Tuesday, December 13, 2016

News December 2016


I took my autumn break with my daughter this month, and we went to Amsterdam! We stayed at the Grand Amrath Hotel, which was an incredible place. It used to house six shipping companies, but now it's a hotel. Check the picture. It's of a stained glass window in the Amrath. I have never stayed at a hotel with gargoyles before!
We went primarily to see the Rijksmuseum, now it's reopened after a four year revamp. We loved it so much we went twice. Its collection of Dutch art is amazing, so very good. It is lacking in other areas, such as the Italian Renaissance but the Dutch paintings more than made up for that. All I can say is that you get only a fraction of the impact of a great painting by viewing it online. You need to go and see it. The Night Watch is so much more, well, more, when you confront it face-to-face. So get out to your local museums and art galleries, give them your patronage.
Getting away like that refreshes and renews. I don't know about you, but I need to do that, go away from everything I know and love for a few days. When I got back, the creative juices were working overtime!
Writing news
I sent in the first of the Shaws books before I went away. I am so happy with this series, and I got the beginnings of another series in my head, which I'm working on now. I can't say that an Emperor of London might not stray over there. I'm a bit of a Jo Beverley in the way I write, with series overlapping and familiar characters coming in. I've noticed that Joss Whedon does that, too.
I am so pleased with the way Veiled In Blue is being received. That was such a delightful book to write, that I'm really happy people are enjoying it. Brace yourselves for Helena's book, coming early next year!
I've had a new release this month, but I'll tell you all about it below.

Crazy In Love
So, my lovely friend Desiree Holt asked me if I wanted to write a story for her Omega Team Kindle World series. Did I!
It was great to get back to contemporary romance, especially for a series that is as successful as this one. The book got into the top ten Kindle World chart the day after release, which I'm very proud of!
I had a story idea ready. An ex-soldier, a woman who has been through trauma is sent to a New York psychiatrist to assess her suitability for a job with the Omega Team. She doesn't realize the psychiatrist is also an ex-soldier, a member of a highly secret team sent in to perilous situations. She doesn't realize that he's her doctor when she sleeps with him.
So there they are, in his office, sorting out the mess when the office is attacked by a group of terrorists. What's a girl to do except tool up and get working?
Here's the official blurb:
 The city can be every bit as dangerous as the battlefield - especially when it comes to love.
In New York for her final assessment before she joins the Omega Team, Joy meets Rick, and indulges in the luxury of a night of sin. It’s everything she wants, and more.
Rick Kendall can’t forget his night with Joy. Not until he meets his newest client - Jozefina Ziolkowski, Joy to her friends. He can’t take her as a patient, and sending her back to Tampa means he won’t see her again. That’s unacceptable to him.
The unexpected arrives, and they find themselves the center of an armed attack. Joy discovers Rick is a whole lot more than a city shrink. Special forces medic turned psychiatrist, Rick will need every one of his skills to help the woman he is growing to love. What does Joy have that these creeps want? Finding out means they’re in a ton of trouble. Not finding out means Joy is dead.
Something’s gotta give.
Here's the linkies for you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Crazy In Love

A new release today!
I had an idea for a book, and when Desiree Holt asked me if I wanted to be part of her Kindle World, it fit like a glove!
So here are the details for Crazy In Love, out today!

Buy from Amazon

The city can be every bit as dangerous as the battlefield - especially when it comes to love.
In New York for her final assessment before she joins the Omega Team, Joy meets Rick, and indulges in the luxury of a night of sin. It’s everything she wants, and more.
Rick Kendall can’t forget his night with Joy. Not until he meets his newest client - Jozefina Ziolkowski, Joy to her friends. He can’t take her as a patient, and sending her back to Tampa means he won’t see her again. That’s unacceptable to him.
The unexpected arrives, and they find themselves the center of an armed attack. Joy discovers Rick is a whole lot more than a city shrink. Special forces medic turned psychiatrist, Rick will need every one of his skills to help the woman he is growing to love. What does Joy have that these creeps want? Finding out means they’re in a ton of trouble. Not finding out means Joy is dead.
Something’s gotta give.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

September News!

Newsletter, September, 2016

Goodness me, it’s September!
Outside it’s raining and I’m wearing a long-sleeved top. Tonight the new series of Strictly Come Dancing starts (don’t judge me!) so I know it’s autumn. I’ve still have obligations to fulfill from my trip to America in April – a couple of novellas, which I’m looking forward to writing.
I sit here with my computer which is now a year old, and try not to panic. At least I don’t have school age children any more. If I did, they’d be back at school already.
I went back to my home town of Leicester recently, to visit my mother and my sister, who had a health problem. But I did get a chance to nip into the cathedral and see the tomb of Richard III. They did a beautiful job. Richard has his own chapel, and the tomb has a deep cross carved into it, with his name around the plinth in gold. Very simple. I’m a bit of a Ricardian, tempered with commonsense. I don’t think he killed the princes, I think that opportunist Buckingham did it in order to foment (fabulous word!) rebellion. But I don’t think Richard was incapable of the deed. His yearning for order, everything in its place, speaks to us, though dimly, because of the destruction of the evidence that came later. However Richard did start the reform of the law that his successor continued. Buckingham’s rebellion failed, but two years later, the future Henry VII succeeded. Someone said that if it wasn’t for Shakespeare, Richard would probably be viewed as a minor king, one people barely remembered. So is it better to be remembered as a villain, or not at all?
I remember Leicester as a gray place, one with a lot of industry but not much leisure. That’s changed completely. It’s now a wonderfully multicultural city, full of colour and sound. I’d go back to live there in a heartbeat, if I could. But my heart was never there. That belongs to Manchester. I stepped off the train for an interview at the Polytechnic, and fell in love with the place. I stayed there, did my degree, and then crossed the road to Manchester University to do another one, and just stayed.
Once, most people rarely left the vicinity of their homes. They would live and die in the space of around 20 square miles, or even less, and never see anywhere else. We forget how small the world has become.
My, aren’t I philosophical? That probably comes from writing historicals. When I research, it’s like visiting another country, another place that is familiar but not. The time it took to go any distance, the lack of instant communication are things that are easily forgotten, as is the size of the social groups most people moved in. Very small. I’ve written the first book in a new trilogy for Kensington, about the Shaw family, and I had to recall how long journeys took and what a huge undertaking they were.
In “Dilemma in Yellow Silk” (which hit number 12 in Amazon this month, yay!) the hero and heroine travel from Yorkshire to London, getting away from their pursuers, who want to kill her. That part took a lot of the book, which only seemed fair because the journey would have taken so long! The following book, “Reckless In Pink” is, by contrast, set mostly in London, and has Claudia Shaw, the well born heroine, inheriting a house that turns out to be a brothel! Claudia wants to see it before her family makes her sell it and add the sum to her dowry, and that’s where her adventure starts. Doing the research for that one reminded me how close the classes of society lived. In retracing Claudia’s steps on a visit to London this year, it is fascinating to see the houses she would have seen still standing, and mark the differences between the houses in the West End, and the crammed-together, ramshackle ones crowding around Covent Garden.
I did pick a house for Claudia to inherit. That’s the beauty of personal research. That and the shopping, because most of the houses around the Garden are lovely little boutiques, and I had to see the inside of them, didn’t I?
“Reckless In Pink” is 99 cents this month, as we’re building up to the release of the next Emperor book, which features Julius and the woman he falls head over heels for!
So pick up “Reckless In Pink,” and if you like it, preorder “Veiled In Blue” to continue the story!
Oh yes, and we had a cover reveal for the last in the series, “Wild Lavender,” which I’ve put above this post. What do you think? Me, I'm in love with the image!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Newsletter, August 2016

After a great spring and summer, I’m settling down to some solid writing time. No more visits for a while. I was very tempted to attend two writing summer schools this year, but I really don’t have the time. I have to get cracking on some new books. And, as usual, avoiding the promo I seem to be so bad at. I do have plans, this list included, to move the email list to another server. Yahoo is getting very iffy for reliability these days. I remember the good old days of yahoo groups, and in many ways my system is set up to serve that. I can wish for a great admin assistant for Christmas! You never know, maybe I’ll get one. I love writing, but the “buy my book” promotions have me scratching my head. I know I hate too many cold phone calls and promos dropping in my inbox, so I feel embarrassed adding to them. But I’m probably not serving my books properly by not doing more. It’s a constant dilemma, and not one I’m anywhere near solving.
I do a great ostrich.
But I have had a lot of incentive to work. With all the political stuff raging over the media, I can take note and get back to writing. Not that the Georgian era was any less turbulent, but at least that’s over and done. Except in my books. I can make anything happen.
I always stick to the facts, and then vary from there. In history there are very few hard lines, when you take a closer look. True, the Battle of Waterloo happened on a mud-clogged Belgian plain in June, 1815, but when you take a wider view, it gets fuzzy. Similarly, when I look at Culloden, and the aftermath, there were few hard lines. Would what happened to the Scots have happened anyway? What if the Young Pretender had won and marched to London in triumph?
Very little, probably. After the headlines, he would have had to accept the British constitution as it was, and the politicians he had inherited. He might have introduced a few new ones, but they were too influential and too well entrenched for him to ignore. The days of absolute monarchy had long gone, and the laws had changed. One man couldn’t have changed them back.
There is evidence that the Young Pretender wasn’t the brightest of sparks. If he had married and begat children he would have prolonged the Cause more effectively, providing a line of succession to rival the Hanovers, but he didn’t. In fact, he consistently refused to marry. Perhaps his parents’ marriage was a reminder to him. In history, the Old Pretender’s wife left him soon after the birth of their son Henry. Then she went into a nunnery, in the same city, but she rarely saw her husband after that. That was the gap that I used to create the Emperors of London series.
That’s what I look for – believable gaps in real life stories, or characters that just beg to be put in a book. I’m currently channeling the Duke of Somerset, known as the Proud Duke for the book I’m currently writing, which you won’t see for a while yet.

In contemporary paranormal news, I’m trying to get the re-release of the STORM series off the ground. Two books are out so far, with four to come over the coming weeks. This was another what if – what if humans discovered they’d been sharing the world with vampires, sorcerers and shape-shifters all along? I bunched them together into a group known as Talents. Basically it’s the same world as Department 57, but with the Talents living openly. The books happen when the revelation is first disclosed and everybody is trying to get used to the change. I fell in love with every single one of these heroes. And now they have new covers and a bit of editing (lower on the sex, higher on the action) I’m even more proud of them.

Over here, we had our week of summer. Now it’s raining outside, which is how I like it. I hate too hot or too cold. A few years ago we had a holiday in Rome in August. Over 100 degrees had me fainting, and it was so frustrating because I wanted to see a lot more than I did!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Newsletter, July 2016

Book News

Red Alert

I’ve signed a new three book contract with Kensington Lyrical, yay! It’s a spinoff from the Emperors series, but will be completely new. It is to concern three members of the Shaw family, the children of the Marquess of Strenshall. One of them will be a novella concerning the gay son of the family, Darius. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to tell his story, particularly since so many of you have written to ask me about him!
There are still two Emperors stories left to be released, so it will be a little time before you get to see them, but they are coming!

The Even Gods series from Samhain is now complete, but I’m working on a new series, historical, for a different publisher. More news soon!

Aaand, the STORM series is coming out again. I’ve had the books re-edited, but it’s a very light one, to remove some of the highly erotic stuff and make them more mainstream, the way I originally envisioned them. They have spiffy new covers, and they are coming out under the L.M. Connolly name. I still love these books and I would love them to find a new lease of life! If they do well, it means I can write some more.

Publishing is in a constant state of change. A few years ago, I was happily settled with three publishers, being paid for my work and planning more stories.

Then came self-publishing. In 2010, that market really took off. I wasn’t too keen, because I’m a writer, not a business person and anything that takes me away from writing isn’t welcome.

But I had to pay attention, because sales were going down.

I tried, but I’m not as clever as some people out there, and I never got that stroke of luck that really matters either. So my self-publishing career is fairly average. I’m doing all right, don’t get me wrong.

But I haven't set the world on fire. Yet. Very few writers do.

The world changes, and a professional writer has to make some adjustments, which I’m doing right now.

I’ve spent this month writing like crazy. I had several requests for a historical novel I was writing, when I attended RT in April. So I had to finish it and polish it!

Writing the first in a new series (and you know me, I tend to write in series) is exciting and difficult. I’m learning a whole new set of characters and situations, finding out what makes them tick and how they are led into something exciting enough to engage a reader.

I tend to make characters as close to real as I can. That means they don’t always behave the way they should, they aren’t always trammeled by the needs of the genre I write. Sometimes I’ll write a plot, and when I get there in the book, I’ll discover that the character is too smart for that, or that the stakes have changed. I love it. Then I have to stop and reconstruct the whole thing.

Anyway, changes. I’m looking to move my newsletter from Yahoo to somewhere else. As far as you’re concerned, that will mean you’ll get an extra, short email to make sure it’s working. If you don’t want to continue, please let me know and I’ll deal with it. Yahoo is becoming more unreliable and it’s time I looked somewhere else for a newsletter program.

So this month I’m at the RNA Conference at Lancaster Universtiy. We’ve had some fascinating speakers, including an ex police detective speaking on murder cases. It’s been fascinating and as always it’s so enjoyable catching up with old friends and finding out what everybody is up to.

New Releases

Yes, releases! The covers are below, and then I’ve put the links to my webpage, where you can find all the buy links to the books!

Red Alert is set ...tomorrow.

The day a dragon flies over Central Park, the world changes. People know what they’ve suspected for centuries––Talents exist, and they’ve been living among us all the time.

Dragons, vampires, shape-shifters, sorcerers with incredible psi gifts form a special agency to protect the rights and interests of Talents.

New enemies arise, and they are forced to struggle to meet the new challenges and protect the people they love.

 The books are coming out at weekly intervals, starting on the 27th July, and they're up for preorder now.

You can see descriptions and buy links here: http://lmconnolly.com/storm/
Here's the Amazon link to the first book: https://www.amazon.com/Red-Alert-paranormal-romance-STORM-ebook/dp/B01HAOEOD2

Red Alert Excerpt:

A scuffle outside the door made Dr. Jones turn his head toward the sound. Megan took the opportunity and lashed out with her foot. It struck with a satisfyingly solid whump, right in his solar plexus.
Dr. Jones doubled up, gasping for air. Well, the first step to getting out had been easy. But facing the “student” standing between her and the door, Megan knew he wouldn’t be such a pushover. He stood, feet planted wide apart, knees slightly bent in a position she recognized from her weekly karate class.
She had to hurry, before Jones regained his breath. When she kicked up toward the guy’s balls, intending the kick to be a feint for an upward hand jab, the bastard grabbed her ankle and threw her to the hard floor. The very hard floor. Her head hit the ground with a solidity Megan felt in every bone of her body, intensifying her ever-present headache, and she kicked back with her free foot, only to find it caught in the same meaty fist.
Pressure on the side of her pants alerted her to the syringe pressing into her flesh.
The door burst open, propelled by the heavy body of the red-haired “student”. He fell next to her, already unconscious, his big body completely relaxed. One massive arm dropped over her body, dislodging the needle’s trajectory.
A whirlwind followed the student, or what seemed like one to Megan. Dark, unruly hair was the only feature she was absolutely sure of topping a tall, powerful body with excellent reactions, because the intruder spun around on his heel, his arm already whipping out to take her attacker full across his face.
The open-handed slap knocked the African-American aside but he came back, one blow too superficial to cause any real damage. Just in time to receive the jackhammer punch under his chin that knocked his head back with a crunch that sounded fatal.
The student fell back against the room’s only chair, collapsing it with the sound of breaking wood and the fleshier crunch of breaking bone.
It was the man she’d glimpsed earlier entering the main ward. Closer up he was even more lethally sexy. Arousal, totally unexpected, purred through her veins. “There are more outside, so the only way we’re going to get out of here is through that window.” He swept the room with an appraising glance and picked up the metal bedside table as if it weighed nothing at all, ignoring the clatter as the drawer fell out. “Close your eyes if you’re scared of heights and hold on tight.”
Lifting the table over his head, he swung it at the window. The sound of shattering glass rewarded him and he stepped forward to knock out the remaining jagged shards and drag the wrecked blind aside.
Was that a hand or a claw? A claw, she realized, as fingernails lengthened into talons and blue-green scales clustered over his hand and arm.
She gasped in shock. “Holy fuck!”
He turned to face her, scales gathering on his neck, his voice throaty and raw. “Climb up and hold on. Or stay here and face them.”
Feet pounded up the hallway outside and at the same time, her rescuer completed his transformation into a man-sized dragon. Clothes ripped and tore, falling from his body, and she felt a sense of irritation in her mind that came from him. Irritation?
Yeah, I liked that jacket. Grab the pieces and let’s go. Pick up your stuff too. Then put your arms around my neck. Or stay here and let them kill you.
His neck was much longer and greener than it had been a minute ago. When she heard the shout “In here!” from outside the room she knew this was decision time.
She grabbed her purse, pausing to sling it over her head so the strap crossed her body, and picked up the remains of the leather jacket, only remembering the folder containing her scan results at the last minute, then she obeyed him—it—and put her arms around his—its—neck.
When we’re through the window, I’m going full size. Be prepared to hang on ‘cuz we ain’t coming down for a while.
I must be mad.
If you are, I am too. Ready?
As I’ll ever be.
Her feet lifted off the ground just as she was beginning to wonder how the hell she could talk to somebody mind to mind. She closed her eyes and hung on.

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Lynne Connolly
L.M. Connolly

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Newlsetter, June 2016


June has come in beautifully here. The sun is out, the cats are prowling, and I’m indoors looking at it all, writing. It could be worse!
Politics are steaming ahead either side of the Atlantic, the Europe vote over here garnering hysteria on both sides, and the Presidential campaign in the US. When the sun comes out it doesn’t seem to be so important!
So, here’s the news, and you’re the first to hear it.
I’ve been offered a contract at Kensington. With the last Emperors of London book in the works (there are two left to be published!) I didn’t want to leave their world, so I put a proposal forward for the stories of the Shaws, the family of the Marquess of Strenshall.
And they offered it to me! I am thrilled to be able to write these stories for you. If you recall, the family has a gay member. I am endlessly fascinated (and horrified) by the fate of gay people in the eighteenth century, especially men, when the sin of sodomy was punishable by death. It’s wonderful that I get to tell his story. It will be a novella, and set between the two books about two of the Shaw women. Writing a story about gays means treading a fine line between the cruder, more condemnatory views of the time and the modern approach. I can’t wait!
The books will be coming out after the last Emperors book comes out. I would like to tell the other stories, Ivan, Poppy, Augustus and the rest. I feel privileged to tell their stories.
But this month I’ve been busy writing the story of some brand new characters. Still set in the mid-eighteenth century, these stories will continue the story begun in “What He Wants...Is What She Needs” from the Seven Nights Of Sin anthology. In that one, Gerald, the new Earl of Carbrooke, is supposed to marry the daughter of a duke to help his sisters enter of society. He meets and falls in love with Annie, the widow of a City merchant, and the owner of a business. He could make Annie his mistress and marry the duke’s daughter, except Annie won’t do that, and when he gets to know her better, he wouldn’t do that to her. So what to do?
I’ve planned a trilogy based on that story, where Gerald’s three sisters find their own mates. Not without problems, or where would the stories be? Over in the first chapter!
So far these books don’t have a home, but several publishers and agents have expressed interest. We shall see how it goes! It’s wonderful to have the freedom to shape this book the way I want to. I do have a partial written about a different set of characters, but they’ll have to wait until I can get around to them. The series was accepted at Samhain, but of course it won’t be going there now.

New Release

I have a new release this month, and it’s a contemporary. “Escaping The Past” continues the story begun in “Learning To Trust,” but it’s a stand alone, and I’m selling it as a single title.

Buy the Book and Read An Extract:
Jade has come from England to New York to find work and to live incognito. Two years ago she received a message from her brother, Miles, the last she’d heard of him. Since Miles works for a shadowy organization called the Increments, she’s more than worried, but she obeys his request and leaves home. She found a new life, one she enjoys, even though she only has a job in a department store and lives modestly.
Gary, part owner of the store where she works, has a shady past. Although he can claim a personal fortune, his father nearly bankrupted the family company, then he went back to his Italian roots and took strictly illegal work from his gangster family. Gary’s Neapolitan family still rule in Italy, and Gary has kept strictly away from them.
Jade and Gary have an instant connection, but the social gap between them is huge. When Jade is put in danger, Gary is forced to act to save her. Unfortunately, Jade’s brother is working undercover for Gary’s family, something both his family and the government agency watching them are aware of. Back in Italy, they’re faced with unpleasant choices. Jade won’t allow the danger she and Miles are in to lead Gary to follow in his father’s footsteps and rejoin the family business. Not that Gary has any such intention, even if it means he loses his life protecting the woman he loves.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Newsletter, May 2016, Part Two

Industry news
I do have some exciting news I’m not quite ready to reveal, but first, the sad bit. Samhain Publishing is closing. Crissy Brashear has assured us we will get our rights back on the company closure, and she is continuing to do her best to generate sales and interest in the books. Samhain should be open for another year or so, but they aren’t taking any more submissions. That means, that unless another publisher shows an interest, “Her Quicksilver Lover,” due to come out in May, will be the last Even Gods Fall In Love book. I’ve thoroughly  enjoyed writing this series, and getting an idea of how gods would survive in the eighteenth century. Very well, as it turns out! I have started on another story, of Hades and Persephone, but it’s unlikely to reach the marketplace, at least in its present form.
When and if I get the rights back to my Samhain published books, I’ll try to turn them around as fast as I can, so they’ll still be available.
On the other hand, I’m really proud of the finale to the series. It’s Amidei’s book, the man who has featured in every episode, and finally he gets a book of his own.
So here, without further ado, are the details and an extract:

Love knows no bounds, and keeps no secrets.
Even Gods Fall in Love, Book 6
Joanna Spencer is doing more than just serving tea at the Pantheon Club. She’s secretly collecting society gossip and evidence of foreign spy activity for her father’s journal articles.
Instead, she finds the club’s walls shield Roman gods in human form. One of which she must keep at arm’s length at all costs—the club’s alluring, enigmatic owner, Amidei, Comte d’Argento. Otherwise known as Mercury.
Joanna catches Amidei’s attention long before she drops and shatters an expensive tea caddy. He knows she’s spying, but he never suspected she’d be his nemesis in human form—or that she would stir his strongest protective instincts.
Those instincts will be tested to the limit when an enemy strikes from an unexpected corner, threatening their lives. And Amidei will have to face every last one of his fears to protect the woman he has come to love.
Product Warnings
Contains a woman who’s too honest to be a good spy, and a mind-reading god sent reeling down the fast track to passion the moment he touches her thoughts. Excessive heat could cause readers to reach for a fan, but remember—fanning the flames only makes them burn hotter.

“Joanna Spencer?”
“Yes. I thought…” She didn’t know what to think. His proximity confused her, sent her mind into a spin, spiralling down her body to the juncture of her thighs, where she heated and dampened.
He smiled and stroked her cheek again. It was all she could do not to press into his touch, to beg silently for more. His heat seeped through her, warming any residual chill, but the nervousness remained. She could not move.
“Your skin is so soft,” he said. “It begs me to touch it. It has from the beginning. Like the ripest, plumpest peach.”
She should not allow him to do this, or say such things, but the lonely core deep inside her body opened and blossomed at those words. Men passed her by. It went without saying that she had no dowry, nothing to offer a man in marriage, so she had closed the door on such thoughts, except for dreams she could not control. She made a last effort. “You should not do this, sir.”
“I know. I do not make a habit of it. But you—you intrigue me, Joanna Spencer. I want to know more about you. Like why you did not tell me, or anyone else in this house, that your father owns the Argus.”
A sharp gasp escaped her and she spun away, intent on reaching the door. She would leave and never come back, and pray that he didn’t follow her.
He lashed his arm around her waist and turned her back to him.
They were pressed chest to chest, the fabric of her coarse gown meeting his smooth, fine silk waistcoat. Her mind racing, she said nothing, but met his gaze boldly. “Everyone has to earn a living,” she said when she had finally worked out what to say.
He watched her, waiting for something, she did not know what. His cheekbones were tinged with colour, his eyes back to their light silver, disconcerting and beautiful. They were both breathing deeply, as if they’d run up St. James’ Street and back.
“Would you rather I earned it another way?” Without allowing him to speak, she went on, anger sparkling through her. “Oh yes, I see you would.”
Something in his eyes flared, and then she could see no more as he closed them and dragged her closer, bringing his head down.
Then he kissed her.
His scent was of lemons, a tinge of the sea, and pure, wild, masculinity. It wreathed around her, its intensity overwhelming her efforts to remember who she was, who he was, and pull away. His lips pressed against hers, firm and full, pressing so she had to tilt her head back.
Flattening her hands on his chest, the metallic threads of the embroidery rasping against her palm, she shoved. He did not move, didn’t even seem to register her protest. He continued to kiss her, but kept his hands around her waist, holding her close, but not roaming. His fingertips dug into the fabric of her jacket, the pressure insistent, into the flesh beneath, burning as if they were naked and he was claiming her.
One kiss, what harm would that do? She couldn’t pretend she did not want it, had not lain awake in her narrow bed dreaming of this, but he should not, she was a respectable woman…the protests became mere echoes in her mind.
He touched her lips with his tongue, and as if he’d commanded it, she let him in.

Newsletter, May 2016

Newsletter, May, 2016

What a month I’ve had!
This was my month in America, the month when I refresh and reset my writing, and when I get to see the wonderful things the USA has to offer. This time, my husband came with me, so we had double the fun!
The elegant ladies of the NOLA RWA chapter - plus husband and me.
Since I went for five weeks this time, there’s no way I can write this in one newsletter, but I do plan more detailed summaries to come. I can, however, do a flying trip around the highlights. There were so many!
The first ten days were spent in New Orleans, first staying with a lovely friend and her family in Mandeville, over the longest bridge I’d ever travelled on. We went to places I would never have discovered as a tourist, and got a fascinating glimpse of what it would be like to live in New Orleans, or close by. We had lunch with ladies from the NOLA RWA chapter, and had the enormous privilege of enjoying an Easter Sunday brunch with our hosts, author Leah Penn and her family.
On a trolley car in New Orleans
Then to New Orleans itself, and there we met up with Aussies Megan Bamford and her husband. What fun we had! Our hotel was right in the French Quarter, but after one quick Bourbon Street experience, we opted for the other delights NOLA has to offer, like shopping on Royal Street and listening to the fabulous music produced by the jazz bands there. It was the perfect way to start our visit.
After lingering in New Orleans, we took the plane to Las Vegas, and a completely different experience! Our hotel, Planet Hollywood, was kind enough to upgrade us, so we found ourselves in a beautiful suite overlooking the Paris balloon, and the Bellagio fountains. Sitting in a comfortable armchair, watching the fountain display is a memory that will remain with me for a long time. Vegas is everything I expected –– noisy, busy, and chiselling, in the sense that they want every last dime you’re prepared to give, and then some. It’s the last “some” that I found unpleasant. Resort fees, where you’re basically paying upwards of $30 a day for the privilege of using the hotel’s internet and fitness facilities, for instance. That’s something that should be included in a hotel package, but presumably the use of personal hotspots have reduced the way the hotel can charge. The deposit taken at check-in, which depletes disposable income, even if it is returned at the end of the visit, and the constant surcharges for this and that, that turn affordable into extortionate.
Me blocking the view of the Grand Canyon
But everybody should see Vegas at least once, and this was my once. I’d go back for a day or two, perhaps to see a show, which I didn’t manage this visit, but probably not for an extended visit.
We took a couple of days out to see the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.
That was so worth it, I might have travelled over the ocean just to see that. The Canyon is – staggering, unbelievable, wonderful, stunningly beautiful and so much more. It’s like I said when I posted my picture on Facebook – there are no words. Of course I’ve seen pictures and read descriptions, but, like Michelangelo’s David, it’s something you have to see in order to appreciate.
Megan and yours truly in the prep room before the convention.
After that, came the RT Convention. This was a strange one, mainly because of the hotel. It was half a mile from our room to the convention centre, so every time I forgot something or needed a break, I had that mile to trudge, through the smoky casino which was nearly always empty, or close to it. It was one of the most depressing places I have ever been in my life! The Rio is in desperate need of a facelift, as everything is tired. The rooms were tired, but it was nice to have a refrigerator and plenty of space. There was no central bar or lobby area for people to gather informally, either, although the hotel did its best to accomodate us. The staff were pleasant, but there wasn’t a lot they could do to alleviate the slowly deteriorating hotel. On the first and second days, it rained, sending the whole of Las Vegas into meltdown. Several rooms in the hotel leaked, and occupants had to be moved.
But the convention was fun, and I got some business done as well. More of that, later. And while I was there, “Dilemma in Yellow Silk” came out and did very nicely. It was really nice to have copies to sign at the Kensington party!
After the convention, we went to stay with a friend in Texas, Anna Albergucci. She has the most astonishingly lovely house, every corner of which demonstrates her creative imagination. I’ll try to get her permission to post some photos!
Martin and I with a fantastic guide at the Alamo
We ended our trip with a day in San Antonio. It’s always fun to walk by the Riverwalk and watch the lights, have a meal and watch the world go by. Plus, there’s the Alamo. We stayed at the Menger, a lovely old hotel built twenty years after the Battle of the Alamo. San Antonio is a beautiful city full of history and interest. My husband said he could easily have spent more time there, but it was time to go home.
The journey was long, and for me, arduous, since for the first time ever, I got airsickness. It was dire. I climbed aboard the plane with a migraine, and that was probably why I was so ill. For the most part the stewards pretended not to notice, but that was okay with me, and my lovely husband took the greatest care of me.
I got home and slept, and here I am now, writing this.

See you next month!

Lynne Connolly


Friday, April 01, 2016

Lynne Connolly Newsletter, April 2016

Happy April!
I’m having to write this in advance, because I’ll be on the road when the first of April rolls around! I’m about to leave on my big annual adventure, and I am so excited I could burst! I’m flying with my husband to New Orleans, where I’ll visit lovely Laurie Pennison, who writes amazing romantic suspense novels, and then stay in the French Quarter for a few days.
If I have time, I’ll do some updates.
After New Orleans, we’re flying to Las Vegas! I’ve never been to Vegas before, and I really want to dig into the history for a while. There is some, although the minute something isn’t useful to them any longer, they knock it down. I’m still mourning The Sands. I so wanted to see it!
RT Convention will probably be its usual mad self. We don’t come home until late April, after a quick visit to lovely Anna Albergucci.

New Release
And of course this month I have a big release! DILEMMA IN YELLOW SILK is the latest offering from the Emperors of London series.
This book features the seemingly staid Marcus Aurelius, Lord Malton, and the daughter of his land steward, Mr. Gates. Viola knows the deadly secret that follows her around, but until she is attacked, she believes she is safe. Marcus steps up. Of course he does!

Ever ready to do the right thing, The Emperors of London act bravely—and when it comes to matters of the heart, impetuously…
Despite her cover as the daughter of the land steward for Lord Malton, Marcus Aurelius, spirited Viola Gates is tied by birth to the treacherous Jacobite legacy. Not that this keeps her from falling for the dashing Lord from afar. Despite his staid demeanor, Marcus is devastatingly handsome—and hopelessly beyond her reach. Then Viola’s father is mortally wounded and her secret identity revealed, sending her straight into danger’s path—and Marcus’s arms…
For years, he’d only known her as a wild child, the tempting—and forbidden—daughter of his trusted steward. But when Viola’s life is threatened, Marcus must act as duty—and his barely contained passion—dictates. Ferrying the bold beauty on an eventful journey to safer quarters, he offers her the protection of his name. Their tempestuous union might succeed in vanquishing their enemies, but will the chivalrous lord and his unsuitable wife surrender to the power of love?
“Lynne Connolly writes Georgian romances with a deft touch. Her characters amuse, entertain and reach into your heart.” —Desiree Holt
“Plots, deviousness and passion galore…a truly enjoyable read.” –Fresh Fiction on Temptation Has Green Eyes

Concentrating on her music, Viola nearly jumped out of her skin when a large body plumped down on the stool next to her. She shrieked, spun around, and closed her eyes. “You!”
“Why, weren’t you expecting me?”
His expression of innocence did not fool her for a minute.
“Not here, not like this. Did you run from the last staging post?” she demanded. She should not talk to the Earl of Malton like this. Right now he was less the earl and more Marcus, the boy she’d known so long ago. “Oh, my lord, sir, I’m sorry!”
She should recall her place, but she was finding the task difficult when he was wearing the same mischievous grin he’d used at nine years old.
“I couldn’t resist. Do you know what you were playing?”
The heat rushed to her face. “Yes.” No sense dissimulating. Of course she knew.
“And if you don’t stop ‘my lord’ and ‘sir’ing me, I’ll have you sent home forthwith. When we’re alone, it’s still Marcus.”
What had happened to him? Marcus had slowly moved away from her, gone from a childhood friend to a dignified, proper aristocrat. She understood the move, because he would have responsibilities to take care of, but sometimes she missed him. He’d remained a distant figure ever since, growing more pompous every time she saw him. Now he seemed to have cast all that off.
“I thought—that’s not right.”
Sighing, he shook his head. “And I’ve stopped you playing. A pity—I was enjoying that. Carry on.”
“Is that an order—sir?”
He growled deep in his throat, such a small sound she’d have missed it if he were not sitting so close to her. “Stop it. I’ll be Malton in about an hour.” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “I’ve spent the last three days in a closed carriage with my father, and I want to forget the stateliness. He would, given the chance. But with outriders and men riding ahead to warn innkeepers we were on our way, we had little chance.”
“So they commit the great crime of ensuring the best bedrooms are free. The cook is bursting from his waistcoat, trying to cook the best meal he’s capable of making. If only my journeys were so tedious!”
His laugh rang around the room. “Exactly. But we’re welcomed with ‘Good evening, my lord,’ and ‘How can I serve you, my lord?’”
“You poor thing.” She should guard her tongue, but she delighted in reacquainting herself with the man she used to know.
He rewarded her with another laugh. “I know. It’s such a hardship.” Lifting his feet, he spun around on the bench so he faced the keyboard, as she did. “You got a phrase wrong. The tune is based on the traditional one, but it’s varied in the last line of each verse. Slightly different each time. Like this.”
When he demonstrated, Viola understood exactly what he meant. But with the amusement, her heart ached. She had missed him so much. At the delicate age of nine, two years after his breeching, Marcus had begun his training, and since then, he’d become engrossed in his life’s work. Before then, the laughing boy had had no cares, and they’d played together.
Until someone remembered their different stations in life, and she did not think it was Marcus.
“Your turn.”
After giving him a doubtful glance, she copied the phrase. He sang the verse along with her, his baritone blending with her untrained mezzo. At the end of the verse they continued with the next one. Then he added one she hadn’t known about.
By the end of the song, she was quite in charity with him. The years slipped away. Or rather, they did not, because never at any time did she forget that a man sat next to her, not a boy.
Viola hadn’t been this close to Marcus for years. In this lovely room, with sunshine streaming in through the windows, they could be in another world—one of their own, a place out of time.
Playing scurrilous songs on a valuable string instrument seemed part of their world. Eventually she joined with him as his infectious laughter rang around the room.
“Do you remember this?” She played a few notes. A two-handed exercise taught to children to help them accustom themselves to the keyboard.
“Ha, yes I do.”
He joined in, taking the upper part of the tune. It was simple but capable of infinite variations. At the end of the piece she changed the pitch and they continued. Four times they went around, until she stopped with an emphatic chord.
She rested her palms on the edge of the harpsichord. “This was tuned last week. I was only supposed to check it, not play it until it’s out of tune again.”
“Do harpsichords lose their tuning so easily?”
He really didn’t know? “It’s a harpsichord. The strings are delicate. Even damp can send them completely wrong. Each quill has to be checked and replaced if necessary. Don’t you know anything?”
He shrugged. “I know how to address a duchess and how to dance a minuet. I can shoot straight and use a sword.”
“So can I. The last part.”
He widened his eyes. Such a perfect shade of blue they were. She hadn’t seen them this close for years. Far too long. “You can fence and shoot?” he said, his voice rising.
“I shoot better than I fence, but I know one end of a sword from the other. I know how to stop someone taking it off me.” Considering her position, her father had considered the training useful. The daughter of a land steward, especially an only child, needed to know how to take care of herself.
“I will certainly test you on that.” He patted his hip. “But I don’t generally travel with a sword at my side. We have them in the carriage, though. Shall I send for them?”
She bestowed a jaded smile on him. “No. Or fetch them yourself, come to that.”
His cheek indented slightly, as if he were biting it inside. Stopping laughter? Then she was a source of ridicule? No, he wouldn’t do that, not the Marcus she’d known.
But she had not known him for years. Only seen him at a distance and occasionally exchanged polite nothings.
He shook his head as his smile faded. “Why did we not tell my tutors to go to the devil, Viola? What harm did our friendship do?”
“They were teaching you to be an earl, and eventually a marquess.”
“Ah yes. That. But you continued to play with my brothers and sisters.”
She lifted one shoulder. “I hardly missed you at all.”
That was a lie. She had missed him very much. His way of talking, the way he would say what he was thinking without hesitation—but he would hardly do that any longer. People hung on his every word, at least some people did. The people wanting the ear of his father, or for Marcus to do them a favor.
“I missed you,” he said softly. “I would like us to be friends again, as we used to be.” He covered her hand with his own.
Startled, she stared at it, but she didn’t move. His warmth seeped through her, heating more than her fingers. He’d been her childhood sweetheart, but they had both known they were only playing.
He did not mean it in that way. Occasionally she’d allowed herself to dream of him, but never allowed her fantasies to creep through to real life.
Marcus had grown up tall and handsome, and unlike most men she knew, he wore his own hair tied back in a simple queue. He rarely powdered, his one concession to his wishes rather than the dictates of fashion, but he would consent to wear a wig on ceremonial occasions.
The first time she’d seen him dressed for a grand occasion had served to distance him completely from her. Without those glossy dark brown locks, and dressed in the finest London could provide, Marcus appeared a different person, one Viola didn’t know at all. So when he said he missed her, he probably meant the carefree days of his childhood.
Viola could not pass this opportunity by. She turned her hand and curled her fingers between his. He clasped her hand warmly.
She stared at that symbol of friendship, as if it weren’t her hand. “I missed you, too.”
“You’ve grown up a beauty, Viola,” he said softly.

Watch for the March Mayhem banner! There are interviews and extracts galore!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Donna Thorland's The Dutch Girl

I'm delighted to be able to present you with a beautiful excerpt from Donna Thorland's The Dutch Girl. It's out now and I really recommend that you take a look. 
This is part of the March Mayhem promotion, so keep an eye open for the banner and the social media tweets! 

Manhattan and the Hudson River Valley, 1778. The British control Manhattan, the Rebels hold West Point, and the Dutch patroons reign in feudal splendor over their vast Hudson River Valley estates. But the roads are ruled by highwaymen. Gerrit Van Haren, the dispossessed heir of Harenwyck, is determined to reclaim his inheritance from his decadent brother, Andries, even if that means turning outlaw and joining forces with the invading British. Until, that is, he waylays the carriage of beautiful young finishing school teacher Anna Winters…Anna is a committed Rebel with a secret past and a dangerous mission to secure the Hudson Highlands for the Americans. Years ago, she was Annatje, the daughter of a tenant farmer who led an uprising against the corrupt landlords and paid with his life. Since then, Anna has vowed to see the patroon system swept aside along with British rule. But at Harenwyck she discovers that politics and virtue do not always align as she expects…and she must choose between two men with a shared past and conflicting visions of the future.From Penguin NAL. Available to preorder in paper, ebook, and large print editions:waxcreative-amazon-printwaxcreative-amazon-kindlewaxcreative-bn-printwaxcreative-bn-nookwaxcreative-powellswaxcreative-indieboundwaxcreative-bamwaxcreative-ibooks

Manhattan, 1778
The sampler above the fireplace was a beautiful lie. Everything about the silkwork picture was a fantasy, from the house and trees at the bottom to the inscription stitched at the top: With utmost care I’ve wrought this piece according to my skill. Anna Winters, daughter of Charles and Hannah Winters, in the fourteenth year of her age 1764.
The six girls stitching earnestly beneath it did not know. To them it was the standard of excellence to which they aspired. Their parents certainly did not know. For them, it was a symbol of the status they hoped to acquire for their daughters. A good dame school could teach a girl to sew, to spell, to darn, and to mend, but finishing academies like Anna’s offered more: a polite education for females, acquisition of the ornamental domestic and social skills that materially improved a provincial girl’s marriage prospects.
The picture was a lie, but Anna delivered on its promises. She taught the daughters of New York’s wealthy merchants embroidery, mathematics, geography, decorative painting, and drawing in charcoal and pastel. For extra tuition her charges could attend the Tuesday-morning dance class where Mr. Sodi taught the minuet, the louvre, and the allemande. For another fee they could study voice, composition, and the harpsichord with Mr. Biferi.
It was a complete education for ladies, and the finest available in New York, sufficient to make an American girl show to good effect in even a London drawing room, but Anna’s visitor was not impressed.
“Geography is an unusual discipline for a finishing school,” said her neatly attired guest, observing the scene in the parlor. Anna could not tell if she approved or not. Then she added, “But you offer an otherwise narrow curriculum, and a deceptive one”—her eyes moved from the silk picture on the wall to the girls stitching below it—“when life’s hardest lessons are sure to be learned outside these walls.”
Anna had heard similar sentiments from parents before, particularly those in the more volatile trades whose fortunes were at the mercy of the changing market, although something about this woman’s manner suggested that money was no obstacle.
“Education,” replied Anna smoothly, “is an investment in a woman’s future. It is a dowry that cannot be squandered by a spendthrift husband. It is an evergreen inheritance that can be passed to her children no matter the condition of her husband’s estate.”
“And if the times call for a woman who can do more than dance and sew?”
That was not one of the usual questions.
It forced Anna to turn and examine her visitor. They had been talking for a quarter of an hour. Anna had led her on a tour of the house, shown her the parlors and garden and a selection of her most advanced students’ works in progress, but somehow in that time Anna had failed to look at her guest closely.
The woman had given her name as Ashcroft. Anna had addressed her as “Miss,” and the woman had not corrected her. Miss Ashcroft was young, probably the same age as Anna, in her middle to late twenties; too young to have daughters old enough for finishing school, but not too young to be entrusted with the education of a sister or a niece.
From a short distance, Miss Ashcroft was pleasant-looking, but she wouldn’t turn heads on the street. Her linen gown was that shade of beige that blends into every background. Her straw hat was practical and plain. But the face beneath it . . . Anna was forced to take a closer look.
Miss Ashcroft was more than pleasant-looking. She had flawless skin, Cupid’s bow lips, and wide, dark brown eyes. The hair tucked into her plain straw hat was a rich chestnut. The body beneath the dun-colored linen was classically proportioned.
Miss Ashcroft was in fact beautiful, but it was not the sort of beauty that advertised. She wore no paint or powder, no rouge to color her cheeks. She did nothing to court attention, and everything to divert it away from her.
The simple costume struck Anna all at once as a disguise. Her heart skipped a beat. She had only ever known one woman capable of such artful subterfuge, and the Widow was dead. That dangerous lady had taken her secrets—and Anna’s—to the grave with her, and this enigmatic stranger could not possibly know the truth.
“We offer Latin and French to girls who will need it,” said Anna, putting the Widow and the treacherous past from her mind.
Miss Ashcroft turned her penetrating gaze on Anna, and their eyes met. “And what about Dutch?”
Anna’s heart raced. This woman knew. It did not matter how much she knew. When you lived beneath layers of secrets piled like blankets against the cold, losing a single covering meant you’d freeze to death. She pulled them close around her now and brazened it out as her late mentor, the woman who had shaped the path her life had taken, would have done.
“There is no demand for it,” Anna said. “The Dutch rarely marry outsiders, and they only speak their language amongst themselves.”
“But you speak it fluently,” said Miss Ashcroft.
Anna could feel all the color drain from her face. The girls went on stitching as though nothing had happened while Anna’s carefully constructed world fell down around her ears.
With it went all hope of safety. Anna Winters, English gentlewoman of disappointed hopes and modest means, mistress of Miss Winters’ Academy, did not speak Dutch, but Annatje Hoppe, fugitive from the law, the girl she had once been, did.
Donna Thorland