! So stop by the party for a fun-filled day of ghost stories and giveaways. I'll be there from 4:20 to 4:40pm EST with 2 $10 amazon gift cards and one book prize containing four of my books.
The lineup is fabulous - I'm including it below so you know when to stop by for a chance to hang out with your favorite authors.

1:00pm - 1:20pm Ava Stone
1:20pm - 1:40pm Julie Johnstone
1:40pm - 2:00pm Shana Galen
2:00pm - 2:20pm Rose Gordon
2:20pm - 2:40pm Jane Godman
2:40pm - 3:00pm Monica Burns
3:00pm - 3:20pm Christy Carlyle
3:20pm - 3:40pm Darcy Burke
3:40pm - 4:00pm Susan Gee Heino
4:00pm - 4:20pm Renee Bernard
4:20pm - 4:40pm Sophie Barnes
4:40pm - 5:00pm Aileen Fish
5:00pm - 5:20pm Jane Charles
5:20pm - 5:40pm Jerrica Knight-Catania
5:40pm - 6:00pm Samantha Grace
6:00pm - 6:20pm Sue London
6:20pm - 6:40pm Deb Marlowe
6:40pm - 7:00pm Erica Ridley
7:00pm - 7:20pm Valerie Bowman
7:20pm - 7:40pm Tracey Devlyn
7:40pm - 8:00pm Collette Cameron
8:00pm - 8:20pm Author Meara Platt
8:20pm - 8:40pm Katherine Bone
8:40pm - 9:00pm Christina McKnight



Monday, September 21, 2015

Singing a love story

It's been years since I heard Bill Morrissey's song "Birches" for the first time. I'm not sure what reminded me of it yesterday, but I found myself going to YouTube and searching for it. Turns out it's just as beautiful as I remembered it to be. The story he tells through song about an older couple whose relationship has lost the passion of young love, is incredibly moving. As they sit alone, the wife tries to reignite the spark, but the husband who's more practical dismisses her attempts in favor of what they have gained after so many years of marriage. Oak will burn as long and hot as a July afternoon, And birch will burn itself out by the rising of the moon. 
Still, after he goes off to bed, she dismisses his insistence to add oak to the fire and adds birch instead. The memories come flooding back and for a brief time, she is young again. And the shadows they saw nothing but a young girl on her honeymoon.
The last line brings everything into focus: She thought of heat. She thought of time. She called it an even trade.
Although the wife misses the way they once were, she also realizes that what she has now is lasting, that it is important, and that her husband's love for her will keep her warm through the cold winter nights.

  

Friday, September 18, 2015

Have romance novels had a positive impact on your life?

Hey everyone! Today I pitched an idea to RT magazine for an article about romance novels having a positive impact on people's lives. I'm looking for stories where romance novels may have helped you through a difficult time in your life or offered you a clearer perspective on what's required in order to make a relationship work. Perhaps a romance novel put you in touch with that special someone by placing you in the same book store at the same time, or inspired you to make a positive career change?
If you think you have a story to tell or know somebody who has, and would like to participate, please get back to me at info@sophiebarnes.com and maybe we can battle the negative rep that romance novels have gotten over the years together.



The Earl's Complete Surrender Book Trailer

The trailer for The Earl's Complete Surrender is ready! A friend of mine made this for me and I have to say that she did a superb job, don't you think? If you're an author and would like to get in touch with her or if you would like to advertise an event with video, you can contact her through her website at http://www.visualtrailer.com/ or via the Visual Trailer FB page at https://www.facebook.com/visualtrailer?fref=ts Thanks for watching :D



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Foreign Rights

One of the perks that I get from having signed with a big publishing house like Harper Collins, is the effort that they make on my behalf to sell the foreign rights to my books. There are two particular book fairs that they participate in yearly in order to make this happen, namely Frankfurt and London. So far, I've sold books from the Kingsborough Ball series to Russia, Japan and Holland. Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires is due for release on the Scandinavian market in spring 2016, with the next two books in the series following closely behind. This agreement has been further facilitated thanks to Harlequin whom Harper Collins acquired in 2014. Below are a couple of pictures of the books I've received so far. I can't read them myself, but that doesn't make it less thrilling to have them on my book shelf =)

The Trouble With Being A Duke in Japanese



The Trouble With Being A Duke in Russian

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The fairy-tale writer who never got his own happily ever after


His stories are known throughout the world and several of them have even been further popularized by Disney and Pixar. When fairy-tales are mentioned, it is either his name or the Brothers Grimm that come to mind, and yet, while one might imagine that a man like Hans Christian Andersen would have married for love and lived happily ever after, the truth is that he never experienced the great romance that he always dreamed of.
Born in Odense, Denmark, in 1805 to a father who worked as a shoemaker and a mother who worked as a washerwoman, his family was quite poor. Even so, it was Andersen's father who introduced Andersen to literature by reading the Arabian Nights to him. But after Andersen's father died in 1816, following an illness that he contracted during the Napoleonic Wars (which he enlisted to fight in from 1812-1814), and Andersen's mother re-married, Andersen left for Copenhagen to try his luck at the Royal Theater. Apparently, he had a great soprano voice, but this quickly changed as he entered pubity. Determined to gain a foothold within the theater in spite of this setback, Andersen wrote a number of plays, all of which were rejected.
To soften the blow, however, the director of the Royal Danish Theater, Jonas Collin, who'd developed a fondness for Andersen, became his benefactor and arranged for him to attend grammar school, persuading King Frederik VI to pay part of the education. Unfortunately, Andersen ended up living at the school principal's house - a man who did not hesitate to mistreat Andersen in order to "improve upon his character." It was during this time - one that Andersen later described as the darkest and most bitter of his life - that he wrote his famous poem The Dying Child. At this point, I would like to mention that many of Andersen's works, including a large number of his fairy tales, were tragic in nature. Examples include The Little Mermaid, but I'll delve into that with another post later.
After complaining to Collin about his situation, Andersen was taken out of school and privately tutored in Copenhagen. Since he was born with dyslexia, Andersen never learned to spell properly and his writing was filled with mistakes. In some ways, this may have been a blessing in disguise since his writing style remained close to the spoken language and therefore sounds fresh, even today.
After passing his exams in 1827, Andersen made his debut as a writer in 1829 with his short story titled, A Journey on Foot from Holmen's Canal to the East Point of Amager. It was an immediate success. By comparison, his first collection of  fairy tales, which consisted of nine stories, including The Tinderbox, The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, The Little Mermaid and The Emperor's New Clothes sold poorly. His fairy tale collection didn't gain popularity until 1845, when it was translated into English and The Athenæum, a literary London Journal reviewed it, saying: "This is a book full of life and fancy; a book for grandfathers no less than grandchildren, not a word of which will be skipped by those who have it once in hand."
During the course of his life, Andersen fell in love with four notable women: Riborg Voigt, Sophie Ă˜rsted, Louise Collin and Jenny Lind. Of these, Riborg and Jenny probably had the most profound effects on Andersen. Jenny was a Swedish opera singer whom Anderson encouraged. He gave her the confidence she needed to perform abroad, which in turn made her one of the most successful opera singers of her day. It is believed that he wrote The Nightingale in honor of her, but when he professed his love for her, she claimed that she only thought of him as a brother.
Riborg, on the other hand, is perhaps the most tragic of Andersen's love interests. She was the sister of his friend, Christian Voigt, and when Andersen went to pay Christian a visit one time, it was Riborg who opened the door. The two engaged in conversation and while it is certain that he fell for her, it is also believed that she reciprocated his feelings. Unfortunately, she was already engaged to someone else, and as you may know, it would have been scandalous for her to call off her engagement during the time period in which they were living. Years later, upon Andersen's death in 1875, a pouch was discovered at his chest, carrying a letter from Riborg. Likewise, a secret drawer in Riborg's bureau was later found to contain Andersen's poems, a bouquet of flowers from him and a photo.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Modern princes and princesses - the real fairytale stories. Part 2

I initially planned for a more involved post for the second installment of modern princes and princesses, but since the British royal family has just been blessed with a new member, I've decided that this post should center around Prince William and Princess Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
I'm not sure many other royal families have gained as much notoriety over the past thirty four years as the British one has, ever since Diana Spencer said 'yes' to Prince Charles. A turbulent time awaited the House of Windsor back then, and while I'm not sure how talked about they were in the US during the 80's and 90's, I can assure you that they were the center of many lively debates on the other side of the 'pond.'
But while most of the talk before was based on scandal, it seems to have taken a turn for the better, which is unquestionably due to Prince William and Princess Kate, who seem to have single handedly saved the British Monarchy with their elegance, their 'normalcy', their obvious love for each other and the joy with which they're bringing their children into the world and offering them the chance to be 'just like everyone else', without the pretense that comes with their station. I think children need this - the ability to hug their parents in public without being told that they should stand up straight instead. So good for Prince William and Princess Kate! They've fought their share of battles already against the strictures and traditions that other members of the royal family (you know who) wish to impose upon them. I hope they'll continue to do so in the years to come, for the sake of each other, their children and their country, whom they represent so wonderfully well.

2011

With Prince George, born July 22nd, 2013



Born, May 2nd, 2015, the new princess' name will remain unknown until the Christening


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires: Exclusive prologue not included in the book




Oakland Manor – 1820

“The carriages are ready,” Lady Oakland said as she entered her husband’s study. Dressed in preparation for their journey to Thorncliff Manor, she’d chosen a comfortable peach-colored gown and was presently pulling on her favorite pair of kid-skin gloves.
“And the children?” Philip, Earl of Oakland asked as he rose from his chair, closed the ledger he’d been updating and came toward her. “Are they ready as well?”
“Fiona keeps returning upstairs in order to fetch one thing or another that she claims to have forgotten,” Lady Oakland said in reference to her youngest daughter who, at the age of eighteen, was still as boisterous as ever, “so I think we should simply decide that it’s time to depart. Besides, the workers we hired are ready to begin on the renovations.”
“Alterations, you mean, considering our home is in perfect condition, save for the small detail that it’s not in the Greek style as you would prefer.”
Stepping forward with a smile, Lady Oakland allowed her husband to pull her into his arms. “You’re very good to me, Philip, there’s no denying that.”
He chuckled lightly as he kissed the top of her head. “The things men do for love…”
Leaning back a little, Lady Oakland gazed up at her husband in adoration. The corners of his eyes creased a great deal more than when they’d married thirty one years prior, and his hair now contained the occasional strand of gray, but he was still as handsome as ever.  “I dare say I only managed to convince you to accept the expense for Spencer’s benefit.”

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Modern princess and princesses - the real fairytale stories. Part 1

As a European, I grew up on photos in magazines of princesses dressed in fantastic gowns and crown jewels. They lived in impressive castles, even rode in horse-drawn carriages on occasion, and comported themselves with the utmost of grace. There were princes too, and by the time I was five, I'd selected the one whom I planned to one day marry.
Needless to say, things didn't quite turn out that way, which was probably best for everyone. Considering all the attention these people have to suffer, living in the spotlight the way they do, I don't think I would have lasted more than a second for the simple fact that I value my privacy.
After moving to America, the European royalty drifted into the background and the Oscars became the event to watch if you wanted to see a ridiculously overpriced outfit. But I digress...let me instead begin by introducing you to the royal families of Scandinavia and the fairytale magic that they represent. Stay tuned for posts on England, Belgium, Holland, Greece and Spain.

Denmark

Crown Princess Mary (born in Tazmania) and Crown Prince Frederik (who will one day inherit the throne from his mother, Queen Margaret)


Princess Marie (born in France) and Frederik's younger brother, Prince Joachim

Norway

Crown Princess Mette-Marit (she was a single mother with a disadvantageous past, embodying the fairy-tale dream to perfection) and Crown Prince Haakon.

Crown Prince Haakon's younger sister, Princess Martha-Louise and her husband, Danish born Ari-Behn

Sweden

Crown Princess Victoria and her husband, Prince Daniel. He was a personal trainer and gym owner before marrying Victoria.

Prince Carl Philip, currently engaged to Sofia Hellqvist (former model & reality tv contestant). The couple plans to marry on June 13th, 2015


Crown Princess Victoria's younger sister, Princess Madeleine and her husband, British/American businessman, Christopher O'Neill


Monday, April 20, 2015

Exclusive Prologue Release

I’m so excited! We are so close to hitting the preorder goal for Lady Sarah’s Sinful Desires! If we reach it within the next week, I’ll be able to release an exclusive prologue for LADY SARAH’S SINFUL DESIRES on my website! This prologue will not be available in the book! So If you’d like to help out, please preorder the book here: http://avonromance.com/book/lady-sarahs-sinful-desires-2 Click "other retailers" for a list of options. And if you’ve already done so, THANK YOU!!!


Friday, April 17, 2015

OFFICIAL TRAILER Lady Sarah's SInful Desires

Last week I wrote a post about book trailers where I mentioned Book Candy Studios. They have been simply fantastic to work with, keeping me updated either by email or phone and brainstorming with me through the entire process. I'm truly impressed with what they came up with for Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires. Take a look at the result and leave a comment if you like. I'd love to know what you think =)


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Romance covers through the years

Since the publication of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss' The Flame and the Flower in 1972 by Avon Books, modern romance novels have evolved, and so have the covers. What probably surprised many, was how successful The Flame and the Flower would be, selling over 2.3 million copies in its first four years of publication. It paved the way for thousands of authors thereafter, laying the foundation for a genre that would become the top grossing one within the industry of literary fiction. But while these books once boasted domineering men and submissive women on their covers, they now seem more aware of gender equality and sensuality, with greater focus on the romantic. Because when all is said and done, aren't romance novels fairy-tales for adults? The reason we read them is in order to watch people fall in love and get that happily ever after that they deserve, no matter the odds stacked against them.
I have to admit, that I might think twice about reading a book with Fabio ravishing some woman on the cover, but I take no issue with showing off more recent romance novels. In fact, I think they're so pretty, and since many of them begin as paintings created by artists, I do feel that they deserve to be seen.





Flash back to the 80's and 90's


Some of the prettiest covers out there!



Just goes to show that not all romance novels depict a hero or a heroine on the cover.


Friday, April 10, 2015

The Mayfair Chronicle

Doing publicity for a new release is a lot of work, but it can also be creative and fun! I'm really lucky that I have some great people to work with at Avon. A publicist has been assigned to my book but that doesn't mean that I won't be doing any work myself. One of my favorite things when it comes to PR is coming up with new ways in which to advertise my book. With my new Secrets At Thorncliff Manor series, it's not just the book itself that I'm trying to promote, but the entire concept of Thorncliff and all that it has to offer.
In the past, I've done an advent story leading up to my New Year's Eve release of The Scandal In Kissing An Heir, I've created my ambassador group, ordered various kinds of swag and printed limited quantity t-shirts for my At The Kingsborough Ball series.
This time around, I've brought The Mayfair Chronicle to life. For those of you unfamiliar with my books, this is a fictional newspaper that I created for There's Something About Lady Mary, and which has since shown up whenever a newspaper was necessary, just as the Belle Anglaise has become the most popular shopping destination for all my female characters.

http://flash-pub.com/pub/ebooks/9b79ae95d9/index.php#/0


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Masquerade




Historically, masquerade balls began as an extension of the Carnival – a festive season taking place immediately before Lent.  Traditionally, according to the Christian calendar, it was a time marked for fasting and devout behavior, during which no parties or celebrations were held.  Consequently, in the days leading up to Lent, all rich food and drink were disposed of beforehand as part of a giant party involving the whole community. During the 16th Century, this celebration evolved into public costumed festivities in Italy, particularly in Venice, where dances including masks were held for the upper classes. This practice however, was outlawed in 1779 during the King of Austria’s rule when the use of masks was completely forbidden. There were brief resurgences during the 19th Century, but it didn’t become a tradition in Venice again until it was reintroduced in 1979. Now, roughly 3 million people visit the festival each year, the most prominent event being the contest for the most beautiful mask which is held on the last weekend and judged by a panel consisting of prominent costume and fashion designers.
Masquerades were not limited to Italy though. During the early 18th Century, a Swiss count by the name of Johan Jacob Heidegger, is credited for bringing not only Venetian fashion,  but the semi-public masquerade ball to London where it made its first appearance at the Haymarket Opera House and later at pleasure gardens like Vauxhall where masked characters in fancy dress would mingle with the crowds. These events soon became reputable for unseemly behavior, unescorted women and assignations (oh my…). 
Masquerades have also been the center for political intrigue. In fact, Gustav III of Sweden was shot in the back during such an event at the Royal Opera House in 1792, and though he did survive the incident for several days, the wound eventually became infected and he died thirteen days later, his last words reportedly being, “I feel sleepy. A few moments rest would do me good.” Famously, Eugene Scribe and Daniel Auber wrote an opera about it named Gustav III, as did Giusepe Verdi, though his version was altered by censorship and named Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball).
During the 1770’s fashionable Londoners were invited to Carlisle House, in Soho Square, to attend masquerade balls hosted by Teresa Cornley. She was a soprano opera singer born in Venice whose numerous lovers included Cassanova, the father of Teresa’s daughter. Teresa rented the mansion for £180 a year and refurbished it with opulent furnishings. The British novelist Frances Burney wrote in 1970: The magnificence of the rooms, splendor of the illuminations and embellishments, and the brilliant appearance of the company exceeded anything I ever before saw.
The perfect setting, one would think, for a masquerade ball =)
Recently, the most notable masquerade ball was held by the multi-millionaire, Carlos de Beistegui at the Palazzo Labia in Venice in 1951. The guest list included Orson Welles, Barbara Hutton, Christian Dior and Salvador Dali (who by the way designed each other’s costumes).
The intrigue involved in guests deliberately hiding their appearances, the game of guessing who’s who, and the elaborate costumes that go with it, are elements made to lure and entice. After all, most of us are curious by nature and enjoy uncovering that which is hidden.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Lesser known romantic getaways

There are so many fantastic places to visit in the world. Below are some of my favorite holiday locations - ones that would also serve as romantic getaways with that special someone. They're in no particular order, but if you still haven't decided on where to go this summer, maybe this will help =)

Mallorca - Spain

Beautiful island with everything located within a 1 hour drive - I recommend renting a car. Lots of rustic villages for you to stroll through. Have a seat at a small intimate cafe or restaurant and enjoy the scenery. There are caves to be explored and white sandy beaches for swimming. If you have kids that you'd like to bring along, Mallorca is a really family friendly place.



Carcassonne - France

A medieval fortress city, this town is perfect for romantic strolls through cobblestone streets lined with cute boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Go for a boat-ride on the river outside the city wall, visit the majestic cathedral or take a tour of the castle.



Bornholm - Denmark

This island in the Baltic is a popular holiday spot for Danes and Swedes alike. Surrounded by steep cliffs and beeches, it offers many opportunities for nature walks and swimming. The villages offer colorful cottages with climbing roses and cobblestone streets, or if you'd like something completely different, check out the round Templar churches - the only ones of their kind in the world.



Prague - Czech Republic

Prague is just beautiful. It offers plenty of romantic walking opportunities and outdoor dining. The castle looks as though it's taken straight out of a fairytale. Enjoy the view of the city from one of the bridges or go for a quiet boat-ride on the river.



Die romantische strasse - Germany

The romantic route. You'll need to rent a car for this, but the drive is totally worth it. You'll see some of the most beautiful scenery that Europe has to offer while visiting some very cute and romantic towns on the way. Take a week and just enjoy!



The Alps - Swizerland

Here's another driving opportunity. Stop along the way to enjoy the splendid mountain views, go for a hike or take a stop in one of the mountain towns on your way. If you feel like a larger city, head over to Zurich. Here you'll find old churches and lots of dining opportunities - fondue is a Swizz dish, perfect for a romantic evening.



Salzburg - Austria

If you'd like to enjoy an evening of classical music, this is the place. It's a lovely town with lots of historic buildings, including the house where Mozart was born. Many opportunities for quiet strolls through quaint little streets. Visit the castle or the magnificent cathedral.



Luxemburg - Luxemburg

Another gem that will take your breath away. Filled with historic buildings, this picturesque city is well worth a visit. Enjoy a boat ride on the river, stroll through the historic center, visit the cathedral, the ducal palace or the Sunday market.



Thursday, April 2, 2015

Author Publicity - The Book Trailer

I think most authors agree that once the book has been written, there's still a lot of work to be done raising awareness about it and getting people to buy it. Writing for a large publishing house like Harper Collins, definitely helps, because there's always a publicist ready to assist. She writes the press release that goes out to major reviewers, helps set up my blog tour and even brainstorms blog post ideas with me. But there are many other PR things that I do by myself. One tool that I like to use for publicity purposes, is a book trailer. I've made one for most of my books so far, using either stock photos or parts of the book covers that I've cut segments from, pasted into Windows Movie Maker and added text and music to. It wasn't hard, but it was time consuming. However, it still allows for an interesting way in which to pitch your book idea/vibe to readers without spending any money.
Here's an example of a couple I've made:





Starting out as a new author, I wanted to save all of my earnings, which meant that I did everything - and I do mean EVERYTHING - by myself, from my website, to my author pictures, to the book trailers and whatever lies in between. I can't say that I've made it rich since then, but I am at a point where I can afford to outsource a few things in order to make my life easier and allow for more time with my family. When I stumbled across the book trailer for The School For Good And Evil, I fell in love and immediately contacted the creators behind it. Turns out that something like this would cost me as much as a brand new sedan - maybe not a Benz or an Audi, but you get the picture. Yes, it's expensive, but it's also pretty amazing - check it out:



Anyways, it was completely out of the question for me so I decided to look at other options. Turns out there's a really awesome company called Book Candy Studios who makes stunning trailers at really affordable prices. They're extremely professional and lovely to work with. In fact, they're making a trailer for Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires right now & I am so utterly excited about it!!! (Will post as soon as it's ready =D)
For an example of their work, check out the trailer they made for Alexandra Hawkins. In my opinion, it's absolutely perfect and so indicative of her style:



To find out more about Book Candy Studios, check out their website at: http://www.bookcandystudios.com/

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Inspiration behind Thorncliff Manor

World building is one of my favorite things when it comes to writing, and in my new series, Secrets At Thorncliff Manor, I've had so many opportunities to be creative. For inspiration, I started out with the general idea of Las Vegas having themed hotels, and then converted this idea into an estate with themed salons. I've looked at numerous pictures of British castles and interesting locations throughout Europe and other parts of the world, combining all of my favorite elements. The result, is the most magnificent guesthouse England has ever seen.
I present to you, Thorncliff Manor.


Owned by Lady Duncaster, an eccentric widow with a penchant for cake, Thorncliff sits firmly upon the English countryside, located between Bournemouth and Portsmouth. Though little of the original structure remains visible, Thorncliff was initially built during the twelfth century by a knight named William Holden. Since then, each generation has expanded on it, creating a vast edifice with a total of 187 rooms, fifty of which are bedchambers. There are eight themed salons decorated in unique styles that pay tribute to some of the wonderful places Lady Duncaster visited with her late husband, like India and China.
 

The conservatory is quite possibly the finest one in Europe, modeled after the orangerie at the Versailles Palace, albeit with more glass to allow for a more outdoors feel. The impressive library, housing a vast variety of books that have been collected over the centuries, is 180 feet in length with comfortable seating arrangements located throughout in order to encourage reading or simply a bit of quiet conversation in good company.
 

Other notable rooms include the smoking room, the dining room (with space for one hundred guests), the gaming room, the ballroom, the music room and the exercise room.







Heading outside onto a sprawling terrace, tables and chairs set amidst potted plants and climbing roses, provide the guests with a wonderfully relaxing environment in which to enjoy their afternoon tea. Seated here, one has a direct view of the front lawn and the lake that lies beyond it. A frigate, now used for outdoor dining, can be seen – it is named The Endurance and was purchased many years ago by the late Lord Duncaster as gift for his wife – a memento since they once traveled aboard it together. To the right of this, is a Chinese pavilion, perfect for enjoying a quiet talk, a cup of tea or a midnight kiss.



Following the lake to the left, one will find the rose garden, and beyond it, an elaborate maze that can take a fair amount of time to get through. On the opposite side of the lake lies the forest, along with other lawns belonging to the estate, the chapel, and a path leading toward a grotto. Of course, no estate of this size and history would be complete without hidden tunnels and passageways, so Thorncliff does have several of those as well, many of which have not yet been explored.
Rumor does have it that a treasure can be found on the estate, but Lady Duncaster isn’t convinced, even though some of her guests are quite determined to find it. Who knows how lucky they’ll be?


If you'd like to know more, please visit my website at www.sophiebarnes.com
The first book in the series, Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires, goes on sale April 28th and is available now for pre-order