Posts tagged with: Regency romance

Unexpected Romance with Eileen Richards

My guest today is my friend Eileen Richards.  I’m so excited that her first two books debuted from Kensington’s Lyrical Press this fall, and she’s here to celebrate with us.

Welcome, Eileen! Please tell us how you started writing.

eileen-richards-authorThank you so much for having me. I started writing in college. I tried to keep it up after college, but this was pre-computer days with edits on a typewriter and a toddler running through the house. I picked up writing again in 2007 and I’ve not looked back.

What is your A Lady’s Wish series, and what inspired it?

A Lady’s Wish series is about three sisters rather down on their luck and stuck in a small village in the Lake District. It was inspired by a real place: The Fairy Steps in Beetham Cumbria. The legend goes that if you climb the steps without touching the sides, a fairy will grant you a wish. I based the books on that legend.

Which book came to you first?

An Unexpected Wish is the first in the series. Anne is the older sister. She’s a spinster, overlooked but trying to do right by her family at least until her wish gets completely misinterpreted.

In An Unexpected Wish, what are the issues that keep Nathaniel and Anne apart?

Anne’s stubbornness and insecurity to trust Nathaniel’s feelings gets in the way of their relationship. She’s afraid Nathaniel is affected by the wish, like the other gentlemen, and he’ll wake up and regret his connection to her.

Would you like to share an excerpt from An Unexpected Wish?

Anunexpectedwish_2This is from Chapter One:

A cold gust of wind blew the tendrils of hair from her face and chased a shiver up her spine. Dried leaves rattled behind her as they skated across the rock. A twig snapped behind her.

Her eyes flew open. She wasn’t alone.

Anne’s heart pounded so hard she could hear it thumping in her ears. Hair lifted on the back of her neck. Anger warred with fear. Anger won.

She picked up a good-sized limb from the ground and gripped it with both hands. “Show yourself, coward.”

“Speak your heart’s desire, my lady.” An odd, otherworldly voice filled the air. The breeze kicked up again.

Anne tightened her grip on the tree limb. She threw her shoulders back and stood taller. She wasn’t going down without a fight.

“You climbed the steps properly and earned a wish, you have.” The voice cackled.

She lowered her arm. Blast, this was nothing but a prank. Probably some child bribed by Sophia. She’d box the child’s ears and send him on his way. She’d deal with her sister when she got home. “The joke is over. Come on out.”

“‘Tis a magical place you’ve found, as well you know for the many times you’ve climbed these steps.” The crackling voice sounded old, not childlike.

“Enough!” Anne was sick to death of being the whipping boy.

A wizened, bent old woman with a twisted cane shuffled out of the trees at the foot of the stairs. “Always you must see to believe.”

“You must think me dicked in the nob, madam. There are no fairies.” Anne threw the limb into the bushes behind her. “Be gone now, and tell my sister Sophia to try harder next time.”

“How hasty and untrusting you young people are. Make your wish, child.”

Anne studied the old lady. She looked like one of the gypsies that came around at harvest time. How much coin had she bilked out of Sophia for this prank? “Fine. I wish you to be gone.”

The old woman cackled. “I should take you up on that, but your heart speaks differently. It speaks of struggle and loneliness.”

What did this woman know of her life? “I’m sick of this game. Good day, ma’am.” Anne turned towards the path.

“Wish for anything, my lady. Wish grandly.” A gleefully, wicked light gleamed in the old woman’s eyes. She lifted her cane and jabbed it toward Anne. “Little wishes are for little souls. They are not for the likes of you. Now wish. You are wasting my time.”

Anhonorablewish_2Oh, very cool! What keeps Tony and Juliet apart in An Honorable Wish?

Juliet has been in love with Tony since she met him. He’s just realizing what he’s missed. What keeps them apart is trust. Tony has a problem with gambling. Juliet is in the circumstances she is in because her brother gambled away his inheritance. Can she trust Tony to walk away from it and never look back?

We love call stories in the Lair. Will you share yours?

It was just another Tuesday afternoon in cube land in June 2014. I was working when my cell rang. I glanced at the number – 212 area code. I just figured it was one of the coworkers from my old employer. I had just recently changed job and the number did look familiar.

I answered it and it was Martin, the editor from Kensington/Lyrical. It took my brain a moment to catch up. I quickly took the call outside. He made the offer and my words were: “You read it and you still want it?” I also remember pacing a lot. After seven years, it finally happened. I could barely talk when I called my husband to tell him.

How fun! What’s next for you?

Book Three, A Most Inconvenient Wish, is out next July. I’m also working on a new Regency series. There might be speed dating and there definitely will be some interesting heroines. Stay tuned.

For more information about Eileen and her work, visit her website, www.eileenrichardsauthor.com.  You can also connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Eileen is giving one commenter today a download of An Unexpected Wish. So tell us about your favorite story involving fairy magic or ask Eileen about her work.

Miranda Neville’s Winner!

BanditBootyThanks to everyone who swung by to say hello to Miranda Neville this week. I’m delighted now to announce the winner of the copy of THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES. Congratulations to:

JILL!

Jill, could you please email Miranda on miranda @ mirandaneville.com (no spaces) with your snail mail details and she’ll get your book off to you. Happy reading!

Miranda Neville and the Duke!

mir 1Someone who always makes me laugh at her wit, both in person and in print, is the wonderful Miranda Neville. I’m delighted today to host her for a return visit to the lair. She’s here to tell us about the fourth book in her wonderful Wild Quartet, THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES.

Just a quick alert – I’m travelling today so will only be able to pop in intermittently (hoping I can get onto the internet). In the meantime, I’ll leave you in Miranda’s capable hands.

Here’s the blurb:

Wanted: Governess able to keep all hours . . .

miranda 1Rebellious Julian Fortescue never expected to inherit a dukedom, nor to find himself guardian to three young half-sisters. Now in the market for a governess, he lays eyes on Jane Grey and knows immediately she is qualified–to become his mistress. Yet the alluring woman appears impervious to him. Somehow Julian must find a way to make her succumb to temptation . . . without losing his heart and revealing the haunting mistakes of his past.

Lady Jeanne de Falleron didn’t seek a position as a governess simply to fall into bed with the Duke of Denford. Under the alias of Jane Grey, she must learn which of the duke’s relatives is responsible for the death of her family–and take her revenge. She certainly can’t afford the distraction of her darkly irresistible employer, or the smoldering desire he ignites within her.

Miranda 6But as Jane discovers more clues about the villain she seeks, she’s faced with a possibility more disturbing than her growing feelings for Julian: What will she do if the man she loves is also the man she’s sworn to kill?

Ooh, doesn’t that sound intriguing? You can find out more about Miranda and her wonderful books at her website: www.mirandaneville.com

Miranda, a very warm welcome back to the Romance Bandits. It’s been a while between drinks. Lovely to have you back in the lair. Firstly, can you tell us about your new release from Avon, THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES? Fabulous cover, by the way.

Miranda 5The Cover Gods, to whom writers make regular obeisance, have mostly been good to me; in this case they earned a slew of extra votive candles. My shriek of delight when I saw this baby could probably be heard in Australia.

What were the inspirations behind this story?

Julian, Duke of Denford, has appeared in the previous three books of The Wild Quartet series. I always had a plan for him and I’ve dropped vague hints about his traumatic past, but the details didn’t come into focus until I started his book, THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES. All I knew is that he was haunted by the betrayal and execution of an aristocratic family during the French Revolution. His heroine would be a survivor of that family, out for revenge.

Miranda 4The back story of the French Revolutionary Terror is, of course, heavily influenced by Dickens’ A TALE OF TWO CITIES and the Scarlet Pimpernel stories. In researching the history I learned that there were many English in Paris when the Bastille fell in 1789 and they continued to visit for the next few years until it became too dangerous and France and Great Britain went to war. At that point Julian Fortescue was a mere mister and making his way in life as a dealer in paintings. Later he inherited the dukedom from a third cousin, as so often happens in historical romance! When the story starts he has also inherited the guardianship of three young half sisters. Enter our heroine Jeanne de Falleron, aka Jane Grey, the governess with murder on her mind. But she doesn’t know that the “Mr. Fortescue” she seeks is actually her employer the duke. She falls in love with him before she knows she wants to kill him. Awkward.

Miranda 3Jeanne/Jane’s family owned a fabulous collection of art that is now in Julian’s possession. When the collection is finally revealed I had a marvellous time ransacking the art galleries of the world to find paintings that were similar to the Falleron collection, including those illustrating this blog.

Love it when you talk art, my friend! What’s coming up next?

I’m working on a new historical series but I’m not ready to reveal any details. I have an “under-the-bed” book about an opera singer that’s a labor of love for me – you and I share a love of classical music, Anna. I hope to find time to revise and self-publish it this year. (I also planned to do it last year so don’t hold your breath, ladies.)

Miranda 7I notice you have a story “The Best Laid Planner” out in the recent anthology AT THE BILLIONAIRE’S WEDDING. I’d love to hear more about this! It seems to be a slight departure from your usual territory.

In 2013 Maya Rodale, Caroline Linden, Katharine Ashe and I published an anthology of connected stories called AT THE DUKE’S WEDDING. We wanted to collaborate again and it turned out we all had a hankering to tackle something contemporary. That’s the beauty of self-publishing—you can do anything you want. Maya had written a series of novellas about a Bad Boy Billionaire Duke Austen and his historical romance writing girlfriend Jane. She kindly lent us her characters and we set the stories around their wedding—in an English stately home, naturally. My heroine Arwen (yay, I got to pick a LORD OF THE RINGS name instead of being limited to Regency appropriate monikers) is the New York wedding planner who has to pull together an event in a foreign country at very short notice. In this she is helped and sometimes hindered by Harry Compton, who seems to know everything about Brampton House. Is he merely the handyman or does he own the place? Either way he’s hot as hell and a distraction Arwen doesn’t need.

Miranda 2Writing contemporary was enormous fun and very challenging. Never say it doesn’t require research! If you read the anthology you’ll know why I never want to hear the words “internet connection” again. With an American heroine and an English hero I had to watch the language with every line of dialogue or point of view switch. And while it was relaxing not to have to police myself for modernisms, I had the opposite problem with my characters tending to lapse into Regency speak.

miranda 8That sounds like great fun. Seeing it’s so close to new year, what are your plans apart from your writing for 2015?

Funny you should ask that. My big plan for the year comes in October when I’m going to London with my writer friends Megan Mulry and Anne Calhoun to see Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet. A little bird told me that I might overlap with a certain Australian romance writer while I’m there!

I hear that Aussie romance writer is a real jet setter! 🙂 Do you have a question to get the conversation rolling, Miranda?

Do you have travel plans for 2015? London? Paris? Timbuktoo? Dayton, Ohio? What’s getting you into your car or onto a plane this year?

BanditBootyGet commenting, people! Miranda has very generously offered someone who responds to her post today a copy of THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES (international). Good luck!

‘Tis the Season…

Earllowres..of goodwill to all men and of great reading for us gals!

Christmas seems to bring a  million books out of the woodwork – all that kissing under the mistletoe obviously inspires romantic thoughts.

Today, I want to introduce you to three stories of mine with Christmas themes and mention two more Christmas anthologies well worth your time – and then, just as a ring-in, a new novella from Annie West that while it’s not a Christmas story, will definitely light up your Yuletide.

TWW low resAll are available digitally on multiple platforms. If you’ve got a Kindle, just click on the cover and it will take you to the page on Amazon. We like to make it easy for our Bandita Buddies!

First up is HER CHRISTMAS EARL: A REGENCY NOVELLA which has been going like hotcakes, I’m pleased to say, including reaching the number 1 spot on a number of Amazon lists, including Regency romance. This is a story of a mishap on Christmas Eve that leads to an unlikely marriage of convenience – and of course true love!

It’s available for the princely sum of 99 cents. You can read the blurb and an excerpt here: http://annacampbell.info/xmasearl.html

anthologyIf you’re a member of the den (and why wouldn’t you be? Just click the members button on the top toolbar for information and registration), there’s another exclusive excerpt of Earl available this month here: http://romancebandits.com/exclusive-excerpt-from-her-christmas-earl/

My second recommendation is my 2012 Christmas novella, THE WINTER WIFE, which is a reunion story featuring a Scottish earl and his headstrong countess. You can read an excerpt and the blurb here: http://annacampbell.info/winterwife.html

The last of my Christmas stories is such a bargain, it’s FREE! Last year, I teamed up with Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly and Kate Noble on an anthology called A GROSVENOR SQUARE CHRISTMAS. My story, “His Christmas Cinderella,” is, you guessed it, a Cinderella story about a girl from a humble background who dares to love a Scottish earl. Scottish earls seem to proliferate in my Christmas stories!

ChristmasRevels1-187x300Now for the other books I want to bring to your attention. First up features the debut of multi prize-winning Bandita Buddy Louisa Cornell. Her novella “A Perfectly Dreadful Christmas” is included in the anthology CHRISTMAS REVELS, just out! I’ve got this on my Kindle and I’m saving it as part of my Christmas book wallow. It sounds delicious.

Next is another freebie that gives you so much Christmas reading, you’ll still be going next year! A whole stack of authors including Banditas Trish Milburn, Donna MacMeans, Nancy Northcott, Suzanne Ferrell and Tawny Weber got together to put together a free Christmas themed anthology called TINY TREATS. I don’t know about you but at this time of year, short really suits my reading requirements and this is like a big box of chocolates!

Tiny treatsMy final recommendation isn’t exactly a Christmas book but it’s just come out from the brilliant Annie West. Annie visited us yesterday to tell us about her latest release in the Hot Italian Nights Series, BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN. I’ve read this little treasure and it’s a fantastic story – not to mention an absolute steal at only 99 cents.

You’ll notice that none of these books are exactly going to break the bank which is great news at this time of year where everything else seems to require major spending!

bbti 4The other great thing about all of these is that they’re bite-size chunks of romance goodness. Another item people are short of at this time of year is time. We’re all so busy running around, it’s the ideal occasion for some stress-busting reading, but it’s finding space to indulge in it, isn’t it? Well, all of these will take you a couple of hours at most, mostly less. A sweet moment of bliss to reward you for all your Christmas hard work.

So go ahead, why not treat yourself to some great reading this Christmas?

This is my last blog for the year, so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2015. Thank you for your support!

 

 

 

 

Exclusive Excerpt from HER CHRISTMAS EARL in Members Only Section

Earl low resDon’t miss the exclusive excerpt of Anna Campbell’s Christmas novella, HER CHRISTMAS EARL, in the Members Only section this month. Not a member? Just click on the Members Den button on the tool bar and you get access to exclusive material and prizes and a great newsletter every month!

Exclusive Excerpt from Her Christmas Earl

Earl low resHartley Manor, Wiltshire, Christmas Eve, 1823

HER HEART RACING, Philippa Sanders inched the massive oak door into the bedroom open. She prayed that nobody emerged into the lamplit corridor and caught her in a place where no lady of good reputation should be. Especially near midnight.

Quick and silent as a cat, she slipped into the shadowy room and carefully closed the door after her. In the stillness, the latch’s snick resounded like a gunshot. Her breath jammed in her throat, and she stood still and trembling, waiting for someone to investigate the noise. But the rambling old house remained quiet. She sucked in some desperately needed air and berated herself for being a jumpy widgeon.

The room, as she’d known it would be, was empty. Before coming here, she’d checked that Lord Erskine remained downstairs, carousing with his drunken cronies. If the last three nights were any indication, his flirtation with the brandy bottle would continue into the early hours. That left Philippa plenty of time to search his belongings undisturbed.

The thought did little to calm her nerves. Should anyone catch her alone in a gentleman’s bedchamber, worse, such a notorious gentleman, there would be the devil to pay.

If only the stakes weren’t so high. If only her sister Amelia wasn’t such a ninnyhammer. If only Erskine wasn’t a man who turned even sensible women silly.

Philippa sighed and straightened away from the door. “If only” wouldn’t help. It was imperative that she found and destroyed the compromising letter her henwitted sister had sent Erskine before her engagement to Mr. Gerald Fox had been announced last night.

Then Philippa would take to her heels and never think about the rakish Lord Erskine again.

By the light of the fire blazing in the hearth, she surveyed her surroundings with a jaundiced air. The chamber was large and luxurious. Her aunt must be trying to turn Lord Erskine up sweet, in the hope that he’d offer for her horse-faced daughter Caroline. Given the trouble his libertine lordship had caused, Philippa almost wished her vile cousin on him. Over the last few days, she’d observed him closely. She couldn’t approve of the cynical light in his eyes and the way he arrogantly assumed that any chit in his vicinity must swoon at his merest word.

However Philippa wouldn’t be female without admitting that he was a spectacular specimen of masculinity.

She’d worried that it might take too long to locate the letter, or that he might carry it as a trophy, but her gaze immediately fell on a beautiful mahogany writing slope left open on the window seat. She could hardly believe her luck. Pulses kicking with relief, she rushed toward the window.

Then stopped on a horrified gasp when she heard the doorknob squeak as it turned.

Lord save her…

Frantically she dived across the few feet of floor to the dressing room. She had time to notice dark coats hanging from rows of pegs and shelves neatly stacked with clothing. Hands shaking, she tugged the door closed until she cowered in thick darkness. Thick darkness redolent with leather and soap and sandalwood—and something undefined that teased her senses.

Dizzy with fear and that unfamiliar but pleasant scent, she silently prayed that whoever had come in would finish what they were doing and go. Much as she strained, she couldn’t hear a thing, even with her ear pressed to the door. The thick wood blocked all sound, just as it blocked all light.

The dressing room door jerked open, unbalancing her. She only just saved herself from tumbling to the floor in an undignified heap. As she stared up at the looming figure above her, panic hammered through her, turned her blood to ice.

“What have we here?” The Scottish burr in the deep drawl brushed across her nerves like sandpaper.

Sick with dread, Philippa lurched away, crowding against the coats lined against the back wall. This was beyond awful. What must he think? What might he do?

Lord Erskine’s chest was bare and a white shirt dangled from one elegant hand. The wall lamp near the doorway spilled gold over a terrifying expanse of gleaming skin. His lordship’s sardonic green gaze focused on her.

His calmness only built her fright. One would imagine that he was accustomed to discovering well-bred virgins huddled in his undergarments. Curse him, he probably was. Philippa had only met Blair Hume three days ago, but like most of the nation, she knew his reputation for subverting even the most virtuous ladies.

“My lord—” Desperately she struggled not to stare at his impressive chest with its scattering of dark hair.

“Miss Philippa Sanders.” With unconcealed irony, he bowed. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

To her horror, he stepped into the confined space. The dressing room had been tiny before. Now it was suffocating. Her heart pounded with fear. That cursed elusive scent made her head swim as she wedged herself into the wall, wishing she could disappear altogether.

Still his tall body remained scant inches away. Surely it was only in her imagination that a subtle heat radiated out to envelop her.

“I mistook the room,” she stammered.

She made the error of glancing at his chest. Broad. Powerful. Sculpted with muscle. She gulped for air. Watching the farm workers from a distance without their shirts wasn’t at all the same as facing down a half-dressed rake in his bedroom.

A wry smile curled the rake’s thin, expressive lips. “By a whole wing, apparently.”

She straightened and glared at him, struggling to ignore the way his thick black hair was ruffled and his eyes devoured her. A gentleman would pretend to believe her, however feeble her lie.

Clearly Lord Erskine was no gentleman.

“It’s late,” she said with hard-won steadiness, telling herself that if she kept her head, she might yet escape unscathed. By Lord Erskine or by scandal. “I must return to my room.”

He didn’t step aside to let her pass. Definitely no gentleman. “Not quite yet.”

Meeting his gaze required every ounce of faltering courage. “Not before you return my sister’s letter at any rate.”

Surprisingly he laughed. “Huzzah, Miss Sanders. I knew there was more to you than the little shadow glowering at me from the corner.”

She flushed with chagrin. She’d had no idea this darling of the ton had noticed her, let alone remarked her disapproval. “My lord, I insist that you give me Amelia’s letter immediately.”

“Or what?” Dark eyebrows tilted in supercilious inquiry. At least he’d stopped staring at her like he meant to gobble her up like a Christmas bonbon. “You’ll unfold all my shirts and stamp on them?”

Welcome anger bolstered her defiance. “A man of honor would return the letter.”

“I’m afraid that’s impossible.”

“Why?” Her fists clenched at her sides as the urge to clout him thundered through her. “What do you intend to do with it?”

His smile broadened, and in spite of irritation, frustration and fear, his male beauty made her throat tighten. No wonder Amelia had made such a fool of herself over him. Right now, even clever, pragmatic Philippa Sanders felt a little giddy to have all that glorious virility focused on her humble self.

“I intend to do precisely nothing, my sweet little Yuletide burglar.”

Her eyes narrowed. “What does that mean?”

His smile intensified. “It means that I burned it immediately after I read it.”

She drew her first full breath in what felt like days. Since Amelia’s tearful confession of her arrant stupidity, apprehension had knotted Philippa’s belly. If Erskine wanted to cause trouble, he could use her sister’s letter to spark an awful scandal—not to mention scupper Amelia’s newly minted engagement to a nice young man of substantial means.

Philippa paused, knowing she owed Lord Erskine her heartfelt thanks for his unexpected chivalry and, even more urgently, an apology for invading his room. But her response sounded grudging, even in her own ears. “That was…generous of you.”

The mocking smile didn’t fade. “I’m glad you think so.”

All night, anger had lurked beneath her fear. Firstly at Amelia for being such a rattlebrain and creating this mess, then at herself for getting caught. Most futile of all was her anger at Lord Erskine for coming in at such an inopportune moment. Although at least now she knew what had happened to the letter. “I must go.”

“No rush, my fascinating Miss Sanders.” He shifted closer and the light behind him lent his face a suddenly sinister expression.

“I’m not your Miss Sanders,” she snapped with a resurgence of dread. A chill trickled down her spine. Awareness of her own danger swamped any gratitude for Amelia’s reprieve.

“Not yet, at any rate,” he said mildly, pulling the door shut behind him.

Darkness wrapped around them. Rage and terror spurred Philippa to surge forward, shoving hard at Lord Erskine. Her hands met smooth, warm skin and an immovable male body. The silky hair on his chest created soft friction against her palms. “Let me out of here.”

“Devil take you, do you never say please?” He shifted to break the contact, but not nearly quickly enough for her peace of mind.

As he leaned away, she pushed past him to tug madly at the doorknob, but even using both hands, she couldn’t budge it. As she struggled, her shoulder brushed Erskine’s arm. To her surprise, he made no attempt to hinder her departure. If he intended seduction, he was insultingly half-hearted.

Hardly surprising. She wasn’t nearly beautiful enough to appeal to that famous connoisseur of female loveliness, Blair Hume.

She told herself she didn’t mind. And didn’t believe it for a minute.

“Stop this nonsense immediately and open this door,” she demanded breathlessly.

“Have I persuaded you against breaking into anyone else’s room?” he asked without shifting. “Especially if the anyone else is a man.”

Shock made her hand drop away from the doorknob. “You’re trying to teach me a lesson?” she hissed incredulously.

That familiar soft laugh played up and down her backbone like music, and she realized with an unwelcome frisson that the evocative scent filling the room was Lord Erskine’s own. The intimacy of recognizing his personal essence scared her more than being trapped with a rake.

“I am indeed.” In the tight space, she was close enough to hear him draw breath. More encroaching intimacy. “Step aside and I’ll set you free, chastened but unharmed. And hopefully a little wiser.”

Her snort was derisive. If her mother had heard the unmannerly response, she’d have a fit. But then so much of what Philippa did gave her mother the vapors. “Who on earth do you think you are? What a cheek.”

“Miss Sanders, I feel some humility is called for.” He still sounded as though he found her endlessly diverting. “If you’re as clever as you think you are, you wouldn’t be stuck here with a rake while your sister sleeps comfortably in her own bed, safely beyond scandal’s reach.”

The comment’s justice rankled. “You’re a very annoying man,” she muttered, wishing to heaven she’d left Amelia to solve her own problems.

“Undoubtedly,” he said without inflection. “But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong about you needing to temper valor with discretion.”

She bit back a blistering response about profligate libertines following their own advice and waited impatiently for him to let her out. She very much feared that if she spent much longer with the irritating Earl of Erskine, she’d strangle him with one of his neck cloths.

For what seemed a ridiculous length of time, Erskine rattled the doorknob.

“Stop playing games,” she said sharply, tired of his antics. He might find his teasing funny. She just wanted to leave this room and say goodnight and never see him again. “Unlock the door and let me out.”

He stopped tugging on the doorknob. A fraught silence fell. For the first time when he spoke, no trace of humor warmed his deep voice. “It’s stuck.”

HER CHRISTMAS EARL the #1 Amazon Regency!

Her Christmas Earl: A Regency NovellaHER CHRISTMAS EARL: A REGENCY NOVELLA by Anna Campbell has hit the number 1 Regency romance spot on Amazon in both the U.S. and the U.K. Still only 99 cents for a bit of romantic historical reading to match the season!

You can read the blurb and an excerpt here: http://annacampbell.info/xmasearl.html

Christmas Earl Winners!

1BanditBootyThanks to everyone who swung by to wish my earl and his Philippa all the best yesterday. I’m now delighted to announce the three winners of the downloads of the book:

TAMMY Y!

SALLY SCHMIDT!

DEB MEREDITH!

Congratulations, girls! Please email me on anna @ annacampbell.info with your preferred format (Kindle or whatever) and what email you’d like me to send your book to! Happy reading!

 

Christmas with the Earl!

Earl low resIt’s a launch party in the lair!

But first, an apology!

I know it’s far too early to be talking Christmas – even when it’s only Christmas books. Please don’t take this post as a signal to run off and give your list to Santa! It’s still a bit over six weeks until the fat, jolly bloke with the facial hair squeezes down your chimney!

So having got that off my chest, let me tell you about my latest release, HER CHRISTMAS EARL: A REGENCY NOVELLA!

While it mightn’t be the time yet to wrap the gifts for under the tree, it’s definitely the time of year when it’s nice to have something romantic and short to read while the world goes crazy around us. I think novellas are really great when there’s Holidays everywhere and all the other end of the year madness. You get your romance fix and still have time and attention to deal with any crises that pop up!

Writing a novella at this time of year is almost a public service!

Haddon 2So given how chaotic things get in the lair in the lead up to the festive season, I thought we’d have a practice run so the cabana boys have everything down to a T when the real time comes.

But before I introduce your Yuletide entertainment, let me introduce HER CHRISTMAS EARL. Firstly, here’s the blurb:

No good deed goes unpunished…
To save her hen-witted sister from scandal, Philippa Sanders ventures into a rake’s bedroom – and into his power. Now her reputation hangs by a thread and only a hurried marriage can rescue her. Is the Earl of Erskine the heartless libertine the world believes? Or will Philippa discover unexpected honor in a man notorious for his wild ways?
haddon 1Blair Hume, the dissolute Earl of Erskine, has had his eye on the intriguing Miss Sanders since he arrived at this deadly dull house party. Now a reckless act delivers this beguiling woman into his hands as a delightful Christmas gift. Does fate offer him a fleeting Yuletide diversion? Or will this Christmas Eve encounter spark a passion to last a lifetime?You can read an excerpt on my website here: http://annacampbell.info/xmasearl.html

And all of that Christmassy Earlish goodness for the measly price of 99 cents!

Goodness, I think you should go and buy 10! Well, I would think that, wouldn’t I?

If you click on that pretty red cover at the top of this piece, it will take you right to Amazon (we like to make things easy for you!).

You can also buy HER CHRISTMAS EARL from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/486725christmas 2

The story starts on Christmas Eve during a country house party in Wiltshire – a good excuse for me to share a couple of favorite photos from beautiful Haddon Hall which is in Derbyshire but was very much on my mind when I wrote this.

So I asked the cabana boys to turn the lair into a stately home in Regency England at Christmas. But I fear they didn’t get quite the right idea!

Plastic Christmas trees in lovely Hartley Manor in 1823? Sacre bleu as the French chef there is fond of saying!
christmas 1And what about the  plastic reindeers that light up? It’s enough to send Wellington back to Waterloo in disgust! And Napoleon off for a nap!

So if you were arranging a lovely Christmas party in snowy Wiltshire for an Earl and his new bride, what would you do to make the house atmospheric and lovely? Mince pies? Carol singers? Roaring log fires? Lots of mistletoe for the earl and his bride to kiss under – not that they need much encouragement!

BanditBootyI have three downloads of HER CHRISTMAS EARL: A REGENCY NOVELLA up for grabs today to people who comment so get talking Christmas decorations! Good luck!

The Darcy Factor

Hi Bandits and Bandita Buddies! Today I thought I’d talk about one of my fave historical heroes. He might be over 200 years old, but we all still sigh over Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s immortal Pride and Prejudice.

Last year, I was fascinated (and amused) when a 12-foot statue of Darcy, including nipples under his wet shirt, in his Colin Firth incarnation was placed in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, bang in the middle of London:

p and pNot bad publicity for an old guy. They don’t even do that for the latest pop star! You wonder how many current romantic heroes will pack the same punch in 2215.

As someone who writes romance (and hopefully compelling heroes) for a living, I find the world’s crush on Darcy fascinating. I wonder what he’s got that places him so high in the feminine pantheon of wonderful blokes.

I think part of it is the eternal attraction of the cool boy. Darcy’s richer than anyone else in the story, except maybe the fearsome Lady Catherine de Bourgh. And it would be a brave person who had a crush on her!

Darcy’s handsome. He has a sophisticated sense of humour. He’s impressively clever. Among the many things I love about his exchanges with Elizabeth is that those two are clearly the smartest people in the room. Even while they’re fighting fate, it’s obvious that they’re made for each other.

p and p 4Another part of his attraction is that he’s so articulate. There’s something about that historical language when it’s used to persuade and seduce that turns me to mush. How about his first, disastrous proposal to Lizzie that starts out with, “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you”? Wow!

Another heroic aspect of Darcy is that he’s willing to put himself on the line for the sake of the woman he loves. And without any expectation of reward. When he rescues Lydia from the disaster she’s got herself into with the vile Wickham, you know how it chafes at his pride to deal with his enemy. Yet, for Elizabeth’s sake, he does. Not only that, he succeeds – there’s a lot to be said for a competent hero!

We also admire that he sees beyond rank and fortune to Lizzie’s true value. We all love a Cinderella story, and Prince Charming in this particular one comes with the magnificent Pemberley as his palace.

Darcy’s generous enough to see the error of his ways by the end. We adore a self-aware hero who admits to the heroine where he went wrong. And there’s the delicious enjoyment of watching the journey as he struggles with painful change before he reaches his happy ending.

p and p 2So all round when people start talking literary heroes, I do a time slip and go back to the Regency when men wore coats, neck cloths, breeches and boots, and spoke in perfect sentences. Long Live Mr. Darcy! 201 and still going strong!

So what about you? Are you a Darcy girl? Who’s your favourite book hero, historical or contemporary? Do you think the old guys have something going for them that the current crop of whippersnappers don’t? Do you think any of today’s heroes have what it takes to last 200 years as worthy subjects of a literary crush?

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