Sunday, February 28, 2016

Celebrating #8WeeksOfBridgertons

Celebrating #8WeeksOfBridgertons with one of the most memorable romance families of all time.

When Julia Quinn invited me to pick my favorite Bridgerton novel, there was no doubt in my mind about which to choose. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton will always be the most significant romance novel I own. It changed my life in a very surprising way, by opening my eyes to the possibilities of romance writing. Below is a quote from a scene that I’ll never forget – the one in which Colin finds Penelope looking at his journal without his permission:

~ He threw the leather-bound book carelessly onto a nearby chair and crossed his arms. "And do you make a habit of reading the personal letters of others?"
"No, of course not. But it was open and—" She gulped, recognizing how awful the excuse sounded the second the words left her lips. "It's a public room," she mumbled, somehow feeling like she had to finish her defense. "Maybe you should have taken it with you."
"Where I went," he ground out, still visibly furious with her, "one doesn't ordinarily take a book."
"It's not very big," she said, wondering why why why she was still talking when she was so clearly in the wrong.
"For the love of God," he exploded. "Do you want me to say the word chamberpot in your presence?" ~

What's your favorite Bridgerton scene?

Friday, February 26, 2016

His Scandalous Kiss - Pre-order Promo

Falling Into Bed With A Duke by Lorraine Heath

~A deliciously well crafted story with vivid characters that you'll want to hug and keep close to you heart ~

Where to begin...This story was simply spectacular! The setting was creative, the characters were strong, memorable and lovable, the dialogue was smart and entertaining. 

This is the first book in Lorraine Heath's new Hellions of Havisham series. The Duke of Ashebury is a keen adventurer with a passion for photography. When he's not travelling the world with his closest friends, he immerses himself in more scandalous activities, all in the hope of distracting himself from the devastating loss of his parents who perished in a train accident when he was a child.

Minerva Dodgers, on the other hand, is tired of being courted by fortune hunting suitors, for she knows very well that they would never give her a second glance if it wasn't for her enormous dowry. But she also dreams of experiencing the sort of passion that can only be found in the arms of a man who truly desires her.

Determined to take matters into her own hands, she dons a mask, disguising herself as Lady V, and then does what no other innocent young lady would dream of attempting, by visiting the scandalous Nightingale club. Here she encounters Ashe, a man so out of Minerva's reach that he might as well be standing on the moon. But when he begins showing a great deal of interest in Lady V, Minerva decides to grasp the chance he's giving her, to experience that which she knows she can never have as her true self.

As temptation draws these two together, however, a game of cat and mouse ensues. For Ashe no longer wants anyone other than Lady V to keep his demons at bay. More than that, he's also determined to have Minerva, in spite of her fears.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to those of you who enjoy intriguing romances with scandal lurking around every corner.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Dangerous Duke of Dinnisfree by Julie Johnstone

WOW! Julie Johnstone does it again!!! The twists & turns in the Dangerous Duke of Dinnisfree will leave you completely amazed!
Doing whatever she can to keep her mother safe & out of Bedlam while caring for her invalid Father, Arabella relies on no one but herself & will attempt any means to do so. Due to circumstances beyond her control she is thrust into intrigue, royal secrets & the arms of the Duke of Dinnisfree.
Justin Holleman, the Duke of Dinnisfree learned at an early age to protect his heart. As a spy for the King denying any emotion has served him well. That is until the King assigns him to retrieve some property of his from his latest mistress – things that could destroy the King & be devastating to the welfare of England. This mission throws him into the arms of a very delightful Arabella Cartwright.
Secrets, twists, things you won’t see coming make this a 10 star read. Julie Johnstone is a longtime favorite & continues to be so! You must grab this book for your reading enjoyment – BUT be prepared – it will have your heart pounding!!

Review courtesy of Dee Foster

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Wagers Gone Awry by Collette Cameron

The Misses Culpepper...sisters & cousins who live on the dairy farm that was owned by the father of the oldest Miss Culpepper & her sister. Upon the father's death the farm is inherited by a distant relative who becomes their guardian. This guardian has no use for the girls or the farm & "allows" them to live there with Brooke, the oldest, in charge & their only allowance being half of what the dairy brings in (which isn't much).

Monday, February 15, 2016

Is it a sidewalk or a pavement?

When it comes to writing historical novels, accuracy is vital, no matter the genre, for the simple reason that anachronisms jump out at the reader as if they'd been written in big bold letters. And believe me, readers are bound to notice if one of your characters uses the wrong form of address or mentions an item that wasn't yet invented at the time in which your story takes place.
Attending British schools for twelve years has definitely been of great value to my writing. Yes, I've made mistakes, but I've always done my best to use the British term rather than the American term when necessary. This has proved to be a bit of a contradictory experience since spelling has to be American, using color instead of colour. My most challenging word - the one I probably get wrong most often, is the color gray which I instinctively write as grey
But, these are just a few minor differences. A few greater ones are as follows, courtesy of  the 

British EnglishAmerican English
action replayinstant replay
agony auntadvice columnist
Allen keyAllen wrench

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine' Day Giveaway

Wishing you all a wonderful Valentine's Day Weekend! I'll be giving away one of my books in e-book format (Kindle or Nook) - winner's choice. The winner will be picked at random on February 15th.
To participate, please click HERE

To Trust A Rogue by Christi Caldwell

Marcus, Viscount Wessex, has determined that when he marries it will be a typical ton marriage – business transaction only. Love, an emotion he buried long ago, only breaks the heart. A lesson he learned long ago at the hands of a lying miss. Which makes his sister’s friend, who is the antithesis of the girl who broke his heart, an excellent choice WHEN he decides to marry.

Mrs. Eleanor Collins swore she would never return to London – the place of her great love & her greatest fear. When circumstances beyond her control force her & her daughter to return she tries to convince herself she will never run into the love of her life – the man she still loves. Alas, fate has different plans.

A chance meeting shows Marcus he still holds onto his anger but there are deeper feelings still there. It shows Eleanor the extent of hurt her lying to him then fleeing all those years ago. As they spend more & more time together will they be unable to deny the love that is still between them? Will outside forces conspire to tear them apart? As events transpire that hint there was more to Eleanor’s defection will Marcus pay attention & will she have the courage to trust him with the details of that fateful night? When Eleanor’s greatest fear comes to pass will she run again or will Marcus be able to convince her to stay?

A superb piece of writing by the extremely talented Christi Caldwell. Her stories engage a range of emotions & pull you into the story. To Trust a Rogue is no exception! Anger, fear, shame, matchmaking, evil, distrust & best of all love abound in this latest installment of The Heart of the Duke series. Ms. Caldwell proves once again why she’s one of my favorite authors & I am looking forward to her next novel.

Review courtesy of Dee Foster 
Sophie Barnes Ambassador extraordinaire

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Creating memorable characters

As a writer, I don't think there's anything wrong with thinking of fictional characters as 'real people'. If anything, doing so just makes them more life-like and memorable. Now that I'm starting work on a new series and getting to know the characters who will perform in the novel that I'm busily mapping out, I'm trying to figure out which qualities set them apart and what makes them tick. Doing so ahead of time is crucial, for the simple reason that you cannot know how a character will react in certain situations unless you understand who they are as people. So, as I work through the plot and try to figure out what my character is going to do next or how they'll respond to certain situations, I always ask myself, why? In fact, why, is probably the most important question a writer can ask themself. In other words, what is your character's motivation? What's driving them? Are they self-conscious and shy because they were picked on in childhood? Do they have attachment issues because someone they loved once left them? Do they love a particular story because it's what their mother used to read to them at bedtime?
I have often been told by readers that my characters tend to be fun and quirky. That's because I love adding flaws and oddities to their personalities - something that will make them just a little different and, in turn, more interesting. In my Secrets At Thorncliff Manor series, Thorncliff Manor was run by the incomparable Lady Duncaster who was often seen wearing gowns that were fashionable in her youth. She loved eating cake for breakfast and recalled her late husband as the greatest love of her life. As a result, she always hoped that others would find a similar love for themselves, which makes this lady something of a love-match advocate.
And then there's Lady Sarah (Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires) who has a pet hamster named Snowball. Why? Because she's able to carry him with her in her pocket, keep him hidden from her awful stepmother (showing off a bit of rebelliousness) and allows readers to see, through her interaction with Snowball, the depth of Sarah's kindness.
Sometimes certain character attributes will be revealed to me after I start writing because I suddenly realize that they should obviously be an only child instead of having siblings or there needs to be more drama in their past to propel them forward in the present.
As a guide however, I'm adding my character profile sheet below. I fill this out for both the hero and the heroine before I start writing. Once complete, I include a briefer outline for the supporting characters who also need to have motivation. And remember, the key to writing a compelling villain, is to remember that he/she is the hero of their own story.

Character name: 
1.      Outline a short history of his (or her) life.
·        Place & Date of birth/neighborhood type:
·        Parents: 
·        Siblings:
·        Schooling: 
·        Childhood friends:
·        Teenage friends: 
·        Adult friends: 
·        Doesn’t get along with:
·        Job: 
·        Favorite food: 
·        Hobby: 
·        Favorite color:
·        Perfect vacation: 
·        Aspires to:
·        Favorite authors: 
·        Most treasured possession:
·        Favorite school subject:  
·        Relationship to father: 
·        Relationship to mother: 
·        Relationship to siblings:
·        Childhood:
·        Adolescence:
·        Adulthood:
·        Best childhood memory:
·        Best recent memory:
·        Major emotional events:
·        Important personality traits:
·        Medical history:
·        Secret:
·        Biggest Fear: 

Additionally, I do tend to create a private Pinterest board for book development. On here I will typically post pictures of real people who look like the characters I have in mind since this helps solidify their appearance. I'll also include images of clothes that I think they would wear, houses where they would live along with pictures of potential pets. Another tip is to base your characters on real historical characters, because sometimes researching a Captain who actually went to war and fought for England, might lead to a wealth of information.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Modern Princes and Princesses - the real fairy tale stories part 3

Oh my goodness, I completely forgot about the modern princes and princesses!!! There was the Scandinavian monarchy followed by the British, and then I got sidetracked by other stuff and forgot to post about the Spanish, Belgian and Dutch...
And a lot has happened in these monarchies during the past three years. Three new kings and queens have been crowned after King Juan Carlos of Spain, King Albert of Belgium and Queen Beatrix of Holland decided to abdicate. Personally, I think the older monarchs should be allowed to enjoy a proper retirement while their children take center stage. For King Albert especially it seemed like a necessary choice since he was having some health problems at the time. Queen Beatrix and King Juan Carlos on the other hand simply felt that it was time for the throne to be held by a new generation. As former King Juan Carlos stated in his televised address: "A new generation must be at the forefront...younger people with new energies."

For BBC coverage of the abdication of King Juan Carols, click HERE
For BBC coverage of the abdication of King Albert II, click HERE
For BBC coverage of the abdication of Queen Beatrix, click HERE

King Felipe & Queen Letizia of Spain

Wedding day splendor, 2004

Newly crowned, 2014

King Philippe & Queen Mathilde of Belgium

Wedding splendor, 1999

Newly crowned, 2013

King Willem-Alexander & Queen Maxima of Holland

Wedding splendor, 2002

Newly crowned, 2013