Monday, November 03, 2014

November Newsletter





Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness! And of my summer holiday!
My daughter and I planned to go to Florence in the summer, but we looked at the projected temperatures and thought – Nope! – so we’re going later this month.
I can’t wait. Florence is one of my favourite cities in the world. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, and small enough to walk around. I’ve also been looking at flights to the States for RT next year, but they’re sky-high. At least I hope they are, because if they’re not, I’m in trouble!
Travel is an important part of my life, but in the Georgian era, it was far more difficult and took a lot longer. It could take five days to get from York to London, for instance! A lot depended on how much you could afford, if you had your private vehicle and the pace you were prepared to go.
Even my characters in this month’s release, “Mad For Love,” were subject to the travel restrictions of the time. Unless they could fly, and we haven’t seen that one yet.
This book is all about Bacchus, a character who has fascinated me for most of my life. Bacchus is a god of opposites, and of the world turned upside down. So he is king when the mad rule the world, he is the man who drives people to a trance-like frenzy with wine and dance and song.
My favourite painting is Titian’s “Bacchus and Ariadne.” It’s a revolutionary painting, from a history of art point of view, with terrifying risks taken with colour and a geometry that a younger artist wouldn’t even attempt. If you’re in the mood, try drawing the triangles in the painting, following the obvious points.
But apart from the technical brilliance of the work, it’s a painting about falling in love. Ariadne’s lover, Theseus, has just sailed off and abandoned her (you can see the sails of his ship in the distance) and Bacchus, leading a procession of his Bacchantes, sees her and falls instantly in love with her. In the sky you can see the constellation he created for her crown.
Their eyes are meeting for the first time, and they’re in love.
How could I resist? So writing this book is even more exciting for me. In this, Bacchus is an eighteenth century nobleman, and he finds his love in the daughter of one of his enemies. He knows her mother is his enemy, but in order to defeat her, he has to find out who she is, to discover her attributes and defeat her with them. And he has to rescue his lady from her mother’s schemes. But in doing so, he unwittingly repeats some of the motifs from his own legend.
(It’s a dollar cheaper at Samhain!)
I went to the Imperial War Museum this summer, which has just reopened after a 4 year facelift. Originally, the museum was the Bethlem Hospital, better known as Bedlam. So I could have a good look at the building, and talk to the curators about the restoration. They have discovered a lot of features of the original building, like some places in the stone where chains had been driven, and bars at the windows. Grim. But from a research point of view, fascinating.
And let’s not forget the reason the War Museum was built. Britain has been commemorating the First World War all year. It began a hundred years ago this year, and resulted in the death of a generation of young men. On November 11th we have Armistice day, and the second Sunday in November is Remembrance Sunday. On the 11th hour of the 11th day every year there is a minute’s silence for the fallen. This year it will be even more poignant.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

October Newsletter - Jacobites and a new release!

 

October, phew! My friend Kathryn Falk told me that Mercury was in retrograde, which is rarely a good thing for writers. Most of my work has been busywork, and some of it has been huge fun. Others, not so much.
Shall we get the “not so much” over with?
Ellora’s Cave. You’ve probably seen all the posts around the net. I’m an Ellora’s Cave author, and behind all the fuss about freedom of speech and court cases, there are eight hundred authors and thirty or so editors, cover artists and support staff who would love to be paid. Failing that, to get their rights back.
Because the only clause they are currently accepting for rights reversion means low sales, I’ve taken my Ellora’s Cave books off my website, pending a decision. I did it with enormous regret, because I love those books. I never write a book with less than my whole heart in the writing, but maybe one day I can offer them for sale again. There are nineteen, including Pure Wildfire, STORM and Nightstar series.
There, that’s done now. The one thing I have learned is to move on to whatever comes next.
But I have other books and other projects, so I’m concentrating on those. At the moment it’s historicals. I am still loving writing both the Even Gods Fall In Love and Emperors of London series. Romantic Historical Reviews featured a piece I wrote about the Jacobites and their influence on the people of the eighteenth century here:
And just look at those gorgeous covers!
The next Emperors book is out in November. So is the next Gods book, so you’ll have a double dose of historicals next month!
This month sees a re-release of a Department 57 book. “Topaz Delirium” is one of my favourites, the story of a model and a fashion designer, who happen to be secret agents for the Department. Jasper actually runs the French section, and his secret is very dark.
I would love to write more Department books, but at the moment it’s not looking likely, maybe because I have all those other books to write!
And I’ve been spending money like it’s going out of fashion. Getting my tax return in, booking for RT next year, and preparing for a holiday in Florence has taken time. Don’t you feel sorry for me? (The answer is “No!”) I’ll take some pictures and put them online, I promise!

This month’s release: out on the 13th October

Someone is killing vampires with a new drug and the only people who can discover the source are Svetlana Yevchenko, top model and Jasper, head and chief designer of the House of Lebec and the head of Dept 57 in France.
Svetlana wants Jasper, and he wants her. But they can never give in because Jasper is cursed and through all the lives he remembers no woman has survived the curse. An affair might weaken their attraction to each other – or it might strengthen it.
Svetlana is the greatest temptation Jasper has ever tried to resist but their relationship can never be more than sex. As the latest Dept 57 assignment throws them together, their resistance weakens to the point of total, steaming breakdown. The more they fight the attraction, the deeper it gets.
But when the assignment is over they must face their fate. Again.


Lynne Connolly

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Back from the Cave

Ellora's Cave has reverted the rights back to me of my unpublished work (yay!). When we were informed of the change in editorial policy, I asked for my rights back. Although they had the right to do as they planned, I felt it wasn't in the spirit of the contract, and I was extremely unhappy that they changed it. Now I have the books back.
 I'll list them here. And I'm going to say it straight out. If anyone is interested in these books, they are back in my possession and available to be contracted.
All this publicity might as well do some good, right? So here I am, pitching.

1. A trilogy about a scandal set in Washington, DC. With dragons and other paranormal creatures originally planned as a STORM miniseries. This is in proposal, not yet written. Once I've tweaked it, it can be a standalone trilogy, or the start of a new series.
2. Last Enchantment. A full manuscript. It's about a woman with incredible psychic powers, and those powers rely on her virginity. Six months before the story starts, she's raped, and  now she's trying to find a new purpose in life. The hero is a vampire earl-spy who helps her do that. I'm thinking of rewriting him as a dragon. This was written as part of the STORM series, but I'd love to do a bit of rewriting and refresh the whole concept. 
3. Her Dark Star. A full manuscript. A rock band manager who is a bit of a slob, meets a woman who used to be a girl pop star. They're both guest judges on a reality show. He cleans up, she smartens up and they fall in love. It was written as the last book in the Nightstar series, but with some light rewriting, could form the start of the new rock star series that I was creating before all the waste matter inappropriately struck the air distribution system.

So there you have it. Three stories I'm very proud of looking for new homes. I could self-publish, but that takes a lot of time and money, and right now I don't have a lot of either. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ellora's Cave

This is just to state my case. I’m not asking anyone to do anything or to help me, just so people are aware of where I stand in this.
As some of you know I was involved in a similar case years ago. Triskelion went bankrupt and took around 70 authors with it. Ellora’s Cave authors number in the hundreds. This is much bigger, and could potentially be nastier. If management turns the situation around, then I will be the first to applaud them, but I cannot agree with some of the methods they are employing to do that.
I joined Ellora’s Cave in 2007 and for most years since earned good money and was treated well by them. I enjoyed my time there because I was never asked to be “one of the family,” they paid on time, the cover art was lovely, and the editing was rigorous, but excellent.
This year my royalties plummeted so alarmingly that I had to make some serious decisions about working with the publisher. Also, the quality of the cover art is way down, since they fired the artistic directors earlier in the year. The prices of the books are way above the prices any of my other publishers charge. (In my opinion, the nature of erotic romance has changed drastically since the publication of “50 Shades of Grey” took pseudo-BDSM mainstream, and the books once considered erotic are now better marketed as “hot” or “steamy").
Now things have changed and I’ve been forced to ask for my rights back. I have 19 published books with EC. Two unpublished manuscripts are in the editing queue and have been for over twelve months. I’ve had a response on the two unpublished ones. A form response on the others.
No, I can’t have my rights back on those two. If I don’t cooperate with the editing, Ellora’s Cave will exercise its contractual right to edit and publish the books anyway. If those books do come out, I will make a statement to say I had nothing to do with the editing and the books are released without my cooperation. After that, it’s up to the reader to decide.
By “editing,” they mean “light editing.” The editors are not even allowed to alter spelling mistakes, because that would be changing the “author’s voice.” So a worse-than-spellcheck scenario. That is not what I have come to expect from Ellora’s Cave, and not what was in the spirit or the intent of my contract. I cannot in all conscience agree with the new policy.
For security reasons, Ellora’s Cave has always kept its financial records, including royalties and author payments, on a separate, non-networked computer, which is restricted to a very few members of staff. Last year they announced a new system, but since they still say they're unable to wire our royalties direct to our banks, I'm not sure what has changed. Except that it led to a lot of delays in payments. 
Some people have already noticed that I have taken my Ellora’s Cave titles down from my website and blog. That is pending their decision about reversion and my queries about royalty concerns.
Sadly, I’ve taken the decision not to send them any future work until the current situation is resolved. If you do buy one of my Ellora’s Cave books, I’m unlikely to see the royalties from it. But if you love my writing, I’m only grateful you want to read my books and I truly hope you enjoy it.

Once I regain those titles, I’ll be selling them elsewhere or re-editing and self-publishing them. 
I’m proud of what I did at Ellora’s Cave and the editors I worked with, Briana, Jillian and Justin, and the cover artists, Syneca and Will. 
They have all gone now, and so have I. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

September Newsletter

So I got up, turned on my computer and there was a strange smell. Then smoke started curling up the back of my monitor.
Oh dear. I switched it off before it could actually burst into flames, and so I’ve spent most of the day shopping for a new one. I have edits to get in and books to write!
So this newsletter is a day late. Sorry!
Last month I carried on writing the next book in the Even Gods Fall In Love series. What a treat it is to get back to historicals! I do love writing them, going into a different world and writing about people who live there. The one I’m writing concerns Mercury, who you’ll meet in Mad For Love, Bacchus’s story, the second in the series.
There have been some odd coincidences and things that have made this series somewhat spooky. For instance, in Bacchus’s world, mazes feature a lot. He’s the god of wine and madness, so mazes are his thing. What was there a craze for in the mid eighteenth century? Mazes! Tada! That’s only one thing that’s happened. I recently introduced a new character, a nymph, and when I looked up her mythology, she turned out to be the future wife of one of my favourite characters. Blending ancient myth and historical romance has been pure win.
After my frantic gadding about it was nice to get back to my desk, exploding monitors apart. I’ve even joined the world of the mechanical keyboard!
I’m also planning to write the next Emperors of London book. I am wallowing in historicals right now and enjoying every minute.
Unfortunately I haven’t had too much time for contemporaries, and even worse, I seem to have temporarily lost my mojo for them. I’m writing paranormals under a new pseudonym and they are going fine, so I should be happy that those things are going so well. I even got in the Amazon top ten with the pseudonym. I guess that makes me a best seller!
This month there will be a Department 57 re-release. Crystal Tides, another in the Crystal miniseries. When all the series is out, I’ll do a box set of all four. I’ve really enjoyed seeing my backlist get a new lease of life, and the new covers are gorgeous. I was sorry to lose the Loose-Id covers but the new ones are lovely, too.
There will be another in the Thorndykes series out next month. That’s the Regency rakes, who were turned into vampires and shape-shifters, falling in love with women in today’s world. The first one found his lady in Texas in “Dispossessed.” More about “Dancing at Midnight” next month!
Sorry this one is all about books. That’s my thing, you see. Books, reading and writing. This year has been frantic, but deeply enjoyable.

I’m starting to look at flights for RT in Dallas next year, and I’m thinking about stopping in New York on the way, because I love the city and it makes the flights far more bearable. International flying is getting worse, but it’s still manageable. Does anyone have any tips for travelling light? I need formal clothes, informal ones and tough ones for the ranch when I go to stay with Kathryn Falk. A bit of a tall order!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

New release, new series! Rogue in Red Velvet - Families fight with swords drawn!

Out today! The first in an exciting new series. Families feud and Pretenders have one last attempt at power. And men and women fall in love.
Buy the book at Kensington here, or at Amazon, or at iTunes.

If Connie loses her standing in society, she risks losing everything…except Alex.
When country widow Constance Rattigan finds herself in a notorious London brothel instead of at the altar, only one person can save her from the auction block. Alex Vernon walked away from Connie once before, when he discovered her engagement. Now that her fiancé has betrayed her, Lord Ripley doesn’t intend to leave her again. But Connie has other ideas… She won’t marry him until her name is cleared.
Alex decides to make Connie’s wishes come true, but it’s not that easy, even with the help of his powerful relatives known as the Emperors of London.


Extract: 

The Auction for Connie:



Tension knotted Alex's stomach and he only pretended to sip the wine one of the 'slave girls' had handed him.
He remained languidly draped over his chair, handkerchief held elegantly, every muscle, every nerve under rigid control.
The girl stared out at the audience but because her eyes were so dark, he couldn’t tell if sheer terror or drugs kept her rooted to the spot. She swallowed as the half-naked man playing the slave master sold her for three hundred guineas. Bidding was brisk and the girl went to Lord Tyrone, who would at least treat her with kindness. His for the night. She was not announced as a virgin.
Next, came the first declareded virgin, a fresh-faced girl who probably came straight off the coach. She was definitely drugged. Her eyelids drooped and she staggered.
Cratchitt caught and straightened her once more.
Alex held his fire and she sold to a man for five hundred.
The trouble with watching something like this was that he wanted to buy them all, or at least the drugged ones, and set them free. Someone had lured them into this. That would play perfectly into Dankworth’s hands. But he feared the man planned more.
Some ‘slave auctions’ were good-natured, lascivious fun, the girls willing, the virgins of the mock-maiden variety. This was certainly not one of those. It was disgusting, the girls drugged or scared.
Cratchitt hadn’t even tried to hide that some of the girls were drugged. They were here for dangerous play, the kind that could kill them.
Dankworth would not win.
The next girl on the block was definitely drugged, her steps sluggish, her eyes half-closed, and she was not advertised as a virgin. Had Cratchitt checked? Of course she had, the bitch.
She’d probably examined Connie, too. Infuriated, Alex shifted in his chair. He could only wait, get Connie out of here and then put events in train. The girl wore a shift, which drooped over her chest. She was skinny, with tiny breasts, her bones protruding, her skin stretched over them. If Cratchitt had any sense she’d have looked after the stock better than this. A servant girl, maybe, looking for honest work and finding this instead.
“What do I have for this handsome wench?” The slave master tucked his whip under the girl’s chin, forcing her head up. “Jest lookit her hair, gentlemen. Down to her backside. Your own personal harness to control her with!”
The room fell silent. Cratchitt nudged the girl and she yelped. Probably less of a nudge and more a pinch. “All scrubbed this morning. All the girls here are guaranteed clean inside and out!”
At last, Alex raised his hand. Costly lace fell back from his wrist.
The auctioneer saw him immediately. “A hundred, sir?”
Alex shook his head. “Fifty,” he suggested. “And I’m being generous.” He couldn’t bear it. This girl would die before too many days were out if she wasn’t attended to. He couldn’t let that happen.
Nobody else bid. The girls that had gone before had at least a chance and he would have a quiet word with their ‘owners,’ if he thought it necessary. He memorized the name of every man in the room. Alex let his lip curl in a sneer. Why not tell them what he thought of them?
Cratchitt brought the girl over.
Alex gestured a nearby chair. “Sit her there. I’ve not finished yet.”
The girl shot him a disinterested look then closed her eyes. Alex poked her. She was dangerously close to falling into a deep, dreamless sleep, the kind people rarely woke from. She came to with a start and sat upright.
A buxom blonde followed, alert and chirpy, giving back what they sent her. A willing slave. She fetched a good price.
Then a woman, honey-colored hair trailing over her face in bedraggled tails. She wore a shift and a pair of blue brocade stays, cinched so tight that her ample bosom swelled with every breath.
Connie.
Normally Alex would find the quivering of such sweet flesh enticing. Not tonight. He felt every pinch of that tight lacing, every short breath she took as if it was his own. Look at me. I’m here. I won’t let them hurt you anymore.
The slave master grabbed a handful of hair and jerked up her head. Connie’s chin jutted out and her eyes, red-rimmed and watery, stared sightlessly into the room. All Alex’s muscles tightened as he resisted the urge to leap onto that damned block and grab her, cover her with his coat, hide her from the leering eyes of the crowd. Fury and sense warred and sense won. Barely and only for her sake. He had to get her out of here and if he tried violence, the room, rendered volatile by excitement and strong drink, would erupt.
The wine had its effect and the audience was yelling and hooting their approval. “That’s better!” someone cried. “I’ll give her something to wake her up!”
Alex would kill him.
Again, she wasn’t introduced as a virgin and Alex gritted his teeth, adding to the mental tally of what this Cratchitt bitch owed him. She’d had her hands all over Connie’s sweet skin. The slave master began his chat but calls from the audience almost drowned him out. They liked her.
Connie swayed as if she’d fall off the block. A tiny thread of drool slid out of the corner of her mouth but Mrs. Cratchitt took care of it with a rough swipe from a cloth. Connie flinched. If Alex had ever felt like hitting a woman, now was the time.
“Three hundred for Rattigan!” Dankworth cried.
Fury rose to choke Alex. How could he bandy her name like that?
The bastard was making sure everybody knew her name. Alex gritted his teeth and forced his temper down. He needed all his wits about him now.
Alex held his fire and let them bid. Occasionally Dankworth sent him a triumphant grin but Alex remained grimly silent, a supercilious smile firmly planted on his lips. He yawned again and shifted in his chair. Let them fight it out.
When the bidding had reached a pitch of intensity, but only in the hundreds he opened his mouth. “Five thousand.”
The room fell silent and the audience turned as a man and gaped at him.
He shrugged. “If we only have them for one night, we’d best get on with it, hadn’t we? With her, I’ll have my two.”
Murmurs followed his remark and a few “Hear hears,” too. Maybe they’d come straight from the debating chamber. But he’d made his point.
Nobody else wanted to pay more than five thousand guineas for the woman. After all, she was no virgin. They had Cratchitt’s word for that. When Lord Spinder opened his mouth and made a move with his hand, Alex met his gaze and let the smile drop. Gratifyingly, he received a shame-faced shrug and one man, standing at the back, nod in approval. An ally.
This wasn’t right and some of them knew it.
Thanks to Mother Cratchitt, no doubt coached by Jasper Dankworth, everyone in this room knew the name of the woman here tonight. Alex didn’t know if it was possible to recover from that. But she was barely recognizable from the woman he’d met at the Downhollands’. That could work in his favor.
Two bullies half-carried, half-dragged Connie off the block toward Alex. She staggered and stumbled, more asleep than awake.
He stood as they approached and swept her up, one arm under her knees and the other around her back, pillowing her head on his shoulder. Her hair straggled over the fine red velvet of his coat. The last time he’d seen it, she’d swept it up into a glossy knot, leaving a few curls to tease her shoulders saucily. He’d wanted her then. He wanted her now, God help him.
He nodded towards the other girl he’d bought. “Bring her,” he said curtly.
He strode from room, Mrs. Cratchitt abandoning her auction to chase him. The bully who’d shown him to his seat picked up the skinny girl as if she weighed nothing, which was probably not too far from the truth and followed him.
“This way, my lord,” the doxy crooned, gesturing to the stairs.
Alex spared her a scornful glance. “I think not.”
“Sir, you can’t take the girls out of this house. I bought them girls good and proper. You only get a night.”
Alex ignored her and headed down the stairs. Connie groaned and he took a moment to tuck her head more securely in the crook between his neck and shoulder.
“Sir, I’m warnin’ you—” Cratchitt’s accent grew less refined by the second.
He got to the bottom of the stairs and swung around, putting all his aristocratic hauteur into play. “I’ll warn you. Ask about me and who my friends are. Then try to make trouble.”
He was taking a risk because someone with influence and money had helped Cratchitt set this place up. “One peep from you and I’ll visit my lawyers. Abducting a respectable female could get you into more trouble than you want. And the other one?” He nodded at the skinny maid in the other man’s arms. “She’ll die if she isn’t cared for, I can see the signs. Do you want her dying here, or shall I take her to a hospital?”
“You can’t leave!”
“Watch me.”
He strode to the door and stood before it. The bully stationed there took a position before him and crossed his arms over his chest. Alex stared him out, his chin up, his eyelids lowered, looking down his nose at the man as if he meant nothing. Aristocratic hauteur often worked where swords wouldn’t. “Open the door,” he said quietly.
“Do it,” said the bully behind him. “This girl must have come in by accident, or somefink. She shouldn’t be here.”
At last, a man of sense.
The man in front of the door glanced over Alex’s shoulder. He must have received permission because he stepped back and flung the door wide. “And don’t come back!” Cratchitt shrieked after him.
Alex left the house with the other man at his heels, ignoring the madam’s shrieks that he should leave the other one behind. They raced down the steps and straight to the house next door.
The man stationed in front of it let them in without hesitation and slammed it in the faces of the pursuers.
 
http://lynneconnolly.com/rogue-in-red-velvet/

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

New Release and a Cover Reveal from Nancy Corrigan!


Today I have the huge pleasure of introducing you to the fabulous Nancy Corrigan, and her new release from Ellora's Cave.
While the excerpt is safe for work, the book surely isn't!


Hunter Betrayed
Nancy Corrigan

Wild Hunt, Book 1
Tainted from birth, Harley lives a life cloaked in darkness and temptation. She resists the lure of her evil legacy by holding the memory of her ghostly savior close. Every night without him is agony. She fantasizes about him and yearns for his body, but he’s not the protector or lover she’s envisioned. He’s a Hunter bred to eliminate her kind. He’s also her only hope of salvation.
Calan, the leader of the Wild Hunt, was created to protect mankind from the Unseelie Court. For a millennium, he’s sacrificed to ensure the horrid creatures remain in the Underworld, but his strength wanes. He must rely on his enemy’s daughter to save him, but he doesn’t expect the intensity of their lust or love. Her touch calms his wild nature and ignites his carnal desires. He’ll risk all to save her, but doing so forces him to make the ultimate sacrifice, one that’ll damn him to suffer forever in his own living hell.
A Romantica® Paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Excerpt

“Wh-who are y-you? What…” She focused on where his chest should be. He glanced down and saw the ground, not his body or even a ghostly apparition. “What are you? A g-ghost?”
“Not a ghost. I’m alive. I’m just not here.”
He stretched an invisible hand out… and touched her cheek. The surprise in connecting with her in a tangible manner nearly pulled him away from her. With mental fingers, he tugged her closer. He wouldn’t lose her.
Not now, not ever.
He slid a hand to her bottom and pressed her body flush to his. The cushion of her breasts stirred his lusts. His erection thickened in response to her nearness. Impossible, so he would’ve thought.
The half-breed fairy in his arms would one day become his enemy. A child of Dahm, she carried the chaotic taint he’d willingly invited into his body. It should’ve begun to corrupt her, turning her into a monster too. Yet…it hadn’t. Why?
Calan tipped her head back. Her dark blue eyes captivated him. Fear shown in them. After a moment, a desire to match his flared. He skimmed his fingertips over the contours of her angelic face. Possessiveness rose within him and mixed with an intense need to protect her. She was special. He sensed it, but didn’t have time to explore it.
“You need to run. You cannot allow them to steal the goodness you’ve managed to retain.” Because it belonged to him. So too did the female. He would claim both and she would be the one to free him.

Pre-Order Links (Releases SEPTEMBER 3, 2014)

Add to your Goodreads TBR list! Hunter Betrayed

Author Bio
Nancy Corrigan believes in unending love and epic tales with a paranormal flair. She enjoys transcending the boundaries of reality to take her readers on an erotic, emotional and romantic journey.
She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children. When she’s not weaving sizzling fantasies, she works as a chemist in a pharmaceutical lab.

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