Thursday, 27 October 2016

Two new releases in time for Christmas

As  most of you already know, the first novel I ever published was a Regency Novel, An Improper Suitor. My publisher was Robert Hale, a successful publisher who had been in the business since the 1920s. Mr. Hale was a lovely, old-fashioned publisher who actually read every manuscript that was considered for publication and interacted personally with his writers. His publishing company had a specialized market which was supplying hardcovers to libraries. He had been doing this for many years, but as the budgets for libraries shrunk, the business was hit hard.

I'm indulging in some reminiscing now because I'm in the process of revising An Improper Suitor to put it out with a new cover, and I'm remembering the thrill of first receiving a letter of acceptance from Mr. Hale telling me he'd like to publish my novel. Sadly, Robert Hale closed their business last year around this time, but I remember Mr. Hale telling me to stick to writing Regencies which is what I was good at, and not to get distracted writing Jane Austen sequels. He did publish my first two P&P sequels anyway, but I can't help thinking sometimes about what he said.

Well, I have gone back to writing some more Regencies, mostly because I was invited to be part of a lovely group of ex-Hale Regency writers and I'm more than delighted to participate in their box-set project. So this year I've written a new novella for the Regency Romantics Winter box set, Dancing Through the Snow. It's already out for a very reasonable price, considering there are six of us.

A Collection of 6 Regency Romances From Bestselling Authors

One Night at the Abbey – Amanda Grange
When Miss Hilary Wentworth takes up an appointment at Carisbrooke Abbey, she finds it embroils her in a winter of mystery and romance. What secret haunts Lord Carisbrooke? And when Hilary uncovers it, can they find the love and happiness they deserve?

A Most Unexpected Christmas - Fenella Miller
Lydia Halstead has no desire to remarry or to attend social gatherings. However, she is persuaded to accompany her brother and his family to Fakenham Manor.
Lord Theodore Fakenham is not pleased to discover his mama has arranged a Christmas house party without his permission. This is not an auspicious start to the festive period.
An infestation of mice in the nursery, a riotous snowball fight and an accident in the study make for a very unexpected Christmas.

Dancing Through the Snow – Monica Fairview
Amelia Neville is convinced she has found the perfect husband, but unfortunate circumstances throw her into the company of the distrustful Duke of Sutcliff. Forced to attend the Duke’s Christmas house party by her matchmaking Mama, Amelia knows she’s going to hate every minute. But romance is in the air in the snowy landscape…. A traditional Regency romance with a touch of laughter.

Christmas at Castleray – Wendy Soliman
When Alisa Langdon and Chase Beaumont are invited to Castleray for Christmas, they expect a peaceful holiday. But instead they are attacked on the road and then Alisa’s servants are ostracised in the local village. Can Chase and Alisa discover who attacked them? And can Chase ignore his growing attraction to Alisa, who appears intent upon honouring her father’s dying wish by marrying her indolent stepbrother…

A Winter’s Madcap Escapade - Elizabeth Bailey
A stranger hiding in Lord Dymond's coach pitchforks him into a chaotic enterprise to protect young Apple from her own folly - much to her indignation!

The Duke's Christmas Bride - Melinda Hammond
Waldo, the fifth Duke of Charingden, shows no inclination to marry. In desperation his family invite a string of eligible beauties to the Christmas Ball at Birklands for him to choose from, but the only young lady to interest the duke is little Clara Tillotson, who is herself desperate to avoid being forced into marriage….. A sparkling Regency romance with just a touch of snow! 

My second release is last year's box set novella, A Merry Christmas Chase. If you missed it last year, then here's your chance to get a copy, since the box set is no longer available.

When the new Earl at Sorrelgate Lodge catches Cherry poaching, she manages to escape before he discovers her identity. But the Earl is serious about catching his poacher and bringing “him” to justice, so Cherry flees to her estranged rich aunt. Imagine her dismay when she discovers that the Earl is a house guest there for the whole Twelve Days of Christmas! She quickly has to improvise to throw him off the scent.
Lord Carsdale is attending the Christmas house party to find a wife, but there is something very odd about Lady Ashburn’s niece. At first he does everything he can to avoid her, but soon catches glimpses of someone else behind the mask she wears. As Carsdale becomes more and more intrigued, he is unaware that she is leading him on a merry chase in which the boundary between the hunter and the hunted quickly gets hopelessly tangled. 
A Sweet Traditional Regency romance that will warm the cockles of your heart. 

Friday, 9 September 2016

Giveaway and chance to win a free e-book: The Darcy Novels

Over at Laura's Reviews, I have a treat. Not only did Laura review Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy, but she is hosting me as part of the Blog Tour. So head over there to read an excerpt of the novel and for a chance to win an e-book copy.

Plus there is still a chance to win one of The Darcy Novels at Diary of an Eccentric, which ends on Sunday the 11th. You can find a different excerpt there. I hope you enjoy. Meanwhile, if you'd like to read Anna's review of Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy, you'll find it here. 

Meanwhile, I was delighted to see a review of not one, but two of my novels on Meditative Meanderings. Susanna reviewed both Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy and Steampunk Darcy. I do like surprises! 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Mr. Darcy: Example of a Regency Gentleman

I thought it would nice to share this video produced by the BBC about The Regency Gentleman, particularly since they talk about Mr. Darcy in it! What do you think? Does he live up to your expectations?

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Blog Tour Progress

So I'm right in the middle of my Blog Tour and I have to say, I do love the chance to interact with readers. It gives me a chance to get feedback and get a much more personal sense of who's reading my novels, what they enjoy about them, and what they would like me to write.

Today I'm visiting Maria at My Jane Austen Book Club and I'm answering a series of questions about MR DARCY himself, so hop on over and see if you agree with the answers. Plus, if you haven't yet started the Darcy Novels series, you'll have an opportunity to win a copy of one of the three novels: Mr. Darcy's Pledge, Mr. Darcy's Challenge and Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy.

Other Stops On the Tour So Far

with more to come!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Here It is At Last! Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy

It's been a long journey from start to finish, but here it is, finally!

Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy is now available to pre-order on Amazon and will shortly be available in other outlets, too. Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy concludes the Darcy Novel series, but it can easily be read as a standalone novel.

If you haven't had a chance to read the earlier books, here they are.

Meanwhile, since the pre-order at Amazon doesn't show an excerpt, here is the opening of the novel for you to enjoy.

Chapter One 

It was a glorious autumn day, with just the right nip in the air, just the right kind of blue in the sky, and just the right kind of cream clouds soaring above the city. In short, the weather had contrived to be perfect on this most perfect of occasions. At least, that was what Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley thought as he stepped out of his townhouse, deposited his top hat on his head, and twirled his walking cane by his side. He was too dignified to skip down the steps as he would have liked to, or to slide down the banister as he did when he was a child, but his heart was leaping with joyous energy nevertheless. Miss Elizabeth Bennet had agreed to be his wife -- dearest, loveliest Elizabeth -- and nothing could complete his happiness other than to have her in his arms, in his bed, and in Pemberley. For now, however, London must do, and accordingly, London seemed to be doing its best to make the day as radiant and sublime as it could possibly be.

He had asked for the carriage to be brought round, and as he emerged, it halted on the cobbled stones in front of the townhouse. He viewed it with pride. It had been scrubbed clean of the grime of London and polished until it gleamed, the gilded Darcy coat of arms glittering in the sunlight. On this momentous day, he would not arrive at the Gardiners in a hired cab. He wanted as much pomp and ceremony as he could garner in barely an hour’s notice. He had sent out for the best flowers that could be found this late in the season and ordered the inside of the carriage hung with garlands and the seats strewn with rose petals. He would take Elizabeth to Hyde Park in the afternoon and make her feel like a queen. As he stepped in, the sweet aroma infused his nostrils, evoking in him the buoyant feeling of spring time.

He could still scarcely believe it. He had proposed to Elizabeth for the third time and she had finally accepted him. All that remained was for Mr. Bennet to give his consent and for the papers to be drawn. It was a mere formality, he knew, but things would not feel settled until he had done so. In a few hours – nay, even earlier – Elizabeth Bennet, the love of his life, would be his.
He knocked on the roof to get the carriage going and immediately the horses set off at a trot. Not for long, however. Soon the clamor and the traffic slowed them down to a crawl and Darcy started to become restless. He was impatient to see Elizabeth, as well as to speak to her father. On a more mundane level, too, he was hungry. Mrs. Gardiner had extended an invitation for Darcy to join them for luncheon and he had been glad to accept, not only for the opportunity to spend time with Elizabeth, but also because he had not eaten a morsel of the Bingley’s lavish wedding breakfast. He had been too nervous to even consider eating then, but now his stomach was making rumbles of discontent.

As they drew closer to Church Street where the Gardiners resided, a commotion sounded ahead and the carriage came to a standstill. Darcy put his head out of the window and found a wheelbarrow full of lettuces had been upset and was blocking their way. They were close to their destination, and Darcy considered whether he would not be better off walking, but he did not want his newly polished boots to be stained, not today, when he wanted to look his absolute best.

“Can you turn back?” said Darcy, to Young Ebenezer, the coachman.

Ebenezer grinned. “Well, Mr. Darcy, it is quite difficult to turn it in such a tight space, but if anyone can do it, I can.”

Darcy nodded. “Do it.”

Then it was an eternity of waiting as the carriage was slowly and painfully maneuvered until it was facing the opposite direction. After that, they still had to find their way through some of the back streets to the Gardiner’s place, which was a challenge even for Young Ebenezer’s ingenuity. They were forced to stop and ask the way a few times.

Then, finally, they were there, in front of the elegant white stucco townhouse. The blue door to the house opened, the stairs were let down, and there was Elizabeth, standing in the doorway, the sun glinting off her auburn curls. He leaped from the carriage and was by her side in a moment. She put out her hands to him and he grasped them, longing to draw her closer, but forcing himself to be content with that limited contact.

“I have missed you,” he said, drinking in her presence.

Her eyes laughed back at him. “You cannot have missed me, Mr. Darcy, surely. It has been less than two hours since I last saw you.”

See on Amazon

Sunday, 24 January 2016

An Interview with Jane Austen, by Monica Fairview

Jane Austen is known for her caustic and irreverent wit. I thought it might be fun to highlight some of her most famous statements by framing them in a particular way.

So today, as a special guest, I have Miss Jane Austen, who has kindly agreed to answer some of my questions about romance, her view of marriage and her writings, using her own words. I hope you will welcome her warmly.

So many people have come to love and admire Mr. Darcy, your creation. What do you think is the main attribute of the romantic hero?
There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.

In your opinion, what is the best way to win a gentleman’s heart?
In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better show more affection than she feels.

What about all the enhancements a young lady has at her disposal? All the fine Regency gowns we love so much?
It would be mortifying to the feelings of many ladies, could they be made to understand how little the heart of man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire. Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone.

Elizabeth Bennet’s lively manners and intelligence are an important aspect of why Mr. Darcy loves her. Do you think this is true generally in romance?
A woman, especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can. However, in justice to men, that though to the larger and more trifling part of the sex, imbecility in females is a great enhancement of their personal charms, there is a portion of them too reasonable and too well informed themselves to desire anything more in woman than ignorance. A good-looking girl, with an affectionate heart and a very ignorant mind, cannot fail of attracting a clever young man.

In Pride and Prejudice, you write about failed proposals. What do you think is the essence of a successful proposal?
Is not general incivility the very essence of love?

But Elizabeth accuses Mr. Darcy of being uncivil, yet he fails in his proposal.
Angry people are not always wise. Besides, he surprises her. Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable.

You are fond of portraying selfish, self-centred people in your novels. Take Mary Elliott in Persuasion, Lady Catherine and Wickham in Pride and Prejudice, Isabella Thorpe in Northanger Abbey and many others. Yet even if they’re villains, you never condemn them fully. Why is that?
Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.

Some would even go so far as to say you favour your villains over your heroes and heroines. Would you agree that is the case?
Very possibly. I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal. Besides, pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked.

One thing that puzzles me about your novels is how many ineffective clergymen there are in them. Even the hero of Mansfield Park Edmund Bertram succumbs easily to temptation. Why is this the case?
It will, I believe, be everywhere found, that as the clergy are or are not what they ought to be, so are the rest of the nation.

If you will permit me, Miss Austen, I would like to ask a question of a personal nature. Have you ever been in love yourself?
No. The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love.

Do you think marriage is an important part of a lady’s identity?
It depends. It is poverty only which makes celibacy contemptible to a generous public! A single woman, with a very narrow income, must be a ridiculous, disagreeable old maid! -- the proper sport of boys and girls -- but a single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as anybody else. 

What do you think is the foundation of a good marriage?
Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.

Do you believe in marrying your soulmate?
There is not one in a hundred of either sex who is not taken in when they marry.

But you do have some happy relationships in your novel -- Darcy and Elizabeth, for example. What do you think is the reason for the success of their relationship?
A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.

Finally, Miss Austen, what do you think of the Romance genre?
I could not sit down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life.

Thank you, Miss Austen, for your timeless words.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

From Elizabeth Darcy: Video, Christmas At Pemberley

Thought I'd share this with you. It's long, but I think it's enjoyable. Bring yourself a cup of tea (or wine, if that's your preference), sit back and relax.