Saturday, April 27, 2019

I'm going to do a bit of an Alan Bennett here (if you haven't heard his vicar from the Beyond the Fringe show, you've missed a treat!) And tell you a bit more about my origins.

My mother was a pattern-cutter, grader and sample machinist. She's still with us, thankfully, but doesn't do much sewing any more.

In years past, we'd go to Harrods and Harvey Nicks in the January sales, and I'd say "I want this, and this, and this..." We'd sketch it, go home and she'd make it.
She worked for a company that made legal knock-offs of designer clothes for upmarket department stores. She was sent to spend some time in the atelier of Yves St Laurent, and she adored him, because he could sit at a sewing machine and do what she could, which few designers were capable of.
After the haute couture sales, before pret-a-porter became the big event, the designers would select and sell some of their toiles (fabric mockups) to the big stores. Sometimes they'd sell the original garment, with a special licence to reproduce it. Then it was the job of my mother or someone like her to turn that toile into something that was commercially viable. Computers do a lot of that work these days. But back then it was all slide rule and lots, and lots of brown paper and tissue paper. My mother still has two pairs of shears she used back then. Every cutter had her own shears, and God protect anybody who decided to "borrow" them without permission!
Which is why, although we weren't rich, I had a wardrobe full of designer clothes. The cutters would take the garments apart, use them to develop the patterns, and then put them back together. But because of the licence from the designer, they weren't allowed to sell them on. So after a season, they'd have a sale for the workers. My chocolate-brown Dior suit with a pencil skirt and fitted jacket got me a few jobs on its own! (Some workers would take the clothes out of the factory piece by piece, but shhh, we don't want people to know that, do we?) - "Oh look, this dress has lost its central bodice piece, so we'd better throw the rest away." "I could do with a bit of fabric for dusters - can I have it?"

And now, the tenuous link. I never realised how similar we were until recently. Because I'm an idiot, no doubt. But I create books in the same way. I have an overall vision, a way I want the book to go, and then I have to pull it apart and put it back together again, to test it and make sure it works for my readers as well as myself.

Which is a long, convoluted way of saying I'm writing again. I've just sent in the second SSL book, and starting on the third. I'm really excited about this series. I've had a mock-up for the cover which looks amazing. So far it's been a quiet year for me, but starting next month, I have new books for you!

First will come the new series of contemporary romances from Tule. I was so excited to write these, I can't tell you. It was fabulous to get back to contemporaries. I'd love to do some more! And then, I'd really love to do some paranormals. Is everybody up for a few sexy vampires and shape-shifters? I have a new series ready to go, but I keep being told that "nobody wants paranormals" any more.

The other thing I did was to redesign my website. Same colours, but a few extra tweaks. Soemthing went wrong, and after I restored it, I thought I might as well do some work on it, so while I had a bit of time, I did just that.
Check it out!

Upcoming Release

The Hearts

So here are the covers for the new series! Exclusive to you, though I'll go wide with it in a week or so.
For those of you who review, the first book is up on Netgalley for your delectation and delight. Since I've had some time away from fresh contemporary content, I'd really appreciate your help getting the word out. If these do well, I get to do some more!


Gorgeous, right?
The first book is about a racing driver (her) and the owner of a big Italian car company based in Milan.

The second book is about the brother of the man in the first book, a hotel owner from New York. The heroine is the owner of a small hotel in London, a family business that has fallen on hard times. But he wants more than her hotel. He wants the owner as well!

The third book is about a wealthy property developer from Houston, Texas, and an artist from London who has snagged her first exhibition, thanks to her best friend, the hero's sister.

Fun and games ensue. These stories all have a close connection to me, closer than you might think! Cars and racing? Oh yes, love it, and I've always wanted to write a book set in that world. The second book? I stayed in a crazy little hotel once close to Oxford Street. The experience was well worth it, because I've now got a book out of it! The third book? Houston is a city I love. I have friends who live close by, and I've visited it often. Houston deserves wider recognition as a really exciting place to be.

So there you have it. And now I really have to get back to my writing! Got to keep the muse fed!

Monday, March 04, 2019

Announcement of a new series!

While historical romance is my first love, I used to write quite a bit of contemporary and paranormal romance, too. And what do you know, the lovely Tule Publishing liked three of my new books enough to make me an offer! So I have a brand-new trilogy of contemporary romances out, starting in May!
The series is about three sons of a woman with a storied career. One is a race car driver and car designer in Milan, another is a hotelier in New York and the third is a real estate developer in Houston, Texas. As well as clearing up the mess their mother left behind, they have to cope with the ladies who skyrocket into their lives.
A female driver trying to make her way in the masculine world of car racing, the owner of a historic, though struggling display in London, and a artist in London, visiting Houston for her first exhibition create more problems for our heroes.
The series is called Hearts on Fire and I'm really thrilled to have contemporary romances out there. I keep writing them, and then they sit on my computer.

Racing Hearts is the first, and you can read all about it here:

What starts as revenge soon flares to passion.
Italian race car tycoon Ronan Miller is on the cusp of achieving his elaborate revenge when he meets flame-haired back-up driver Georgia Trent. Intrigued by the beautiful and risk-loving beauty, he thinks he can use her as an instrument of his revenge, but after a spontaneous night of passion, he has other plans until fate knocks them both on a different track.
Georgia Trent has doggedly pursued a goal that has nothing to do with Mr. Tall, Dark, Seductive and Handsome. But one night she indulges her sensual, passionate and impulsive nature, never dreaming the consequences will be so permanent. Wanting to do the right thing, Georgia tracks down the elusive Roman who’s disappeared after a family emergency.
Watching Georgia game her way into his office reminds him of all he’s been missing, but Roman’s always been business before pleasure. But business won’t help him now. He is going to have to use all his seductive skills to woo Georgia back to his side, but has he waited too long?
If it does well, I get to write some more! Here's the Amazon preorder link!

Sunday, March 03, 2019

March news! Gallivanting!

I've been on two trips in February. The first was to London with my daughter.
We went to see the Dior exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which was amazing, especially the older designs. We found the Galliano for Dior designs flashy, clever, but show pieces. You can't wear a Galliano out to the shops, but you could put on your Christian Dior, your Bohan or your YSL. My mother worked for YSL when he had his own line and atelier. She had a lot of respect for him.
This was my daughter's favourite dress, and I'm not going to argue with her.



And then I went to Barcelona! How lucky am I? Fellow author and good friend Sonja Rouillard (aka Kate Allure) called me and asked me if I wanted to spend a few days with her. Did I!
We did a walking tour first. I have to admit that Gaudi is not my favourite artist, but the Gothic architecture is stupendous. I did find the Sagra Familia, that big church he designed, a bit much. Mad, although I liked the Star Wars style warriors.

 We also went to the Mobile World Convention, which was unbelievably huge. Lots of folding phones, electric cars and innovations I didn't understand at all. And the new Microsoft Hololens which seemed to be garnering a lot of attention. I enjoyed the VR demonstration, but Sonja felt queasy after our ride, so we didn't do another one.
And we went on a motorbike tour. As you do.


Saturday, January 05, 2019

Special offer on Fearless


This Month Fearless is on offer for 99 cents, and not just at Amazon!
New deal on Lynne Connolly ebook
By Lynne Connolly
Lord Valentinian Shaw doesn’t want to settle down — but when Lady Charlotte Engles begs to end their arranged betrothal to marry another, he feels duty bound to protect his betrothed from her dangerous new suitor. What happens when he starts to fall in love?
$0.99 $4.99

Amazon   Barnes & Noble Apple Books   Google Kobo

The New Year Cometh...

Let's see what this year brings! And please, let's be kinder to each other. This could be a year of change in the big, bad world outside our windows. Several threads seem to be coming to a head. I've kept this newsletter politics free, and I'll continue to do so, but outside, it's getting interesting - or scary.
So lets read lots of books instead! Do what we have to do, and then go back to our favourite places. Mine, as you know, is the 18th century. And I can't see that changing.

This year sees the release of a new series from Kensington. It's going to be called the Society for Single Ladies, and it will feature a different couple in each book. But the ladies are the overlooked, the widows who might not want to remarry, the spinsters, the governesses.
At last, they've banded together!
Their leader is a figure you've met before, briefly, in The Shaws. Angela Childers is the richest woman in Britain, the owner of a major bank inherited from her father and the granddaughter of a duchess. She will never marry, or so she says. And she's based on a real-life figure. I find so much inspiration in real life examples, I can't tell you. Angela comes upon all kinds of problems in her working life, and her stalwart band of helpers is determined to help her.
There isn't a cover yet to show you, but there is a completed book in for editing and such, and I've signed a three book contract, so if it's a success, there will be more.
The release of the first book is slated for March. More later, when I have details.



The Shaws
The Shaws came to an end with Boundless. While I loved writing them, there just aren't any more. One day I'd like to write the stories of the Emperors that have escaped me. Maybe they'll turn up in the SSL series! I've been writing about this family for so long I feel I know them all personally. And because many of them have characteristics based on real life people, perhaps I did!
Special offer

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

December news and a new release!

Compliments of the season!

So we're at the end of the year. I wish we could interact in some way because here I am telling you all about what I do at this time of year, and I love to know what you get up to.
My tree isn't up yet (above is a picture of last year's tree), but the room is full of boxes, so tomorrow I'll get busy. In more ways than one, because Tuesday this week is a big day for me. More about that below. I don't want to wham and pow you with all that, because you probably know. But I can share more news with you, about what's next and what I'm planning.
I love this time of year, when it gets dark early. I know some people hate it, but winter is an awesome season. And then there's the movies - Meet Me In St. Louis is my favourite Christmas film, and I love an old Bette Davis movie, The Man Who Came To Dinner.
All that to look forward to!
And today is when Boundless comes out. The title comes from Romeo and Juliet, "My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep, the more I give to thee the more I have, for both are infinite."
Isn't that lovely? So when I came to write Livia's story and reveal the secret she's been hiding since the start of the Emperors of London, I had to give her a love that would surpass all her difficulties. It's an explosive secret that could destroy Livia and by association, her family. And it's tearing her apart.
But there's sadness as well, because this is the last of the Emperors (for now) even though there are members whose stories haven't yet been told. One day...
Next? Kensington have accepted a brand new series with new characters. More later, but the first book is in edits. It's set in the mid-eighteenth century (of course!) and the first book will be out in the spring. I promise to tell you more in the next newsletter, when everything is more settled.
And next summer, I have a series coming out from Tule Publishing, a contemporary (don't faint!) trilogy. I used to write a lot more of those, and I'd love to do more. 

New Release

This month sees the release of Boundless. Recently the previous book in The Shaws, Dauntless, hit the number one in Amazon Regency, and I got the orange flag that says it's a best seller. I'm so happy about that. Good sales means an author can continue doing what she loves best. So thank you for supporting me and buying the books.

The Shaws are one of Britain’s most influential, dynamic families, but one Shaw prefers to keep a low profile. Unfortunately, the limelight can shine behind-the-scenes . . .
She’s the unlikely wallflower of the extraordinary Shaw family. A woman who will never marry, but not for the reasons you might think . . .
Attacked on the streets of London, Lady Livia Shaw is relieved when a gentleman comes to her aid—and startled to discover her rescuer is Adrian, the Duke of Preston, a notorious rogue. But their association—and instant attraction—does not end there, much to the Shaws’ distress. For Livia was robbed of a memento—one that is both her most precious possession and a reminder of a shameful secret. It is a secret she knows will cause her to lose Adrian forever, yet he is determined to track down the thief . . .
Adrian never wanted to be anyone’s hero, but now he’s finding the prospect as pleasing as he does Livia’s company, and her beauty. Certainly he wants her in his bed, but what surprises him is how much she comes to mean to him. Which is why the revelation of her scandalous past is nearly his undoing. Arrogantly, he had assumed only he had the power to shock. But it is too late to turn back, and now Adrian may have to risk everything for Livia, even his heart . . .
Adrian slumped against the squabs of the hackney cab as it set off from his house in King Street. Correction––Ophelia’s King Street house. He’d already had the deeds put in her name, but she’d generously given him another day to quite the premises.
In the shadows of the vehicle, he grinned. A house was a small price to pay to rid himself of the exquisite, grasping, tediously mundane person Ophelia d’Arblay had turned out to be. Every man in London wanted Desiree for his mistress. Well, she was back on the market and they were all welcome to her.
With a groan, he stretched his limbs. After a tough all-night session in the House of Lords, he’d repaired here to find Ophelia entertaining one of the few peers not in Parliament that evening. Truly, he should have guessed she was seeing someone on the sly. But what had surprised him the most was his inability to care. Her subsequent spectacular tantrum merely bored him. It did not move him. She had broken his one and only rule, and she must suffer the consequences.
Exhausted, he looked forward to falling into his own bed and leaving the day behind.
A movement ahead caught his attention. A woman stood at the edge of the road, her gown a flash of bright blue, swirling around while children scurried like rats around her. One skinny youth had his mouth open, laughing, catching her attention while the other––Adrian spied trouble. And where trouble lurked, so did he.
Grabbing his cane, he rapped the roof of the carriage. “Stop! Stop now!”
Before the driver had managed to haul the nag to a halt, Adrian had opened the door and leaped into the street. Turning only to toss a shilling to the cabbie, who caught it deftly, pocketed it and gave his horse the office to continue in one smooth move, Adrian faced the trouble.
That blue silk belonged to a lady, although the gown had become sadly smeared with mud and torn in her efforts to escape her tormentors. Her face was obscured by the broad brim of her bergère hat, its pink ribbons askew and the jaunty bow on top crushed. For all that, this was a lady. The gown was good, the skirts too wide for this part of London, and her linen fine, the nearly sheer veil over her tantalizing bosom hinting at the pink flesh beneath. Despite his recent disappointment, Adrian’s mouth watered.
All this he absorbed as he headed at speed for the unfortunate woman beset by street urchins. He kept his attention on her while he struck out with his cane, lashing out right and left, ignoring the ensuing yelps and protests.
The woman whirled right into his arms, and Adrian found himself with an armful of warmth and silk. That made wielding his cane trickier. Rolling the woman to the left, he looped his arm around her waist and used his right hand to advantage. Battle heated his veins, sending a fire coursing around his body and rousing him from his ennui. He had not felt this alive for a long time. Although he was only one man against six youths who had learned to fight on the streets, he made a good account of himself. The trouble was, they kept coming at him from different directions. Catching one importunate boy a crack across his shoulders appeared to deter them. All but one, who darted around the other side of the female before shrieking. The one in front crashed into her and a sickening crack rent the air before he tightened his hold on her and dealt the boy a telling blow to the side of his head with what was left of his cane. The responding yelp warmed his heart.
“Let me go!” she said. “You can’t fight like this.”
She was right. Her voluminous skirts and the cloak around her shoulders were hampering him. He snapped, “Don’t go out of my sight,” before releasing her and settling in to the rhythm of the fight. Fully awake now, all traces of tiredness gone, Adrian swung his cane, wielding it more like a club than a delicate weapon. Sooner or later it would break, and then he’d have to resort to his fists.
He looked forward to it.
“Come on then, you cowards!” he yelled as one of the assailants ran off, screaming. Crouching into a fighting stance, he stood ready, his cane held before him, waiting for the next attack.
His maiden stood where he’d told her to, the bright blue of her gown a flag in this grimy London street. She leaned to one side. Had that crack he’d heard a moment ago been one of her bones? And yet she didn’t move.
As if someone had waved a gun, the boys turned tail and ran, scattering into the alleys feeding the street, like the rats they were.
He flicked his gaze over the woman, scanning her disheveled appearance. Clearly she needed help. With the blood of war still thrumming through his veins, he drew a deep breath, savoring the sheer joy of being here, alive and healthy. Why would he not? His relentless pursuit of life all led to that wonderful feeling, better than a case of wine, better than the best French brandy. And for sure better than a night’s gambling.
Better than spending a night in his mistress’s bed? Perhaps. Not the one he had just discarded, but this one…he might have found his new interest. A well-dressed young woman in this part of London would hardly be the kind he’d meet in the ballrooms of Mayfair.
“They got my purse,” she said then. Although her voice was soft, it still trembled. She was more shaken than she cared to tell him.
“Did they take much?”
She shrugged a delicate shoulder. “A few guineas, an ivory comb, a fine linen handkerchief––no, not much.”
Aha. Any woman who considered that haul “not much” had recourse to more.
Gallantly, he offered his arm. “You are shaken, madam. May I offer you the hospitality of my house?” At least, it was his house until the morning when the new deeds came into effect. “You may tidy yourself up and recover from your ordeal.”
From beneath the broken brim of her hat, she regarded him warily. “You speak like a gentleman.”
“And you sound like a lady.”
Without warning, she sagged, dipping forward, threatening to fall. Adrian caught her, curving his arm around her waist at the front and tilting her gently back to lean against his shoulder. “Can you walk?” he murmured, his mouth so close to her ear that her curls tickled his skin. She had blonde hair with a hint of red. He’d seen that shade before, but for the life of him he couldn’t remember where.
She nodded, lowering her head to rest on his shoulder. If he had to, he’d carry her.
To his relief, when he took a small, slow pace, she came with him. Although her feet dragged, he detected no sign of a stumble, or anything that would indicate she was hurt. If they took it at a snail’s pace, they could manage the distance. “The house isn’t far, at the end of King Street.”
His hackney had almost reached Covent Garden. King Street abutted it. Since his mistress worked as an actress at Drury Lane, in fact was a star of the stage there, she liked the proximity. No doubt she would continue to do so.
“I should not,” she murmured.
Shock, he assumed. Tilting up her chin, anticipating the credit his good deed would accomplish, he gazed into her face.
Damn and blast it. He recognized her. He would not be making this woman his mistress, sadly.
But what was Lady Livia Shaw doing in this part of London, and on her own, too?

Buy Boundless Here:

Publisher; Kensington Books  :  Amazon   :  iTunes  :  Kobo  :  Barnes and Noble Nook

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Yorkshire reduced!

In honour of Black Friday, the price of the first Richard and Rose book, Yorkshire, has been reduced to 99 cents!
The Amazon copy is here.

A passion they never expected…a mystery that could cost them everything.

Rose Golightly is a country girl who thinks her life will continue on its comfortable course, but a series of events changes that for good. On a visit to the ancestral estate of Hareton Abbey, Richard Kerre, Lord Strang, enters her life. A leader of society, a man known for extravagance in dress and life, Richard is her fate. And she is his.
Richard is to marry a rich, frigid woman in a few weeks, and has deliberately closed his heart to love. Then a coach accident throws his wounded body into Rose’s arms.
With one kiss, Richard and Rose discover in each other the passion they thought they’d never find.
But the accident that brought them together was an act of sabotage. Somewhere, in the rotting hulk of a once beautiful stately home, a murderer is hiding.
Richard and Rose set out to solve the mystery, and find the layers of scandal go deeper than simply determining who is guilty. And that doing the right thing could separate them—forever.
Warning: This series is addictive. Passion and murder are a potent mix.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Special offers on The Shaws!

There's a BookBub on the third Shaws book today. You can get Dauntless for 99 cents!

And there's more!

In the run-up to the release of Boundless next month, Kensington is running a series of special offers on The Shaws books and selected titles from the linked series, The Emperors of London!
I'm thrilled they're doing this, because nothing sells a book like a reduction in price, and I am truly proud of what I've done here, so I want as many people as possible to read it, even if that means a bargain price!
And I think I've run out of my day's allowance of exclamation marks.
Until tomorrow, you can get Dauntless Sinless and Fearless at bargain prices, so it's your time to catch up, before Boundless comes out next month.