Tuesday, August 17, 2021

More Ash and Juliana!

 

The second Ash and Juliana book is out this week!

Here's the blurb:

From glittering ballrooms to London’s dark underbelly, Ash & Juliana are back on the hunt for a murderer in the second installment of this thrilling historical mystery series from L.C. Sharp.

The London ton protect their own. Even when it comes to murder.

“There’s been an incident.”

In the finer circles of 1749 London, incident is apparently the polite way to describe discovering a body with a gruesome wound and no sign of the killer. But for newlyweds Lady Juliana and Sir Edmund “Ash” Ashendon, it’s a chance to track down the culprit and right a wrong—something they are both intimately familiar with.

Indeed, it is the only thing they are intimately familiar with. For the moment.

Though their marriage may be one of convenience, there’s nothing convenient about learning the victim has ties to a name from their past: the dreaded Raven. And the Raven isn’t the only danger they face. The aristocracy protects its own, and in London’s darkest corners, no one wants to be unmasked.

With Juliana’s life on the line, time is running out for Ash to find the killer before their marriage comes to an inconveniently bloody end.

Ash & Juliana

Book 1: The Wedding Night Affair
Book 2: The Sign of the Raven

The reviews are astonishingly good, and I'm thrilled to bits. To be honest, I was thrilled while I was writing it, because I know this series is one of the best things I've done. Everything is coalescing in this series - my love of the period, my love of the characters and the work I've done on this slow-burn of a series.

Slow burn to you, the reader, that is. I wrote the first version a few years ago, and my agent helped me hone it, but I already had a long vision for this series. I know where it is going to go, for the most part.

The characters, Ash, Juliana, their family and their friends and colleagues have a lot of story to come. In this book one situation is resolved, but another rears its head, and there will be a lot of trouble to come. Ash and Juliana have to stand firm to overcome it all.

In this book, Juliana confronts her parents, Ash confronts his feelings for his wife of convenience and they meet new friends, and allies. Meet Dr. Parrish, a surgeon who also lectures at the only surgeon's college at the time. A slave for the first few months of his life, Dr. Parrish is clever, modest and harshly kind. You might even love him as much as I do!

The enigmatic and dangerous Duke of Abercrombie makes an appearance, as does the journalist Ransom, who sticks Ash with a new nickname. He's set to make a fortune off his recounting of Ash and Juliana's exploits. Their Dr. Watson, you might say. And his sister, his guilty secret, the woman who made a new life for herself after escaping her abusive husband.

Not forgetting the scoundrelly duo of the child Col, and Cutty Jack, pickpocket, con man, and link-boy, who is heading for greater things. But not quite yet.

They're all there. After a murder of a man in the highest ranks of society, they all pitch in to help solve the crime, along with the king of London's underworld, The Raven. Ash learns more about The Raven, a secret that will rock his world.

I base the books on a real incident in history, this time the rehearsal of a grand fireworks show for which Handel wrote the music. The rehearsal went brilliantly (apart from the murder, which is my contribution to the story), but the real event, a week later, was a farce. Rain and fireworks don't do well together.

Anyway, here is the link to the book, and I really hope you enjoy it! The Sign of The Raven at Carina Press

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

New Book - New Name!

 

New Book – New Name!

An unlikely pair explores the darkest corners of London society in this thrilling historical mystery.

The year is 1748, and Lady Juliana Uppingham awakens in a pool of blood, with no memory of how her new husband ended up dead beside her. Her distaste for her betrothed was no secret, but even so, Juliana couldn’t possibly have killed him…could she?

Juliana’s only hope is Sir Edmund Ashendon, a dashing baronet with a knack for solving seemingly unsolvable crimes—and a reputation for trouble. A man as comfortable in the rookeries of St. Giles as he is in the royal court, Ash believes Juliana is innocent, though all signs point to her as the killer. He doesn’t expect to develop a soft spot for the spirited widow, one that only grows when escalating threats against Juliana force Ash to shelter her in his home.

When another body is found, it becomes clear that Juliana has been dragged into something much, much bigger than simply her husband’s murder. With a collection of deadly black-tipped feathers as their sole clue and a date at the end of a hangman’s noose looming, they’ll have to find the real killer—before it’s too late.

Buy the book here

Harlequin : Carina Press : Amazon : Apple Books : Barnes and Noble : Google Play : Kobo

Ash & Juliana
Book 1: The Wedding Night Affair
Book 2: The Sign of the Raven

All right, this is a bit different to my usual posts. But here we are.

I have a new book out, under a new name! Why a new name? Because Lynne Connolly writes romance, and L.C. Sharp writes historical mystery! These books are mystery/detective stories with a hint of romance, rather than romance with a touch of something else.

New look, too! Check out the website, lcsharp.com to see what I mean.

I didn’t want my romance readers expecting something from the book that isn’t there, so I took a lesson from others, and created a new name for the mystery books. Still set in the eighteenth century, where my heart is, mostly in London, but the same couple feature as central characters in every book. They meet and marry in the worst of circumstances, and build their lives over the following books, collecting new members of their team along the way.

Of course, I’ve written books like that before, but Richard and Rose turned into a deeply romantic pair, with family problems that dominated their stories. And I don’t usually write “pure” romance, there is usually another story attached. I’m thrilled to bits with this new series, so here we go!

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce Ash and Juliana to you! He is a lawyer who, unusually for the time, works on criminal cases. She is the sheltered daughter of a wealthy and influential aristocrat, who is married off to a brute, and widowed shortly after. Ash steps into the breach.

In writing this series I became aware that there was so much different to our legal system today, and I want to write a series of articles and blog posts about that, as time goes by.

Here’s the official details of the first book in the series. It’s published by Carina Press, who have been really helpful and supportive all the way through this enterprise.

I love this pair, and I love this series. I will most certainly be continuing with it. The second book, The Sign Of The Raven is out later this year.

Friday, April 09, 2021

April News(?)

 

I’ve been working on a new project, but it’s not romance, or not entirely romance, so that’s a new name. And I’m working on some proposals for my current publishers. Sadly, that doesn’t include Kensington. Although I don’t plan to reclaim the books I have there just yet, I won’t be active with them. Various reasons, but you do run your course with a publisher, or so I’ve found. I loved being there, especially in the early days, but things changed drastically in the last couple of years.

So the Society of Single Ladies is done at three books, but never fear, I have more stories planned, including a series I’ve wanted to write for ages now.

I also have a contemporary romance series that is a few years old, but I want to see it out in the public domain once more, so I’ll read it through and get it out again. It’s hotter than my historicals, some of the books bordering on the erotic, and it was great fun to write. At the time I wrote it, people were concentrating on BDSM as if it was the be-all and end-all. But I wanted to show there was much more to erotic romance than that!

Well, although I’m beavering away, there isn’t a great deal of actual news. I suspect most of us are in the same boat. We’ve been locked down for so long that our days are restricted to what we can do in our houses and locally. But I have discovered breadmaking, which I’ve been enjoying. So has my family, so I don’t have a picture to show you! Not banana bread though, because I don’t particularly like it.

I’ve had my first vaccine, and I get the second in May. So looking forward to this virus being done, although I don’t think it’s the last one we’ll see, sadly. I’d love to be wrong about that. I’m so looking forward to all the things I used to take for granted – a nice lunch in a beer garden, visiting my friends and actually going into their houses, the wine and board games parties my friends and I used to enjoy, so long ago, it seems!

 

Sorry about the brevity of this newsletter, but really, I don’t want to waste your time talking about things that you are probably doing yourselves. Except – please look after yourselves and be kind!



Tuesday, December 08, 2020

The Holidays in 2020 and in 1720-1820

 I thought we'd never see the end of this year, and believe me that's not my usual sentiment in December! This has been a "what have we done to deserve this?" kind of year. I'm not going to go on about politics, pandemics and global warming, this isn't the place for it, but we've all been affected by those, and it's all been a bit grim.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is hist_customimage.jpg 

So what about the past?

They didn't have it easy, either. In fact, they often had it worse. We have central heating, running water and modern devices like dishwashers to help us through our misery. They didn't. But like us, they had times of celebration and Christmas was one of those. These days we know it as "the holidays," to try to include all the celebrations going on at this time of year, but back then, Christmas was emphasised over all the others.

In the period I write in, the Georgian era, Christmas trees were not usual. They became popular in the Victorian era. And Christmas lasted for twelve days. What traditions existed were often locally-based, but if there has been a detailed study of them all, I've never seen them.

Old traditions were continued, like the night when servants and masters changed places, but it all centralised on feasting. Most of the images of 18th century Christmas show people eating and drinking, like the one above.

Perhaps next year!

 

Monday, December 07, 2020

The Park in December

 

For those of you who like pictures of the park where I take my daily walk, here is what it looks like at the end of November. It's much the same today. We don't have snow yet, but we do have plenty of rain! And just look at that gorgeous sky!


 

December at Last!

 

I have a new book out this month!

It's set at Christmas 1760, two years after the epilogue of the last Dersingham book.

Rhona sent the love of her life away once, but now Frederick is back. He doesn’t care that she’s a housekeeper and he’s a wounded soldier, the brother of a duke. For the three nights of Christmas, he’ll give her three gifts; wooden figures he carved for her in the long nights before his last battle. They represent their past, their present, and what they could have in the future.

If she doesn’t accept his love this time, he’ll leave for good.

You can get the anthology here, and it's only 99 cents! https://www.amazon.com/Night-Divine-Collection-Spirited-Christmas-ebook/dp/B08F5LSDN7

  

 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

New For November: Virginia And The Wolf


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Virginia, Lady Dulverton, feels safer keeping the world at a distance. One man sees through her reserve to the woman beneath: the infamously rakish Francis, Earl of Wolverley. Now a widow, Virginia is wrangling with the terms of her late husband’s will. When she realizes Francis is in danger because of his connection to her, she feels compelled to help, regardless of the hazard to her own heart.

Francis has worked hard to strengthen his inheritance. But he’s also found time to play. Despite his many dalliances, his affections have never been involved. Those belong entirely to a woman he could never have. When he’s attacked in the street and told to leave Virginia alone, he decides to do exactly the opposite . . .

With the help of the Society for Single Ladies, they set out to discover who is targeting Virginia, and why. It’s a race that will lead to the Devonshire coast, a smuggling ring, and a love that, however perilous, is worth waging countless battles . . .


You can order the book here:

Apple : Amazon : Google Play : Kobo : Nook


Extract from Virginia And The Wolf

A hush fell at the end of the room, as Virginia was talking to Miss McLennon, her back to the company. Alerted to the tension around her, Virginia turned around, taking her time. Until she saw who had entered the room.

At the far end of the white and gold room, with its feminine curlicues and twists stood two men. Two extremely masculine men. But they did not look as if they didn’t belong there. They looked as if they owned the place.

Despite his elaborate silks and lace, the Duke of Colston Magna fooled nobody. He was no namby-pamby idiot. Inside that outrageous pink silk coat resided a powerful male with a fearsome reputation for never losing a duel, or a bout of fisticuffs. Those lily-white hands had pounded Col’s opponent into oblivion more than once in the boxing studio.

“One wonders why he is so angry. Beneath that pretty surface he is simmering,” Angela murmured.

The Earl of Wolverley wore scarlet and gold, the brilliants sewn into his waistcoat flashing as he moved. But not as much as his eyes. Those eyes held the promise of murder, and Virginia was afraid it was for her. Although they had parted in ostensibly amicable terms, he had not fooled her with his soft talk of pins and neighborly concern.

Virginia and Angela stood together, facing the incoming storm. The men fixed their eyes on them and did not look away as they made their way past all the other guests toward them.

The diamond dangling below Wolverley’s earlobe flashed as he turned his head when a woman laughed nervously. Then he returned his attention to Virginia. As the men walked up to them the women switched places, a swift rustling of skirts loud in the suddenly quiet room. The quartet accompanying the dancers had paused between sets. Conversation around them was muted. Or perhaps Virginia only imagined it that way.

The men made their bows, beautiful pattern-cards of obeisance.

Col asked for Virginia’s hand in the next set of country dances. Shooting a triumphant glare at Wolverley, she accepted, graciously placing her hand on Col’s chilly satin sleeve.

“Hasn’t the weather turned cold?” she inquired, as he led her on to the floor.

“It has, and after the wonderful sunshine we’ve been having lately!” he answered, full of bonhomie, but glancing past her to where Angela and Wolverley were standing, waiting for the dance to begin.

When she glanced at Angela, she caught a lovelorn gaze from Wolverley, there for all to see.

Virginia gritted her teeth. That one, fraught glance told Virginia what he was at. Retribution would not be long in coming. And well, she would have to learn to live with it. How dare he make his intentions so obvious? The whole of London would be talking about his approach tomorrow. His volte-face would be noted and gossiped about in every house in the country.

Before this night, their connection was known, but not remarked upon, since they behaved in a suitably neighborly way. But if he made his change of heart so obvious, that opinion would change in a flash.

Tonight, Wolverley gazed at her from afar, the wistful longing of a suitor. Or a lover. All the way through the dance he never let his attention stray, gazing at her as if she was all he could see, watching her dance with her other partners.

She wanted to slap that stupid expression off his face, and Virginia did not consider herself a violent woman.

Ladies gossiped behind their fans, and gentleman laughed softly as they watched. By the end of this evening they would believe that she and Wolverley were lovers.

Damn him to hell and back. She could curse all she liked in her mind, but outwardly she kept the polite smile on her face and her attention on her partner in the dance.

Unfortunately country dances meant changes of partner. They were social dances, until they ended with their original partner at the end of the piece. Short of stalking away from the dance floor, which would create a scandal all its own, she would have to face Wolverley and dance with him. Avoiding gossip was all but impossible.

The remaining company in London were avidly waiting for a scandal, something to enliven the gossip over the teacups. Virginia refused to provide it. Utterly refused.

When Wolverley faced her in the dance, he smiled in that way she’d seen when he flirted with women. No, not flirted, but indicated something deeper.

As they crossed in the dance, she hissed at him, “I am not your mistress and I will never be.”

“Did I ask you that?” His deep voice resonated through her, thrilling those parts of her she worked hard to keep dormant. “I would not suggest such a thing.” He paused, while they executed steps that separated them then brought them back together. “Unless I thought you wanted it.”

That last was delivered in such a sultry tone that her palms itched. That would have thrilled the spectators. Two more measures and she was done with him. “I would never wish for it. You know that, Wolverley.”

“I know no such thing. We have been dancing around each other for years, rather like we are doing now. Isn’t it time we faced what lies between us?”

For a moment, a fraction of a second, he gazed at her as if she was his world, as if he meant the nonsense he was parroting. Then it was gone, frustratingly covered by a flirtatious smile, as if she’d said something witty.

So she laughed. A little too high-pitched, but it would serve to persuade people that nothing was serious here. Move along, people, find the next show. “You’re angry with me, but this is unfair.”

“Is it? Nothing is unfair in war or love. Surely you know that.”

She turned the old saying back the right way. Love came first. “I know nothing of love or war.”

She had said too much. Virginia bit her lip, desperately finding something to cover her sentence. But she was too late.

As she made to move on in the dance, back to Colston Magna, Wolverley said, his voice soft and low, “Then I shall teach you.”

His breath grazed her ear, making her gasp.

Somebody else had said that to her once. Revulsion filled her, so sudden that she recoiled from it, and the duke had to catch her elbow to steady her. She pretended she’d stumbled, and thanked him, forcing another light laugh. “My mother always said I could trip on a speck of dust. Thank you, sir.”

“Think nothing of it,” he said somberly. “Madam, if the Wolf troubles you too much, I will stand your friend.”

The last thing she wanted to do was to draw any more attention to this atrocious business. “Wolverley? No, we have known each other for years.”

Damn the man.

November news

 

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News for November

I didn’t send out my usual newsletter at the beginning of the month, because there was no way I could have competed with the US Election!

Congratulations to the winner, and now let’s get on with our normal lives, shall we?

I’ve put a picture of my local park up there for you, because it’s so beautiful. That’s a Constable sky if ever I saw one. I stood there for ages just looking at it. We need to get back to that, appreciating what we have, to get through these difficult times.

This month I have two books that are new on the shelves, one that’s been out for a few weeks, and one that is out today!

Virginia and The Wolf is a road romance, and it was huge fun to write. I took my old map book of England and Wales, and let my characters hurry along it in their search for smugglers. Many of the inns I describe in the book are still there today, and one day I’ll visit them.

Since this is the newest release, I’ve put an excerpt below. You can read an excerpt on Amazon, the beginning of the book, so I’ve chosen one from a little later, but no spoilers, I promise!

I’ll be sorry to say goodbye to The Society For Single Ladies, but for now, the ladies are resting, although next year, who knows? But, sadly, the publisher, Kensington, doesn’t want any more. This is a hard time for everybody, so I’m not complaining about it, but I can’t deny I’m disappointed. Mind you, if it got to number one bestseller, I’d be a happy author!

I do have other irons in the fire, though, and I’m carrying on with new projects. A new publisher, and some new projects. I’ll be rereleasing a series soon, from L.C. Connolly, my alter ego for contemporary romance. More later! It probably won’t be this side of Christmas, because they aren’t Christmas books, but they’re ready to go!



 

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

The importance of secret ballots

Chairing the Member by William Hogarth

In 18th and most of 19th century Britain, you had to be a male landowner in order to vote in elections.

You had to go to the polling place, stand in front of the crowd and declare your vote. Or it was decided by a public show of hands. Then your vote was recorded in a polling book.

That was one reason the polling process was so corrupt. The Members of Parliament were usually allies of the local bigwig, who owned a few rotten boroughs as well, boroughs with no population or very few, which could be easily manipulated.

If you voted for his opponent, it was likely that you'd be beaten, your house burned down, and if you were a farmer, your crops and livestock destroyed.

Not until 1872 was the secret ballot introduced. That gave every voter (still all male) the right to keep their vote secret. Go into the booth, put an X opposite the name of your candidate, fold it, and post it in the box. No names attached.
So if you don't want to tell anyone how you vote, you have the right to refuse anybody who asks.