So, where to begin?
At the beginning of April I was seriously considering a break in
writing, or at least, in publishing my work. With the closure of three
of the publishers I worked with, and the ending of a series, it seemed
like a good time to take a breather. The publishing market hasn't got
any easier over the years, and it's hard work, keeping up to date,
keeping the website current, getting the newsletter out, and oh, yes,
Dauntless comes out later this month, the third of the four books in The
Shaws series, so I planned to give myself a little time to plan my next
But then two things happened that made my decision redundant.
First, I have a new agent! Jill Marsal of Marsall Lyon is handling my
contracts for historical romance. I'm thrilled to have her on my side,
even more since I met her in San Diego recently. I'm waiting now, on two
submissions, both historical series.
It's hard to wait, but I need to be patient. Or so I'm telling myself!
Second, I have a new contract for contemporary romance! I haven't
published any contemporary romance for a while, so it's really great to
get back to it. I have signed a contract with Tule Publishing for a
quartet about four brothers who find their loves. But it's not that easy
for them, or where would be the fun in that? At the start of the series
only two brothers know each other, but they find that their mother had
some shocks in store in two more siblings they had no idea about!
I've handed the first manuscript in, and I'm working on the second. Stay tuned for more developments, and release dates!
I am so thrilled about these developments, and it just goes to show - never give up, keep trying, if your heart is in the work.
The RT Booklovers' Convention
usual, I went over to the US to visit friends and to attend the RT
Booklovers' Convention, which this year was in Reno. This, I discovered
to my dismay, was to be the last RT Convention. I've been going since
2007, and I can't begin to tell you how much the convention means to me.
But, alas, it is no more. Kathryn Falk and Kenneth Rubin have decided
to retire the RT brand. From Romantic Times to the Convention and all
the offshoots, they will cease to be at the end of this year. It's a
blow for the romance community, but I can't help but be thankful for all
the things Kathryn and Kenneth have done for me, and the community as a
whole. I've written about it at more length in a blog post.
But the convention itself was its usual blend of madness, business and sheer fun, leaving me wrung out at the end.
But here are some memories I can take away from this year's convention:
With the lovely Cindy McGee
Our panel. A great success!
The gang's all here!
Month sees the release of the third book in The Shaws series. It's
Dru's story. The middle child, stuck between two sets of twins, Lady
Drusilla Shaw has always felt a bit left out. But once she meets Oliver,
Duke of Mountsorrel, her life changes. For the better? 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 . . .
Lady Drusilla Shaw may be a bit introverted, yet she has the observant
mind of a writer, capturing all of society’s quirks and scandals. But
when the novel she’s been working on disappears from her room, that is
just the beginning of her problems. Confident, magnetic Oliver, Duke of
Mountsorrel, has taken an interest in Dru, and when he proposes, she is
both thrilled and anxious. Her book depicts a ruinous family story that
is uncannily similar to Oliver’s real-life, not to mention libelous. The
manuscript could surface at any moment—and eventually it does, in
published form, for all to read . . .
Oliver is bewildered by his new wife and her blasted book. Worst of all,
how can he love a woman he no longer trusts? But when it becomes
obvious that someone is taking their cues from the book in a series of
attacks, he has no choice but to stick close to her. Their explosive
connection in bed should take care of the heir-making, but for that to
happen, Drusilla has to stay alive—and so does Oliver.
time Drusilla attended a ball, or the theater, or any other society
event, she had that expectation. Would she meet him tonight? The man who
would make her world shine, the one she’d written about all her life?
The fact that she’d met most of the eligible men in society, that there
were no more left to meet, didn’t stop that traitorous feeling of maybe
this time, maybe tonight …
a maid was helping her divest herself of her hat and cloak, an elbow
dig from a nearby countess who did not even attempt an apology was
enough to persuade her to take a step back.
her heel caught in the ruffles of her petticoat, and she tumbled
backward. Just what she needed—an undignified tumble. At least she wore
enough layers to protect her. She’d probably take a few members of the
peerage with her. Then the gossip writers would report on that and
nothing else, and her aunt, the formidable Duchess of Kirkburton, would
be severely displeased. And her mother would be disappointed.
She should have never come. She could have pleaded illness and stayed at home with her writing.
none of her doom-laden prophesies happened. Instead, a pair of strong
masculine arms caught her and drew her close to a wall of muscle. While
the contact lasted barely a few seconds, its impact jolted her into
total awareness. The dreamy cloud that surrounded her most times melted
away. All she felt was a wall of muscle and being held in a secure grip.
She would have given anything to subside into his arms, and for a
moment she did just that. His arms closed around her, giving her a
satisfying sense of security.
forced herself to pull away. When she turned, she confronted a pair of
startled gray eyes set in a face so ruthlessly masculine she wondered if
a hard-bitten soldier had somehow forced his way into a society ball.
unmistakable air of command easily dominated this hall full of the
cream of society. Here, more titles and wealth abounded than anywhere
else in the country. This man did not get his air of power from his
her manners, she dropped a curtsy. He responded, bowing slightly, but
they hadn’t been introduced, so they could do nothing more.
all that, she knew him. Their paths had not crossed. The Duke of
Mountsorrel attended few society events, but he could not elude them
completely. However, he avoided single eligible ladies as if they bore
the plague. His severe dress spoke of the Puritan, but he was no City
merchant. If observers looked closely, they would see that his dark blue
twilled silk coat and the matching waistcoat were the finest fabric and
the best work money could buy.
turned away, only to confront Livia, who stared at him blatantly. Her
curtsy was even more perfunctory than the one a shaken Dru had given
him. She received the same stiff bow before he turned around and left.
* * * *
cupboard. Oliver found he’d entered an anteroom that was little more
than a closet. So leaving it with dignity was out of the question. And
he could find only one door. That damned woman had stumbled on purpose,
he was sure of it, and her accomplice had been waiting for a chance to
block him. Such snares would trap a boy barely out of petticoats, but
Oliver should have known better.
hated balls and social occasions with a passion he usually reserved for
murderers and cabbage. Especially now, when one touch of warm female
flesh had driven his body into hard, needy arousal. It didn’t matter
that the woman had been respectably clothed. He wanted her anyway.
took in the room with a comprehensive glance. That was all the place
deserved. A hard chair and a table, and rough pegs on the wall. No doubt
the unfortunate footman on duty spent hours here, but Oliver saw no
trace of occupation. No book, no newspaper, not even a glass. He would
have allowed the footman who occupied this room something to do. Even
Charles’s attendants had a more comfortable life, and God knew they had
plenty to do.
he’d tried. Even thinking of his brother had not caused his raging
erection to subside. One touch, that was all it had taken. One
accidental tumble. As if he’d never felt a woman’s soft body in his arms
before. Lady Drusilla Shaw did not even sport the abundant curves he
preferred in his women. Her waist was impossibly slender. The notion of
hoisting her up, his hands circling her waist, and driving into her took
him by complete surprise. It sent a thrill of recognition all the way
up his spine to the center of his mind. He would probably never rid
himself of that vision now.
he knew who she was. One of the Emperors of London, hence her unusual
name. They were all named after emperors and empresses of the past in a
conceit invented by their parents. He’d seen the tribe working, watched
the way they smoothly covered all parts of a ball. Many would be here
tonight, since this was Emperor territory. They would watch him, he
knew. Unmarried women abounded in the family, although their numbers had
decreased of late.
would not succumb to her ladyship’s less than voluptuous charms. She
had the appeal of a dainty, pretty woman, one who would break under his
big body. No, she was not for him.
couldn’t even pace properly in this tiny space. So he put his
self-control to work, leaned against the wall, and folded his arms.
Oliver waited until the murmur outside had changed to a dull roar and the influx of guests he’d arrived with had left.
he stepped out of the room, dusting off his waistcoat, and tried to
slide into the maelstrom that surrounding him. To a great extent he
succeeded. As he glanced up, he saw two women standing side by side,
goggling over the banisters on the next floor. Lady Drusilla and her
sister Lady Livia.
women should be hanged at dawn. Or banned from attending society
events. Either would work for him. They had not the least idea of how to
behave. Were it not for their fine clothing, he’d have assumed they
were country girls up for the season.
all the dignity he could muster, he ascended the stairs and greeted his
hostess. The Duchess of Kirkburton, while diminutive in stature,
towered over society as one of its best established and most influential
in white satin with a plethora of ruffles, lace, and embroidery, her
grace should have been swamped. However, her personality defeated any
attempt to overwhelm her. Graciously she offered her hand. Gallantly,
Oliver bowed over it, wishing he were anywhere but here.
He would put a bold face on his worries and concentrate on finding his life’s partner.
“Your grace, I’m pleased to see you here. Welcome to my house.”
the spider to the fly. Used to schooling his features, Oliver stretched
his lips into a semblance of a smile. “It is entirely my honor, your
bosom tightly constricted in stays that must have made breathing
difficult, the duchess inclined her head. “It is a great pity you were
not in town last year, sir. My daughter Helena would have been perfect
for you. However, I do have another daughter, and she is dazzling the
world. I would be honored to introduce you.”
an odd thing to say! Lady Helena had made an advantageous marriage
recently. Why would her mother resent that? And she clearly did, from
her frosty words as she skipped over one daughter and right to another.
duchess’s unmarried daughter was ten years younger than he, perhaps
more since she had barely been out a year. While others might not balk
at the age difference and some would welcome it, Oliver needed a mature
female, someone of sense and gravity. Perhaps he should set his sights
lower. A vicar’s widow or a young woman of genteel family might prove a
better duchess, if only because she was closer to the realities of life.
She would have a lot of reality to manage. He had no intention of
keeping secrets from his bride.
a tug to set his waistcoat to rights, his invariable habit when making a
decision, he bowed to his hostess and strode forward into the ballroom.
You can find Dauntless here, together with the other books in the series
and the buy links - currently up for preorder, but it won't be long
before the day of release! https://lynneconnolly.com/the-shaws/