Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Bit of a Ramble for April

A bit of a ramble this month.


I am so excited to see Richard and Rose back on the shelves, virtual and physical! I know they've been around forever, and in several different incarnations, but I am so proud of these books, the first success I ever had as an author.
I started writing them when my children were little, as a respite from the nappy changing, wheels on the bus singing and Thomas the Tank Engine reading. I loved them, but I did need some time to myself. So I made space. When they were napping, at nursery school, in the very brief snatches of time I had, I wrote. I'd always written, always made up stories, but for myself. As far as I knew, Richard and Rose would be the same. Until I got the opportunity to see them published, and boy, did that start something!
I told you it waa a bit of a ramble, but sometimes rambling is the best thing ever. Setting out to wander, without knowing where you're going to end up, when the journey is more fun than getting there. I try never to forget that part.
This month I've been doing a lot of planning. Books and real life. I'm plotting a new series that I'm sending to Kensington. The Shaws finish at the end of the year. I'll have no unmarried Shaws left! I do have characters in the Emperors that have yet to find their stories, but I've been fired up with devising an entirely new series, set in the same era, but with a new set of characters. What do you think? Should I do it?
Of course that depends a lot on my publisher. I want to write, and I resent any time taken away from writing in order to promote and so on. But I have to do it, and the contact I make is at a comfortable level for me. I guess I don't have the entrepreneurial spirit. I should beg you all for reviews, mentions, spread the word, all that, but really, all I can bring myself to do is to say enjoy the books, and if you genuinely want to spread the word about them, I'd be very grateful.
I'm not offering bribes, making promises or buying reviews outright. Yes. times are tricky. but not impossible, and while I can write and publish the stories I love, I'll continue to do so.
So  just - thanks. For being here, for reading and for making the author community such fun.

Other plans? At the end of this month I'll be in the USA! It's a winding journey, one I should chronicle more thoroughly, but I'm too busy having fun to write it all down! I'm going to be in New York, then in Washington, DC, then Reno for RT Booklovers' Convention, and Los Angeles. It all takes a lot of planning and I'm woefully behind in doing it. I have the flights booked, and a few of the hotels, but not all of them.
If you're in those areas, let me know. Perhaps we can meet up!
I'm very excited to go to these places. I've been to all of them before, and I always find them vibrant and enthralling. So here's to seeing you in  May!
By the way, for those of you who review books, Dauntless is now up at Netgalley. It's out at the end of June, and one step closer to saying farewell to the family that has engrossed me for the last four years.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Richard and Rose

This month began the re-release of the Richard and Rose series.
They’ve had a bumpy ride, both in the real world and in theirs, but they’re back (again!).
They started when my children were little. To counteract the relentless progress of Thomas the Tank Engine, I started writing. I’ve always written, and it’s proved a good friend. I love my children, but you can only read the story of James stuck in the ditch so often!
When I first conceived the story, Richard was an unprepossessing man, a minor nobleman who slid in and out of stately homes almost unnoticed, solving crimes. But when I started to write him, a high-born dandy strode from the pages, one that could never be unnoticed!
The whole series took a right turn, and they never stopped. I wrote eighth altogether, and they went through a series of publishers, so they’ve been edited more than any other series I’ve ever written.
First with NBI, then with Mundania, then Samhain, they gained fans and rankings, and I was thrilled to bits. Then last year, Samhain announced it was closing, and I knew it was time for Richard and Rose to go it alone.
They’re written in the first person, the only series I have ever done in that style. Richard needed a filter, so Rose, the woman who loves him, tells the stories. They developed from less of a crime-solving duo to a couple coping with the consequences of Richard’s past. Because I wondered what happens to a rake when he changes his mind. Surely there could be consequences?
And there are, and it takes eight books to work it out.
There should have been nine, but I found one book, which had the slave trade as its theme, impossible to write. It was just too painful and the research regularly had me in tears. Maybe one day I’ll finish it!
All the houses in the book are based on real ones, and it’s been wonderful to feature photos of them on the cover. I started with Calke Abbey, a phantasmagorical place, restored by the National Trust to be exactly as they found it, half-neglected, occupied by a family more concerned with nature than the interior of the house. Once scene, where I describe the nursery, is taken directly from my notes that I made the first time I visited the Abbey.
Here it is:
“I have rarely, if ever, seen such a shocking sight. Toys lay strewn about randomly, as though the children had only just left the room, but they were mildewed and black with damp. A baby house lay open in the corner, its delicate contents poured out on the floor in front of it, as if the house had vomited them.
A doll I would have loved to own when I was a child sat on a table, its beautiful silk gown torn and rotted. I picked it up. It had a vacant look because it hadn’t been loved for such a very long time. It wore a fontanges, one of those high headresses fashionable fifty or so years before, and as I placed the doll back down again the head-dress slid off. It took the wig with it, leaving the doll obscenely bald.
I shuddered. “I don’t want to stay here too long, Mrs. Peters. This nursery isn’t pleasant.” Mrs. Peters didn’t seem to feel it, but she nodded. We wrote down what we needed to, and hastily left.
The night nursery was next to it, and on the other side the little room once occupied by the night nurse, or the nursemaid. To our surprise, we found this much neater than the other rooms. Someone had neatly folded the bedding away, the drawers and cupboard were bare—all much more normal in appearance.
“Perhaps this room was discontinued for use before the rest of the house was abandoned.”
“Very likely, ma’am.” Mrs. Peters didn’t venture any theory of her own.”

Later in the book, a very important scene happens in the nursery. I made up a story for the governess in “Yorkshire,” but it’s one of the tales I never got to tell.
Maybe it’s for the best. It wasn’t a happy ending, and I do like those.

You can get or preorder the books here. 


And you can read more about the books here: http://lynneconnolly.com/richard-and-rose/

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

New release, out this week!

Lord Darius Shaw has never been in love before. But when he renews his acquaintance with lawyer Andrew Graham in a raid on a molly house, where men meet men for forbidden pleasure, they discover mutual feelings as deep as they are dangerous. For while society will turn a blind eye to an aristocrat’s transgressions, Andrew has far more at stake. The son of city merchants, Andrew has a disastrous marriage in his past, and a young daughter to support. He could lose his livelihood, his reputation and even his life—and drag Darius down with him.

Darius and Andrew’s only choice is to deny the true nature of their relationship. But when an enemy Italian spy threatens their secret—and their futures—the two set out to catch him. And in the process they are forced to face their desires—and make a life-changing decision.

Buy Sinless Here:
Publisher; Kensington Books  :  Amazon USA  :  Amazon UK  :  iTunes  :  Kobo  :  Barnes and Noble Nook

So here he is - Lord Darius Shaw! Darius has everything - a powerful, wealthy family, a fortune in his own right, and he keeps telling himself he should be happy. But he is missing one thing, something he knows he can never have - love.
Until he meets Andrew.
Andrew is an up and coming man, a lawyer also trained as a barrister, a widower with a small daughter. But Andrew harbours a secret that could destroy his life. He prefers a man in his bed.
When Darius is sent to investigate a possible spy in a molly house (something I based on a real life case), he meets Andrew again. And this time they are pushed together. 

Because this is the only male/male novel in a series of male/female novels, I deliberately kept the sensuality light, more so than in the rest of the stories. There is one scene towards the end, but I couldn't leave Darius and Andrew unsatisfied, after I'd spent most of the story teasing and forcing them to confront what they'd been avoiding.
However, men of that time could never openly acknowledge their love. They could never marry, live together as a couple. Society would shun them. Darius's high birth wouldn't have saved him, if they couldn't somehow work out a way. There was always a price to pay and Andrew and Darius have to face the consequences of their love.
These days it seems unbelievable, but even in an age of great appetites and flamboyant behaviour, they would have had to face their critics.