Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Meanderings

Well, I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. My weekend started with a blizzard on Friday, and while I'm completely sick of winter here in the Great White North, the  nasty weather afforded me some  much needed downtime. I got caught up on editing, and did some more writing on Pride and Passion as well, I was able to sit and read through a research book I bought back months ago.

For writers in the Victorian era, or just lovers of the era, I cannot recommend Life in the Victorian Country House by Pamela Horn enough. Fantastic resource, with numerous little kernels of information and lots of photographs, many of which are black and white originals of real-live Victorian aristocrats! I was especially enaormed of the section that spoke of the 'belowstairs' parties and dances that the master of the house allowed his servants. I had no idea that this happened, but apparently, it did, and in many households. So, now I am of course thinking of all the possibilities for future books!

As well as editing and writing--and researching, I spent the weekend working on a new idea for a series. Originally, I thought perhaps that it would be about a group of very close knit friends. I tend to write alot about friends, but suddenly, the friends aspect seemed to melt away, replaced by a very tight knit family, led by the man of the house--a duke. I've never written a series centered around a family. I don't know why, perhaps it's because I really don't have that sort of relationship with my own family. Don't get me wrong, we're all friends, and care for each other, but there is not that emotional closeness that many friends have. But this family...well, this one just feels right. The Westlake's seem so real to me, and jotting them down, and etching out their stories has been alot of fun. I've had numerous inspiring things, from pictures, to music to help this process along. But nothing has been more inspiring than my planned research trip to England.

The North of England has long fascinated me, with it's rugged scenery, it's sometimes bleak sky, and it's hearty people. There's a definite romantic feel for that part of the country, and I've always longed to write about that part of the country. I've been through many times on the train from London to Edinburgh, but I've never stayed. So, this time, I'm spending a few days in London, but then the rest of the time, I'll be staying in North Yorkshire, in a little cottage that is a couple of hundred years old! I can't wait. And I know the scenery is going to be so inspiring for my new series idea. I'm thinking of placing it in early fall, in a country house, with lots of angst and emotion, set amongst the romantic and dramatic moors. Think Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, with lots of smexy parts! lol!

One place I'm determined to go to is Harewood House. I know that this place shall be the starting point for me, because it's the inspiration for the Westlake's country house. From the pictures on the website it looks like the perfect place for the duke and his siblings--along with a feisty, match making aunt!
Imagine being mistress of a such a place!
The 'musing' part of planning a book and or a series, is one of my most favorite aspects of writing. I love to just sit and daydream about the characters, their lovers, the locale, and maybe hear a quote or two that I'll jot down in my 'idea' book. This new idea is particularly exciting becomes it's coming together at the same time that we're planning our trip to England.

There will be more about the trip, as well as the new idea as the months move along. But for now, let me share some of the inspiring pictures of North Yorkshire and its moody moors.

And our gorgeous, historic cottage.......

Curious minds...what part of England, or the UK for that matter, are you just dying to get to? For me, after North Yorkshire, it's the Lake District.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Roundup

It's midweek, and I'm musing about all that I have to do. And boy, I don't look anywhere near as glamorous as the lovely lady in the picture above while I'm doing it!

So, I'm heading into that time that I like to refer to as deadline hell. Basically, I will be nose down, and fingers blistering across the keyboard as I finish writing Pride and Passion, then embark upon Vanity, and then Temptation and Twilight--all due by July. But today, I'll be doing the final touches on Seduction and Scandal, and then sending off the galley's to my editor. I like this stage. It's the last chance I  have to make the book shine. And I usually do little tweaks, and shuffle words around to get the right effect I am looking for. So, I'm planning on having a warm cuppa, and sitting in my comfy chair and whiling away the afternoon with Lord Black and Isabella.

But first, I need to do a bit of housekeeping here on the blog. And that is to announce February's contest winner, and announce March's contest. You can go HERE to learn about the contest for March. And...drumroll please....the winner of Februrary's contest is......

                                                                LAURA T!
Congratulations, Laura! Please leave a comment to this post, with your email addy, and I will be in contact with you. To all others, stay stuned, and keep following the blog. Lots of good stuff coming up, and some good contests, too. I'm all about the swag!

So, now I to the land of London in Autumn, with it's fog, and chilly autumnal winds, and the heat from Lord Black's intense gaze, which smolders with a deep sensuality....I can hardly wait!

What are you musing about today?    

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Passion Thursday!

Well, some of you might have seen this floating around the cybersphere, but I thought I'd post this with a little something extra for readers! I haven't talked too much about this series, mostly because I've been busy writing and promoting releases that come before it. But, when I received this from my editor a  few days ago, I  just couldn't resist showing it off.

Well, without further adieu, here is the GORGEOUS, not to mention STUNNING cover for book 2 of The Brethren Guardian's...Pride and Passion!

OOh, isn't it gorgeous! I just love it, and it's so fitting for the sensuality of the book! Just can't stop staring at it! In fact, I think it's my favourite cover, and that's saying something because I've been totally blessed by the cover gods!

Here's the back cover copy!
They each have their secrets. But what they share is Passion

Lucy Ashton had long ago given up her quest for true love. In the rarified society of Victorian England, Lucy plays the game--flirting, dancing and dabbling in the newly fashionable spiritualism. Even marrying when--and who--she's supposed to. If the stuffy Duke of Sussex cannot spark the passion she craves, he can at least give her a family, a home of her own,and a place to belong. But when her polite marriage reveals a caring and sensual man, Lucy begins to wonder if she can indeed have it all.

But Lord Sussex is not the man the London ton has come to admire. And Lucy has some ghosts of her own, as well. Thus, when a blackmail scheme turns to threats of danger, the newfound peace of the Sussex marriage is cast upon the rocks. Passion has a price, Lucy learns. And not all ghosts stay buried.

Phew! I'm loving the back blurb, too! lol! So, this is the second book of The Brethren Guardian series, and will release December 2011. The first book, Seduction and Scandal will release in July. Lots more to come about this series, but for now, I thought I'd tease you with the cover, the blurb, and this little snippet from the book (the book is being written now, so please remember that this is undedited, and may change or be deleted during the editorial/revision stage)

 “When have you ever done anything against the grain, your grace?” she demanded. “When have you ever broken mould, or gone outside your unbearably proper and stuffy organized little world to risk anything?”

Oh, how she felt like railing at him, and the world and the future that loomed heavy and lonely before her. She was filled with anger--and rage. The injustice of it all, the pain of having her life managed for her as if she were too weak and feeble minded to manage it for herself. And while the anger she felt seethed and grew and all but consumed her thoughts and body, the duke stood there, towering over her with his implacable granite-like countenance that betrayed nothing of what he felt--if indeed he even felt at all.

“What do you know what it is to live, to take a risk? You can have no understanding, no comprehension because you live your life ordered and distant and controlled. You’re nothing but a title,” she taunted, baiting him, waiting for some flicker of something from those glacial eyes of his. When he would not rise and meet her challenge, she jumped from the settee and took a step toward him, the anger inside now a living, breathing thing, making her restless and destructive. But she must obey it. From childhood, she had ignored the pain, the heartache, hoping it would go away, but it hadn’t, and now…now her heart was shattering into a million little shards while her new husband looked on--remote, unfeeling. Not giving a damn, only caring that he had secured himself a rich, blue blooded bride.

“You can have no idea what it is to risk all for happiness.” She took another step, and then another, heedless of the fact her body was trembling, and her bottom lip quivering, and her eyes--how they misted with the scalding heat of tears. One slipped down her cheek and she tasted it, the

bitterness of betrayal and pain, and the engulfing melancholy and despair that filled every fibre of her being. Another fell, unchecked, a testament to her sorrow, the pain of having every last one of her hopes and dreams dashed by one negligent, selfish wave of both her father and the duke’s hand.

"What,” she demanded, taking another step toward him, until her burnished golden bustled gown brushed over his trousers, and shoes, and she was forced to tilt her head back to glare up at him. “Damn you, Sussex, what do you know of risking all for the one thing you want most?”

The seconds ticked by, marked by the delicate clicking of the mantle clock. Between them, the air which had been settled, seemed to change. It was a subtle thing at first, but then it seemed to crackle, to take on new life, to hum between them as Sussex lowered his gaze to her face, letting it travel over her tear stained cheeks, then to her mouth, where it lingered, robbing Lucy of breath.

“What do I know of risk?” he murmured, his voice deep and velvety, as luring as the nap of expensive velvet against her fingertips. “What do I know,” he repeated, this time his voice was darker, more compelling, and when he stepped closer, and the heat from his body, and the scent of his cologne washed over her, he seemed to take the air straight out of her lungs--the room--possibly the very Earth.

“I know risk,” he said, and she heard the rustle of her gown swishing around his legs as he moved closer. “I’ve tasted it. Felt its heady call.”

“You’ve never heeded the call,” she accused.

“Oh, but I have. I know what it is to take the greatest risk of my life, for the one thing I want most.”

He had backed her up against the wall, and the marble pillar that stood on either side of the salon door pressed cool and unyielding against her shoulders.

“The greatest risk of my life, was today, when I made you my wife. When I vowed to love and protect, and stay faithful to you. When I vowed to worship you with my body.”

As to remind her of that, he brushed against her, his body melding and pressing against hers in an erotic reminder of what would happen between them. Another brush, another waft of his skin, and hair, and everything that made a man a man told her that he would use this body against her--to subdue her, break her--worship her. The whispered reminder--in his voice--made her skin grow warm and taut, her breasts swell as her body seemed to grow weak and willing beneath the subtle erotic pressure of his.

He was crowding her, his tall, big body encompassing her short one. Surely that was the reason she had suddenly reached out and grabbed the lapels of his jacket; why his hand was wrapped around her waist, his strong fingers squeezing, pressing into the bodice of her gown.

“Today, I tasted that risk when I made you my wife, knowing that you might never feel the way about me as I feel about you.”

His hand, so hot and strong was sliding up her midriff, his fingers, gliding over her ribs, the tip of his index finger lingering beneath her breast. Their gazes were locked, and she felt some inexplicable force pull her to him. But she would not give in to that power.

“I am but a pawn in the game of powerful men. A possession to be bought and placed on the shelf for your friends to admire.”

“No.” The word was a masculine whisper against her flesh as he lowered his head to hers.

“A duchess to play hostess for you. A wife to see to the running of your household, and your social and political ambitions.”


“A..a..” she floundered, trying to find another analogy for his purpose in marrying her but he stopped her when she felt the delicate brush of his mouth above her jaw.

“A friend. A companion. A beautiful, passionate lover to spend the day and nights with. A woman to carry my children, a life partner to share the ups and downs of life. A woman I can share my dreams with, and who will share hers with me. A woman who I can comfort and hold in times of need, and who will hold me when I am weak, and sorrowful, and in need of the sort of succour only a woman can give to her husband. A woman who I want so desperately to make love to. You, Lucy, you are that woman.”

Their gazes met, and she could not resist asking him the question that burned in her mind. “H..How,” she wet her lips, tried to speak again. “How do you feel about me?”

His eyes, those cold, mysterious eyes stared down at her, haunting her with their ghosts and mysteries. But they were not the eyes of the duke, she thought in wonder as they grew warmer--almost silver. These were the haunted, troubled eyes of Adrian York, the man behind the title, the man who had known pain and coldness. The man who was her husband and who held troubling secrets deep within.

“How do I feel for you?” he asked, his gaze never wavering from hers. “I would die for you.”

I am seriously lovin me some Duke of Sussex! In the series, he's known throughout the ton as The Duke of Delicousness. I cannot take credit for that exquisite nick name. But have to give kudos to my friend Aly who provided the gem! Thanks Aly! And boy, does the name for work him--perfectly. He's very kind, very sensual, but he has that sexual intensity that most of my heroes have. And he's patient. Oh, boy he could be a virtue, he has so much patience. And he uses it, making Lucy wait to taste the passion he's kept hidden for her. So, stay tuned. More little bread crumbs to come about this book, and all the other books releasing, too!

As well, I have another friend who has a fantastic blog (well, two friends, but that blog is for another post) who has an exclusive excerpt of Seduction and Scandal on her blog. Lord Black, the hero of the book is dark and brooding and myterious. I love him. Just go to to Lovin Me Some Romance to read the excerpt!

Okay, well, I'm back to writing.
Till next time...
Be Well!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday

Well, the sun is shining here--brilliantly--for the first time in weeks. We still have numerous feet of snow, but the weather forcast is calling for a bit of a warm up by the end of the week. I always get so antsy this time of year for spring. Winter where I live comes, sometimes by the end of October. This year it was early November. And while it's nice for holidays, four months of the white stuff and the frigid temps has me a I'm ready for spring, the sounds of the birds, the feel of the warm sun, and at last, the ability to open my windows!

All this waiting on spring leads me to today's post. Just a bunch of tidbits, really. So, first in the queue is Foreign Covers. As an author, I'm always so excited to get my foreign covers. First, because I'm SUCH a cover monger. I literally drive my editor insane, asking when my covers will be ready. So, not only do I get one cover, I can get several, if the countries who purchase the rights to the book decide to change it. And the other reason I love foreign covers is to see what sells in their country, what readers are looking for in their covers. The covers I'm going to show you now tie in nicely with that spring-like feel. Strange, since the first one is the cover for Winter's Desire.
The French cover for Winter's Desire! OMG, I cannot tell you how much I am in love with this cover. The colors, the sensuality, her red hair and that stunning white lily! I just love it. And I think the French are very sensual and romantic people, and this cover really conveys that. I just love it! What do you think?
The Italian cover for Sinful! So different from the original, which featured Wallingford looking alone and rough, and very masculine. I see this as more from Jane's perspective. It has a softer, feminine feel, with just a hint of the sexiness. I really like it, and I can't believe how very different it is from the original.
This is the Italian edition of Lust. It's not a completely different cover, but they've cropped it closer, and cut out some stuff, so it does have a different feel. There's very definitely more of a focus on the female model. I do, however, love the title. Sigh...Lussuria....sounds perfect!

I do wish I was able to read in other languages. I have a very rudimentary understanding of French and Italian, so I'm able to pick out words here and there, but really, I can't read them. I do sometimes fear that maybe all of the book is not there, considering these foreign copies are usually a little thinner!

In other news, I have some bragging to do. I'm not the bragging sort, but this important to me--maybe it's because the book was so important to me. The news....Sinful has been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice award, as well, as these....

 Woo Hoo, I'm so happy that someone other me fell for poor old Lord Wallingford! How I loved him and Lindsay! Thanks so much to everyone who nominated Sinful! Now, let's keep everything crossed that I might win of one of them!
And speaking of Lindsay and Wallingford, we'll be seeing more of them, and their ladies in May, when the anthology The Wedding of the Century releases from HQN. My novella Seduced By Starlight features Jase Markham, the son of Linday and Anais, and Blossom, the daughter of Wallingford and Jane.
Starting in mid April, I'm going to have some fun on the blog, introducing it, and bringing Lindsay and Wallingford back, as well as putting up deleted scenes from the anthology, and a sexy teaser of Jase and Blossome! And maybe even a little snippet or two of Lindsay and Wallingford, down the road! There will also be chances to win some early copies of the anthology!

Until next time, be well!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Historicals--Dressing Up The Part

If there is one thing I love about writing historicals, beyond those brooding dukes and earl's, and ravishment scenes in carriages, it's dressing my heroine's up! I think part of the reason I'm so drawn to writing in the Victorian Era is the clothing. Geesh, I just love corsets and ballgowns, and jewellry and all that feminine fru fru stuff that exemplifies the Victorian way of life. And the Victorian era lasted so many decades, that you can really get quite a bit of different design choices--and research is so plentiful, along with design plates, and glossy books.

One of my favorite things is the corset, and all the satin ribbon and bows that go with it. Really, I think it's just so pretty and romantic, and I can imagine how a lady of leisure must have felt, knowing what was under those bustled gowns. How could one not feel pretty in feminine in such garments? How could men not go utterly mad when that ballgown is stripped away, and his heroine, whom he's been longing for is finally revealed to him wearing a corset and silk stockings? I mean, how could he not be provoked to an instant, sexual frenzy when presented with his virginal heroine wearing any of the above corsets, or the picture below?
For a writer who enjoys writing the more sensual, and base side of Victorian relationships, these images hold alot of inspiration. I jcan ust imagine some dark haired rogue bending down to play with, and sensually untie those creme and ribbons on the ivory corset. It's so pretty and romantic, but at the same time, an erotic writer's fuel for a tantalyzing scene!

Virtual shopping is for me, research. It's also inspiration. When I'm writing, I'll frequently go trolling through sites for pretty things, and ideas for dress up. Today, I found these lovely corsets, but I also found some really neat things for Vanity, the  next book in my Sins and Virtues series. Now, that's more an erotic fantasy fairytale type of book, and the pictures I've found really convey that feel, plus they've inspired a few scenes! As well, I needed to fill out the cover art fact sheet, and I sent these pictures along, to aide the cover art department with what I'm seeing in my mind for Vanity, and his virtue Humility.

What do you think of these? I think they have that airy quality that I always associate with the Fey, plus there's just enough drama and sensuality to suit those bad boy Unseelie Fey of mine!
I can tell you, I'm DEFINITELY using that throat corset! It's just too gorgeous and tempting too pass up!
In Pride and Passion, book 2 of The Brethren Guardians, which I'm currently writing, Lucy, the heroine is unconvential in the fact that she makes her own clothes and corsets. Despite the fact I'm challenged with even sewing on buttons, I'm enjoying creating all Lucy's elaborate dresses, and trousseau. But, I'm having a hard time finding the right kind of lingerie for Lucy to use to seduce the Duke of Sussex into committing unspeakable acts on the parlor floor--and the leather settee--and of course the ducal bed. Please, if you come across any fine looking examples, email them to me, or leave links here. I'd love the help! If you're at all interested here's a fabulous, and most inspiring link!

So, when reading your historical's, what's your favorite part of the clothing? Or maybe it's the design and decorating? Or, maybe it's those white billowy shirts the heroes wear....oooh, don't even get me started on those shirts. I like them with sleeves rolled up and some thick, corded forearms sticking out!

Happy Friday, and to all who might be celebrating Valentine's day this weekend, have fun!
 Be Well!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Favourite Things...

Geesh, sounds like a Martha Stewart thing, doesn't it? Alas, i am NO Martha, but, during the past few years as a published author, I've been asked lots of questions about things that are important to me, as well what kind of things I like. So, I decided to add this feature to my blog. I'll vary it up with my fav things, but thought I'd start off with this...

There's no denying one of my fav things in the world is food--and cooking. And one of my most favourite things in the world is good chocolate.So, because it's February, and Valentine's Day is just a few days away, I decided to share one of my favourite things...

Nearly No Fat Fudge Brownies
I found this recipe on the tin lining of my fat free vanilla yogurt tub, and I've been sold ever since. This recipe is soooo easy, and so chocolately and decadent--and guiltless. You can make it for your sweetie, or just yourself. Or, pick up your favourite romance novel, a cup of something warm, and dive into the brownies for a truly decadent afternoon treat! For those who are weight conscious (I'm on Weight Watchers, but that's another story for another time) I've figured out the Points Plus value of each ieto be 3pts, for one generously sized ooey gooey brownie. Enjoy!!!

Nearly No Fat Fudge Brownies
1/2 cup chocolate melted. (I've been known to mix chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips. YUMMY!)

1 cup Astro Original vanilla yogurt (fat free)

1/2 Cup sugar

3/4 Cup flour

1/2 Cup cocoa powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 Cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Mix chocolate, yogourt and sugar
3. Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking soda into chocolate mixture and stir until just combined. Add water and stir until mixture comes together.
4. Pour into a parchment lined 8X8 pan
5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
6. Cool completely and cut into squares
Makes 12 brownies.

I just made a batch, and I'm going to turn on the tellie, sit down with my coffee and brownie and indulge in my next favourite thing...Jamie Olivier!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Calling All Paranormal Junkies

Today I'm over at Harlequin's Paranormal Blog chatting about Lust and building ideal 'faery men'! Join me for a chance to win Lust, and also to see the fantabulous offering of Paranormal authors and stories from Harlequin.

So, okay, I know this hot image is of an angel, but hey, let's not be too picky! BTW, did you know that not only do I have a thing for dark, hot as hell Fey, I'm also insane for bad boy fallen angels! And this bad boy was just tooooo good to resist!

 See you there!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Dear Diary...

With a new year, comes resolutions, and this year, I have sworn to do a better job at keeping readers informed about what's going on with my books. For any of you who come by my website, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about--I'm really, really, REALLY bad at keeping it all current!

So, I decided to do it this way, to take my blog, and make it into a mini-site. Weekly updates, chit chat, character visits, contests, and of course, up to the minute information about books--covers, pre-order information, reviews, and of course, sexy excerpts! I do have some extra features planned to keep you entertained and coming back, and of course contests!

So, for all my old friends who did stop by back when I was being faithful to blogging--welcome back! And to all the new readers, welcome!

So far, I've got my contest up and running for February, and it's REALLY easy to enter. Just click the contest button for more information. The Books pages are all up to date, with past releases, and excerpts, and the Coming Soon is up to date, with some excerpts, and a few more to come--just a little teaser to whet your appetite!

I'd like to give a special thanks to Barbara for this glorious blog design. I just love it. It's etheral but romantic, sensual and sophtistcated, and rather calming, I think. Frankly, I can't stop staring at it! I think it's a really wonderful reflection of my writing. It also brings to mind a line from Keats, whom poems, and letters I adore. The quote is...

I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days - three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain. ~John Keats

Beautiful words to go along with a beautiful design!
Please come back from time to time, to keep up with all the goings on...and there is a lot going on in the next coming months!

Be Well!

Site Design by Barbara