I don’t think it’s any secret to regular visitors to the lair (or to my website where I tend to salivate with embarrassing regularity – not a sentence I write every day!) that I LOVE old houses.
One of the really fun things about writing historical romance is designing houses to suit the aristocratic setting. I’ve been lucky enough to visit a lot of big houses in England and Scotland.
You really don’t want to go with me – I dig and delve into every corner, I pester all the attendants, I try and get into the places you’re not supposed to go, and I tend to arrive at opening and then they have to drag me kicking and screaming out of the gates after closing.
I’ve got two Sons of Sin releases coming up soon – in July and late August this year. The first, an e-novella called DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES will get its day in the sun next month when I hold a launch party. The next A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT’S KISS(Richard Harmsworth’s story) will suffer an infamous lair launch in September.
In the meantime, I’m busy writing the third book in the series which will be Cam’s story. I’ve already had some lovely people telling me they’re looking forward to this and I must say it’s lovely seeing Mr. Control losing it when he falls in love with his very inconvenient bride!
Cam’s story isn’t out till 2014 so I thought I’d give you a bit of background to DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES, the novella which comes out 2nd July from Grand Central Forever Yours. And in the process, I thought I’d share some luscious pictures of the house that features in that novella as well as in Cam’s story.
DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES is the story of Lady Lydia Rothermere, Cam’s very proper sister, and the childhood sweetheart she’s never been able to forget – yup, lovers reunited is pretty much the theme of this one.
While most of the action takes place in the very glamorous London season on 1826, it opens ten years earlier in a prologue set at the family seat of the Dukes of Sedgemoor, the very extravagant Fentonwyck in Derbyshire in the English Midlands.
A ducal seat in Derbyshire?
Could Fentonwyck possibly be based on the actual ducal seat in Derbyshire, Chatsworth, where the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire live?
Does Grumpy Cat scowl in the morning?
This gave me a lovely excuse to dig through my photos and research materials on Chatsworth which I was lucky enough to visit in 2007. And then an even better excuse to share some of the pictures with you.
It’s a glorious house and with justice called “the Palace of the Peaks” (it’s in the Peak District National Park). And the gardens are breathtaking.
No? I agree! Salivating is better done in privacy, isn’t it?
In my imagination, I’m actually living in Chatsworth right now (well, the Fentonwyck version of it anyway!). Because Cam’s story has a marriage of convenience theme, much of the action takes place in the glorious English countryside as Cam and his new bride, Penelope, wrestle with falling in love against their better judgement.
At least I’m having fun being on this wonderful estate. Too bad for my characters, although at least there’s quite a bit of bedroom action so there’s SOME fun involved, snicker. And check out this photo of the State Bedroom at Chatsworth!
If you were lying back and thinking of England here, you’d at least have a very nice ceiling to contemplate!
You can read the blurb and an excerpt for DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES here. And don’t forget to pick it up on 2nd July – it’s a bargain at only 99 cents!
So do you like old houses or modern houses? Have you been to Chatsworth? Do you have a favorite old house somewhere in the world? And should I write a four-poster into Cam’s story? That, of course, is the most important question! If there’s going to be much hanky panky, perhaps I should give it a suitably ducal setting!
Wow, what fun we had with the interesting facts blog. I’m going to do that again – I loved hearing the fascinating little tidbits about the places where you all live. The winner of the signed copy of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED is:
Jenny, please drop me an email to anna @ annacampbell.info (no spaces) with your snail mail details and I’ll get your book off to you. Congratulations and happy reading!
..for people who don’t live here! Especially if you’re from North America!
I’m a proud little Aussie gal!
Just now, I’m particularly proud (not for nationalistic reasons) because my seventh historical romance SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED recently hit the shelves.
In honor of all the 7s doing the rounds, I thought I’d pick out seven interesting facts about Australia that foreigners may find interesting.
So here are seven mostly obscure facts about my beloved homeland that you can use to dazzle the guests at your next barbecue:
7. Apart from Antarctica, Australia is the world’s driest continent. Perhaps that explains our dry sense of humor!
6. Australia is one of the few nations to send athletes to every modern summer Olympic Games. We’ve hosted the Olympics twice – in 1956 and 2000.
5. In World War II, we came very close to Japanese invasion (Darwin was bombed and there were Japanese submarines creating havoc in Sydney Harbor). Hundreds of thousands of American troops under the command of General MacArthur came to Australia to fight in the Pacific arena. So on behalf of my nation, a big thank you to the United States!
4. We had a series of gold rushes from the early 1850s through to about 1900, just in time for miners from San Francisco to hop on the nearest sailing ship and float across the Pacific to dig for the yellow stuff. The gold rushes established Australia’s prosperity and population – and when you look at the records, you’d be amazed how many Americans made the trip to our sunny shores!
3. We have some very strange animals (no, I’m not talking about the types who hang around our local pubs and clubs after midnight on a Saturday!). There are koalas and kangaroos and echidnas and wombats. I want to talk about the platypus here – this duck-billed, egg-laying mammal is so strange that when the first specimens reached London (stuffed, not live) in the early 19th century, the scientific community was convinced it was a hoax.
2. A couple of American slang terms have very different meanings in Australia, something which gives us great (and childish) amusement. In America, if you ‘root’ for someone, you’re cheering them on. In Australia, ‘root’ means intimate relations. And don’t start me on fanny pack! In some things, we’re two nations divided by a common language!
1. There’s a myth that we ride kangaroos down the main streets of our biggest cities. This is completely untrue. The kangaroos of Australia formed a union (the HEA – Hopping Entities of Australia – affiliated to the Transport Workers Union) in 1934 to object to this cruel and unusual treatment. Now the kangaroos ride the Aussies! There’s a whole underclass of people who work as Roo-shaws!
OK, not ALL those facts are 100% true. Can you tell which one? However, having read this post, even if you don’t come from my wide brown land, you may now consider yourselves honorary Aussies. Have a stubbie in your stubbies on the black stump outback of beyond in the never-never.
I’d love to know an interesting fact about where you live. And hey, it doesn’t even have to be true!
I’ve got a signed copy of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED available for one lucky commenter today. So get commenting, people. Or as we say in Oz, drag up a stump for your rump and have a chinwag, mate.
Wow, what a great day we had yesterday talking about sexy voices. Thanks to everyone who swung by to share their thoughts on who they would like to have whispering sweet nothings in their ear. Accents ruled! Thanks also to Tantor Audio who very kindly donated a copy of the audiobook of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED for a commenter from North America. International visitors were eligible to win a signed copy of the print books.
So without more ado, here are our winners:
PRINT BOOK: Marybelle!
Pissenlit, can you please email me with your snail mail details and your email and also let me know whether you’d like a download or the MP3 CD edition? I’ll send your information to Jennifer at Tantor.
Mary, can you please email me with your snail mail details? I’ll get your book off to you next week.
Hey, do you guys remember when we had the wonderful actor Antony Ferguson in the lair leading up the release of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED last month?
Antony read the audiobook of SEVEN NIGHTS and it was fascinating getting an insight into the process of recording a novel. You all gave him a wonderful welcome and he was absolutely delighted that his first blogging experience was such a blast. Bravo, Banditas and Bandita Buddies!
It seems Antony wasn’t the only one impressed by the reception. I’ve since heard from Jennifer at Tantor Audio and they were so stoked with Antony’s visit that they’ve offered a very special prize today. One U.S.or Canadian resident is eligible to win either the the download edition or the MP3 CD edition of the audiobook of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED, courtesy of Tantor Audio.
Never fear, we love our international guests here, as you know – I’ll give away a signed paperback of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED for people outside North America. So TWO great prizes up for grabs today. Huzzah!
I’ve always been really aware of voices. For example, I love Chris Hemsworth’s resonant baritone. Just right for a superhero. Or there’s Alan Rickman’s breathtakingly sexy purr. Yum!Or think of Sam Elliott’s lazy drawl. If he was the cowboy and I was the cow, he wouldn’t need to round me up, I’d just stay right by his side to listen to him! A truly mooving experience!
My mother always had a crush on James Mason, the wonderful English actor. He’s got the most wonderful voice, deep and resonant and musical. Delish. Check him out as the slightly psycho but extremely sexy hero in THE SEVENTH VEIL, a marvelously over the top British melodrama of the 1940s featuring some beautiful piano playing from Aussie Eileen Joyce. This film was such a hit in my house, one of my father’s nicknames for me was Francesca (the poor tortured heroine in this film) – usually when I was bashing with particular disastrous effect on the piano.
I couldn’t find a clip of THE SEVENTH VEIL, but I did find this delightfully cheesy ad for Thunderbird Wine! I thought it might give you all a giggle.
Great voice, huh? You should hear him shout at poor Ann Todd when she’s playing wrong notes on the piano!
While Jonas isn’t very pretty on the outside – he’s definitely a beastly beast inside and out when the book starts and the outside stays pretty beastly – he has a lovely voice and it’s one of the first things Sidonie notices about him. Not only that, he loves to whisper Italian endearments to her (it makes sense in context, trust me). By the way, thanks to a reader suggestion. I’ve just put an Italian glossary up on my webpage. So if any of you are confused about the meaning of tesoro or la mia anima, just swing by there. I guarantee you’ll want pasta for lunch afterwards!
So let’s whisper sweet nothings at each other today. Are you a voice woman? Are there any speaking voices that really appeal to you? Who would you love to hear murmuring tender endearments in your shell-like ear? Does he need to have an accent?
Don’t forget, for North American commenters, there’s an audiobook of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED up for grabs, and for international visitors, there’s a signed copy of the paperback edition. Good luck!
Storms split the heavens on the night Sidonie Forsythe went to her ruin.
The horses neighed wildly as the shabby hired carriage lurched to a shuddering stop. The wind was so powerful, the vehicle rocked even when stationary. Sidonie had seconds to catch her breath before the driver, a shadow in streaming oilskins, loomed out of the darkness to wrench the door open.
“Here be Castle Craven, miss,” he shouted through the sheeting rain.
For a second, terror at what awaited inside the castle held her paralyzed. Castle Craven indeed.
“I can’t leave the nags standing. Be ‘ee staying, miss?”
The cowardly urge rose to beg the driver to carry her back to Sidmouth and safety. She could leave now with no damage done. Nobody would even know she’d been here.
Then what would happen to Roberta and her sons?
The remorseless reminder of her sister’s danger prodded Sidonie into frantic motion. Grabbing her valise, she stumbled from the carriage. When the wind caught her, she staggered. She fought to keep her footing on the slippery cobbles as she looked up, up, up at the towering black edifice before her.
She thought she’d been cold in the carriage. In the open, the chill was arctic. She cringed as the wind sliced through her woolen cloak like a knife through butter. As if to confirm she’d entered a realm of gothic horrors, lightning flashed. The ensuing crack of thunder made the horses shift nervously in their harness.
For all his understandable wish to return to civilization, the driver didn’t immediately leave. “Sartain ‘ee be expected, miss?”
Even through the howling wind, she heard his misgivings. Misgivings echoing her own. Sidonie straightened as well as she could against the gale. “Yes. Thank you, Mr. Wallis.”
“I wish ‘ee well then.” He heaved himself onto the driver’s box and whipped the horses into an unsteady gallop.
Sidonie hoisted her bag and dashed up the shallow flight of steps to the heavy doors. The pointed arch above the entrance offered paltry protection. Another flash of lightning helped her locate the iron knocker shaped like a lion’s head. She seized it in one gloved hand and let it crash. The bang hardly registered against the roaring wind.
Her imperious summons gained no quick response. The temperature seemed to drop another ten degrees while she huddled against the lashing rain.
What on earth would she do if the house was uninhabited?
By the time the door creaked open to reveal an aged woman, Sidonie’s teeth were chattering and she shook as though she had the ague. A gust caught the servant’s single candle, making the frail light flicker.
“I’m—” she shouted over the storm but the woman merely turned away. At a loss, Sidonie trailed after her.
Sidonie entered a cavernous hall crowded with shadows. Muddy brown tapestries drooped from the lofty stone walls. Ahead, the fire in the massive hearth was unlit, adding to the lack of welcome. Sidonie shivered as cold seeped up from the flagstones beneath her half boots. Behind her, the heavy door slammed shut with a thud like the strike of doom. Startled Sidonie turned to discover another equally geriatric retainer, male this time, turning a heavy key in the lock.
What in heaven’s name have I done, coming to this godforsaken place?
With the door shut, the silence within was more ominous than the shrieking tempest. The only sound was the sullen drip, drip, drip of water from her sodden cloak. Fear, her faithful companion since Roberta had confided her plight, settled like lead in Sidonie’s belly. When she’d agreed to help her sister, she’d assumed the torment, however horrid, would be over quickly. Inside this dismal fortress, the horrible premonition gripped her that she’d never again see the outside world.
You’re letting your imagination run away with you. Stop it.
The bracing words did nothing to calm spiraling panic. Bile rose in her throat as she followed the still-silent housekeeper across acres of floor. She felt like a thousand malevolent ghosts leered from the corners. Sidonie tightened numb fingers around the bag’s handle and reminded herself what agony Roberta would endure if she failed.
I can do this.
The stark fact remained that she’d come so far and still might fail. The plan had always been risky. Arriving here alone and vulnerable, Sidonie couldn’t help considering the scheme devised at Barstowe Hall feeble to the point of idiocy. If only her clamoring doubts conjured some alternative way to save her sister.
The woman still shuffled ahead. Sidonie was so rigid with cold, it was an effort forcing her legs to move. The man had offered to take neither her cloak nor bag. When she glanced back, he’d disappeared as efficiently as if he numbered among the castle’s ghosts.
Sidonie and her taciturn escort approached a door in the opposite wall, as imposing as the door outside. When the woman pushed it open, it shifted smoothly on well-oiled hinges. Steeling herself, Sidonie stepped into a blaze of light and warmth.
Trembling, she stopped at one end of a refectory table extending down the room. Heavy oak chairs, dark with age, lined the table on either side. It was a room designed for an uproarious crowd, but as her gaze slowly traveled up the length of board, she realized, apart from her decrepit guide, only one other person was present.
Bastard offspring of scandal. Rich as Croesus. Powerbroker to the mighty. And the reprobate who tonight would use her body.
“Maister, the lady be here.”
Without straightening from his careless slouch in the throne-like chair at the room’s far end, the man raised his head.
At this, her first sight of him, the breath jammed painfully in Sidonie’s throat. From nerveless fingers, her bag slid to the floor. Swiftly she looked down, hiding her shock under her hood.
Roberta had warned her. William, her brother-in-law, had been merciless in his excoriations on Merrick’s character and appearance. And of course, like everyone else, Sidonie had heard the gossip.
But nothing had prepared her for that ruined face.
She bit her lip until she tasted blood and fought the urge to turn and flee into the night. She couldn’t run. Too much depended upon staying. In childhood Roberta had been Sidonie’s only protector. Now Sidonie had to save her sister, no matter the cost.
Hesitantly she lifted her gaze to her notorious host. Merrick wore boots, breeches and a white shirt, open at the neck. Sidonie tore her gaze from the shadowy hint of a muscled chest and made herself look at his face. Perhaps she’d detect a chink in his determination, some trace of pity to deter him from this appalling act.
Closer inspection confirmed that hope was futile. A man ruthless enough to instigate this devil’s bargain wouldn’t relent now that his prize was within his grasp.
Abundant coal-black hair, longer than fashion decreed, tumbled across his high forehead. Prominent cheekbones. A square jaw indicating haughty self-confidence. Deep-set eyes focused on her with a bored expression that frightened her more than eagerness would have.
He’d never have been handsome, even before some assailant in his mysterious past had sliced his commanding blade of a nose and his lean cheek. A scar as wide as her thumb ran from his ear to the corner of his mouth. Another thinner scar bisected one arrogant black eyebrow.
A gesture of the graceful white hand curled around a heavy crystal goblet. In the candlelight, the ruby signet ring glittered malevolently. The claret and the ruby were the color of blood, Sidonie noticed, then wished to heaven she hadn’t.
“You’re late.” His voice was deep and as replete with ennui as his manner.
Sidonie had expected to be frightened. She hadn’t expected to be angry as well. This man’s palpable lack of interest in his victim stirred outrage, powerful as a cleansing tide. “The journey took longer than expected.” She was so furious, her hands were steady when they slid her hood back. “The weather disapproves of your nefarious schemes, Mr. Merrick.”
As she uncovered her features, she had the grim satisfaction of watching the boredom leach from his expression, replaced by astonished curiosity. He straightened and glared down the table at her.
Wow! Even with our internet troubles, you guys launched SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED in style! Thanks so much for playing the game with so much brio! Or perhaps I’m hungry and I mean BRIE!
Anyway, after much ado about Rogues, I’m delighted to announce the winners of the signed copies of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED:
Congratulations, girls. Please email me on anna @ annacampbell.info (no spaces) with your snail mail info and I’ll get your signed book off to you. Happy reading! Or perhaps I should say happy roguing!
t’s just in the lair so DON’T TELL ANYONE WHO ISN’T A BANDITA BUDDY!!!
When the Romance Bandits met that fated day back in 2006 after we all finaled in the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart contest, there were two Annas. One was the wonderful Anna Sugden and the other…WASN’T AN ANNA AT ALL!!
That’s right. Anna Campbell is a pen name the way Batman is a pen name for Bruce Wayne.
When our mysterious Aussie Bandita sold her first book CLAIMING THE COURTESAN to Avon in April 2006, some master criminal (well, another author anyway!) had just published a romance under Foanna’s real name. To be fair to this other author, it probably was her real name too. What was our caped crusader to do? Come up with another name. So she put together one grandmother’s Christian name and one grandmother’s surname and voila, Anna Campbell was born.
All well and good until our heroine started to hang around with those naughty Banditas who had their own REAL Anna. So being the exotic, multilingual creatures we all are, someone (Jeanne Duchesse, we think) decided Real Anna would be Vrai Anna and False Anna (she’s not sure she likes that designation – she’s really quite an honest gal!) would be Faux Anna which got shortened to Foanna then Fo. And it’s stuck.
So there’s the story of Foanna. Now here’s her exclusive members only interview!
Q1: How long have you been writing and how has your writing changed over time?
Fo: I’ve been writing all my life. I started my first novel in grade three (around seven or eight). Given that was an Enid Blyton rip-off, my writing has changed considerably since then! For a start it’s a lot hotter than it was in grade three!
Q2: What drink does Sven bring you when you’re hiding in the cave?
Fo: I ask him for margaritas but he’s a sober Scandinavian type so I just get endless cups of tea. Perhaps he’s got me mixed up with English Vrai Anna!
Q3: When you’re not in the cave, where in the lair do you hang out the most?
Fo: Oh, I love the blog. I don’t think that’s any secret. I love reading all my Bandita sisters’ posts and meeting all our wonderful guests. The only part of the blog I don’t like is that it’s turned my TBR pile into something the size of Mars!
Q4: What’s the hardest thing about writing? What’s the most rewarding?
Fo: I struggle with first drafts, getting that story down on the page. The most rewarding part of writing is all the wonderful friendships I’ve built with readers and writers all over the world. I love to hear from readers. You can email me on anna @ annacampbell.info (no spaces) or you can find me on social media like Facebook or Twitter.
Q5: Do you have a special nickname for any of the lair inhabitants?
Fo: Fellow boozers?
Q6: What’s your favorite Lair activity?
Fo: Refer question 5!
Q6:Who do you enjoy writing more — hero or heroine?
Fo: Both provide challenges. I must say there’s something really interesting about being inside the hero’s head and his voice for some reason always comes much more easily to me than the heroine’s. Not quite sure why!
Q7: Favourite thing you’ve researched?
Fo: I’m a research junkie! I love it all. One of the things I particularly love is incorporating elements of the wonderful English stately homes that I’ve visited into my stories. For example, the house that plays a pivotal role in MY RECKLESS SURRENDER is Burghley House in Blenheim Palace’s grounds. The beautiful house on the cliffs in Cornwall in CAPTIVE OF SIN is based on Manderley in Daphne Du Maurier’s REBECCA. I WANT THAT HOUSE! In my next book (out 25th September), crumbling Castle Craven in Devon is based on the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland, one of the most atmospheric settings I’ve ever visited.
Q8: Most interesting fact/research you discovered?
Fo: Oh, too many to list! To go back to my debut, CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, reading about the courtesans was fascinating. A strange coincidence was that after I’d written the book, I discovered a courtesan in the Regency period whose life in many ways mirrored Verity’s. Her name was Elizabeth Armistead and she married into a noble family and by all reports was a lovely, gentle, loving woman. That really made me feel that I was on the right track.
Q9: What’s your favourite Lair snack?
Q10: What’s in your writing cave to inspire you?
Fo: Postcards from exotic places. Books. Cups of tea. Flowers. A music system (which is why the other Banditas make me close the door!).
Watch out for the first book in the “Sons of Sin” series, SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED, which is out from Grand Central Publishing on 25th September!
Wow, what a wonderful reception you all gave to my very special guest Antony Ferguson on Friday. He was delighted with the enthusiasm in the lair and has promised to come back and talk to us again (oh, wouldn’t it be lovely if he could actually TALK to us in that lovely English accent?) when the second book in the Sons of Sin trilogy comes out. Huzzah! Thank you so much for giving him such a welcome and thanks to Antony for being such a great guest.
Disclaimer: Our guests run the gamut from personal friends, to interesting authors who've asked to appear, to authors whose books we love. We have not always read our guests' books before hosting them here. Some of them provide us with free books though most do not. We do receive a commission from Amazon for every book purchased through links on our site. For purposes of making purchasing decisions, visitors should assume the bandit sponsoring the guest has a personal connection of some kind to her guest and may have received a free copy of the guest's book.