Books

Last Chance for Christmas Ever After!

Christmas Ever After, a collection of sweet Regency Christmas stories, was always meant to be a limited time publication, and now its time is running short. Tonight is your last chance to read it with your Kindle Unlimited subscription, and it will be unavailable in ebook after April 16. But you can still grab it before then for just $0.99 USD at Amazon.

Books

Help animals by buying books!

Twenty+ authors have banded together to raise funds for pets injured in the California fires. On Thanksgiving Day, purchase one (two, three or all!) of the listed books, and the authors’ royalties will be donated to a cause helping fur babies.

Lauren Smith – http://laurensmithbooks.com/books/the-rogues-seduction/

Alanna Lucas – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071LS5KSB

Callie Hutton – http://calliehutton.com/book/for-the-love-of-the-lady/

Jerrica Knight- Catania – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CG7RTK6

Scarlett Scott – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DW75BQQ

Vonda Sinclair – http://www.amzn.com/B01BLUSSK6

Julie Johnstone – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00U0LF7JS/

Ava Stone – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FZWW6AO

Shana Galen – https://amzn.to/2K7N1c5

Hildie McQueen – https://amzn.to/2zdmS7I

Madeline Martin – http://www.madelinemartin.com/mbdb_Series/highland-passions/

Paty Jager – books2read.com/Yuletide

Amy Jarecki – https://amyjarecki.com/books/

Eliza Knight – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009DS3TWG

Collette Cameron – https://books2read.com/OADWDcc

Glynnis Campbell – http://bit.ly/NG4Kindle

Samantha Grace – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F1DQNMM/

Cynthia Wright – http://cynthiawrightauthor.com/books/brides-of-skye/abducted-at-the-altar/

Anna Bradley – https://www.annabradley.net/book/more-or-less-a-marchioness/

Tabetha Waite – https://amazon.com/dp/B07K7DSRSD

Gina Conkle – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078TH5XFL

Cora Lee –  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0714NPS18

Books, Sales

The Duke of Darkness is now available for pre-order!

The Duke of Darkness is now available for pre-order at most of your favorite retailers (Google Play coming soon)! It’s just $0.99 USD until release day!

There were few people in the world the Duke of Rhuddlan could trust, least of all his scheming brother Nicholas. So when a spate of violence is perpetrated against people with a connection to the duke, Rhuddlan knows who is behind it. But how can he end this vicious campaign when Nick is backed by the King’s own son?

Olivia Stone wants nothing more than to live quietly in her little cottage, but with a cruel suitor determined to possess her and an income that is steadily diminishing, she’s left with no choice but to appeal to her wealthy cousin—whom she’s never met—for assistance. Will he give it? Or will she be forced to marry a man she fears?

When Rhuddlan knocks on Olivia’s door with a plan to help them both, she’s skeptical but sees no other option. Working together sparks a flame between them neither could have predicted, but when Nick discovers the relationship, he becomes determined to destroy their hope for happiness. Can Rhuddlan finally put an end to his brother’s devastation before someone is killed? Will Olivia still want him when she sees how ruthless he can be?

Books, Writing Life

Maitland Maidens Update and Cover Reveal

Hello my wonderful readers! How are you this fine spring (or autumn, in the Southern Hemisphere) day? I come bearing news today, both good and not good.

Let’s get the not good out of the way first. I was hoping to have Back In My Arms Again (Maitland Maidens Book 2) ready to release this month, but the bad old Chronic Fatigue Monster caught me (more than once) and I didn’t get to do much writing these past few months. I’m taking a couple of classes, too, this spring in order to keep my teaching certificate valid (my day job boss thinks it might be useful to have an employee who is a certified teacher, though I’m not sure why just yet). So I’m up to my eyeballs in Diagnosis and Remediation of Reading Disabilities and Classroom Assessment instead of spending time with Lady Cecilia and her hero James Fitzsimmons. 😦

The good news is that–barring any unforeseen circumstances–Cecilia and James should be ready to hit your e-readers some time this summer (if you subscribe to my newsletter you’ll get an e-mail when the book becomes available). And today you get to see their cover! Plus, the Maitlands have informed me that there will actually be four novellas in the series instead of the original three: Cecilia’s cousin Margaret has been whispering in my ear lately that she has a story to tell (which makes it hard to concentrate on my schoolwork, lol). You’ll meet Margaret and her hero Stephen in Back In My Arms Again, and should be able to read all about them this fall.

cover

Books, Writing Life

Meet My Character Blog Hop & Cover Reveal

It’s finally happening! In just under two weeks, my debut novella hits the digital stands. And Paula Lofting tagged me in the Meet My Character Blog Hop, giving me the perfect opportunity to introduce you all to my hero and heroine.

What are the names of your characters? Benedict Grey is our hero, and Lady Honoria Maitland is our heroine. If their names sound familiar, it may be because you helped choose them way back in in February of last year. The story I’d originally intended for them didn’t work out, but they started whispering in my ear again earlier this year.

cover 2Are they fictional or historical people? They are both fictional.

When and where is the story set? The bulk of the story is set in London during the social season of 1813.

What should we know about your main characters? Benedict is a Regency-era archaeologist (known then by the broader term antiquarian) who has a small circle of relatives and friends he’s close to. Honoria is the daughter of a duke and Benedict’s childhood friend. They were very close until he sailed away to Greece to work on Lord Elgin’s expedition.

What is the main conflict? What messes up their lives? Honoria and Benedict both find themselves in need of a spouse, though they each react differently. Benedict is the last heir to an old title and needs to secure the succession, but he’s the male equivalent of a wallflower and is more than a little uncomfortable in social situations. He makes up his mind to do his best, however unpleasant it might be.

Honoria, on the other hand, loves Society. But her father is dying, and she’ll have no male relative to look after her when he’s gone. He makes her promise to find a husband before he dies, but instead she tries to find a way to keep her independence without hurting her father. That’s where Benedict and a sham courtship come in.

SSK coverWhat is the personal goal of the characters? Benedict and Honoria both want to do right by their families, but they also want to ensure their own happiness in the process. Benedict intends to look for a bride he likes, not just a girl who fits the profile. And Honoria decides that she’s better off on her own than with some aristocrat who wants a duke’s daughter to shore up the lineage of his future children or a large dowry to straighten out his finances.

Is there a working title for this novel? Can we read more about it? The novella itself is titled Save The Last Dance For Me, and can be found in the Sweet Summer Kisses e-book bundle. I’ll post links as soon as I have them 🙂 In the meantime, you can check out some “behind the scenes” stuff on my Pinterest board.

ETA: I have links now!
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1f69TYN
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1MNrkbK
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1FWQ0sN
iBooks: http://apple.co/1Ba4idH
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1GBi2AG
B
arnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1J3AG26

When can we expect the book to be published? Tuesday June 23 is our scheduled release date.

Books

Cora’s TBR Challenge Check-In

Photo Credit: Jorge Royan
Photo Credit: Jorge Royan

It’s June, fellow readers! We’re halfway through the year! Are you halfway through your TBR commitment?

I missed our check-in last month with a nasty, wouldn’t-let-me-go migraine–I couldn’t even look at a book for nearly two months. But a couple of weeks ago the pain finally dissipated. My diet has become more severely restricted to avoid even possible migraine triggers–so I haven’t had chocolate in months!–but I feel almost good. (And yes, there is at least one doctor’s appointment in my future.)

And last week, I went on a little book binge 😀

Two of the books I read had been on my kindle for over a year (over two years in one case), so I’m now current on my TBR Challenge commitment. The teacher-hiring season has also begun, and in just a couple of months I’ll be back in a classroom somewhere, so I’m hoping to get ahead of schedule on this challenge (and the others I’m participating in, too). There are just too many days when I come home from school too tired to even read, so I’m trying to prepare for it ahead of time.

How have you all done since last we talked? On track? Woefully behind? Or surging into summer?

If you missed the beginning of the challenge, you can still join in! Check out my original post or my TBR Challenge Page for more information.

Contests & Giveaways, Writing Life

Naming Characters: Like Naming Children? A Giveaway

Okay readers, I need some help.

Publisher Elora’s Cave is looking for sweet Regency novellas for their Christmas anthology, and I’m going to give it a shot. It will be good for my brain and creative process to work on something else for a while–and it will be good for my work ethic Almacks_with_Brummellto have a deadline that I can’t move!

Without giving too much away, I can tell you that the idea I have is for a male wallflower story. He’s a science geek who has been out of society on archaeological digs (things like excavating the Elgin marbles in Greece), and has only recently returned home. She is a duke’s daughter and a social butterfly who is being forced into a betrothal to a Bad Guy.

But neither of them have names.

Naming my characters is always one of the hardest parts of a story for me. I don’t Hello_my_name_is_stickerhave children of my own, but I imagine this is what it would feel like to name them (except that I get to know my characters as adults first 🙂 ). I agonize over baby name books, comb through lists of important and historical people. I dissect my family and friends–would I name a character after any of them?

This time, I’m enlisting help. Your help. I need a first and last name for my hero, Mr. Archaeologist. I also need a first and last name for my heroine, Lady Butterfly. Leave a comment on this post with your suggestion(s), and if I use yours you win a Kindle book!

Official Rules:

  • You may suggest first names, last names, or first + last names for either or both characters.
  • Repeated names will not be counted–please scroll through the comments to make sure someone else hasn’t already suggested the name you had in mind
  • You must be able to download e-books from Amazon.com (as opposed to Amazon.fr, Amazon.co.uk, or another of Amazon’s regional sites) [NOTE: This is not because Amazon in any way sponsors or endorses this giveaway, but simply because that’s where I bought the books.] If you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon has free reading apps for various computers and tablets.
  • One book will be awarded for each first name and each last name I choose, for a total of 4 possible winners
  • One person may win more than one book
  • Comments must be left on this post by 11:59 pm EST on Friday, February 28, 2014 to be eligible for this giveaway

Prizes:

spy-wore-blue-300Royal Renegadewinningabride-300The Hanover Square Affair

Uncategorized

Liebster Award for And Then He Kissed Her!

Way back in May, my little blog here was nominated by Badass Romance for a Liebster award. How cool, right? Some recognition for the work I’ve put in making lieber-awardthis little slice of the internet historically accurate and infinitely interesting!

Well, sort of.

The Liebster is a cross between an electronic thumbs-up and a chain letter. It’s a way for bloggers to recognize blogs they think are awesome, yet have 200 or fewer followers. It also requires its recipients to post facts and answer questions about themselves and their blogs, and to continue the chain by nominating other blogs.

What an honor! 😉

In all seriousness, I’m thrilled that Pamela thought of me when she drew up her list of nominees/winners. Not only did I get that nice warm-fuzzy feeling because she likes me (yay!), but I got to poke around on her blog, too. I found a well-spoken woman with similar tastes in books–a kindred spirit!

And now, to fulfill my duties as a Liebster award recipient:

11 Random Facts about Cora Lee

  1. I have lived in 3 different states, but never outside the Eastern Time Zone.
  2. I bought my first graphic novel at the age of 30.
  3. My favorite sport is ice hockey.
  4. I only became a tea drinker when I returned to the Midwest, and that was under duress—winters are cold here, and one can only drink so much hot chocolate.
  5. Miami-20111220-00069I have owned 3 dogs as an adult, each one larger than his predecessor.
  6. Even though I write historicals, my characters and scenes are often inspired by modern music (Linkin Park, Queen, Maroon 5, The Platters, etc).
  7. I’ve found at least one song that I like in every musical genre I’ve ever heard (check my iPod—you’ll see!).
  8. I’m terrible with plants. Dogs and cats will remind you to feed them, but flowers don’t talk.
  9. My favorite color is blue.
  10. I have a fondness for both Richard III and Henry VII.
  11. When we investigated careers in the 9th grade, one of the three I chose was “writer”. (The other two were, I believe, “teacher” and “pilot”.)

11 Questions Posed by Badass Romance…and Their Answers

  1. What is your favorite actual trophy or other award you can put on a shelf or hang on a wall?  My First Place certificate from the Ignite the Flame contest last year, run by the Central Ohio Fiction Writers.
  2. Jane Eyre or WutheringHeights?  I haven’t read Jane Eyre yet, but I remember Wuthering Heights being a bit too Gothic for me.
  3. John ThorntonWhat book is the most recent addition to your DIK [desert island keeper] shelf?  The audio version of Georgette Heyer’s Sylvester (and not just because it was read by Richard Armitage 🙂 ). Yes it was abridged, and I normally hate that, but Phoebe was magnificent, and Tom was a wonderful side-kick. The story itself was a lot of fun, too—I found myself laughing quite a lot as I listened.
  4. What book is at the top of your TBR stack? There are so many, it has ceased to be a stack and has developed into several bins and a huge Kindle collection. The last book I ordered was Bosworth by Chris Skidmore, and I’m looking forward reading it…hopefully soon.
  5. What book keeps getting remaindered at the bottom of your TBR pile, and do you think you’ll ever get around to reading it? I’ve had Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy for a couple of years now, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to it. I love the Jack Ryan novels, but there was such a long time between them I’ve forgotten a lot of what happened in the previous books.
  6. What language do you wish you were fluent in?  It varies. Usually it’s French, because that would be immensely helpful in reading and researching British history (which is linked with French history at least since the Norman Conquest).  Sometimes it’s Middle English (which is quite different from our modern variety). Lately, though, it’s been Russian—I’ve been on a spy movie/TV show/novel kick lately, and the bad guys are often (still) Russians. I only remember a few words from my college classes, and I’d like to know more 😀
  7. English_russian_dictionaryMedieval castle or Mediterranean villa?  The villa would certainly be better for my health than a drafty old castle, but I’d have so much more fun exploring the castle!
  8. What did you eat for breakfast?  Blueberry waffles.
  9. How do you feel about time travel plots?  I like them if they’re set up well. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and Sarah Woodbury’s After Cilmeri series are two of my favorites.
  10. What is your favorite carnival ride?  Ferris Wheel
  11. What blog did you find this week that you love? (time to start thinking about your Liebster nominees!) http://romanceaddict91.wordpress.com/

11 Liebster Nominees

http://rakesandrascals.wordpress.com/  Reviews of a romantic nature and much more.

http://susanaellisauthor.wordpress.com/  For readers and authors of historical romance.

http://regencyredingote.wordpress.com/  Historical snippets of Regency England.

http://cavalrytales.wordpress.com/  British cavalry in the 19th century and other jottings.

http://katherinebone.wordpress.com/  Rogues, Rebels & Rakes

liebsterblogaward

http://lauriebenson.net/  Laurie Benson’s Cozy Drawing Room

http://romancereadergirl.com/  Reading and chatting about romance.

http://janeaustenslondon.com/  Walks through Regency London.

http://philippajanekeyworth.wordpress.com/  Writing, Wit & Wonderings

http://rakesroguesandromance.com/  Historical Romance–because passion lives forever.

http://amypfaffauthor.wordpress.com/  Regency romances with a touch of magic.

11 Questions for the New Liebster Recipients

  1. If you could visit anywhere in the world, during any time period, where would you go? What would you do there?
  2. Who is your favorite fictional character?
  3. Emma_2009msAre you a dog person or a cat person?
  4. What is the best book you’ve read in the last year?
  5. Have you ever seen a film adaptation of a novel you’ve read? If so, which was your favorite?
  6. Have you ever seen a film adaptation of a novel you haven’t read that made you want to read it?
  7. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
  8. How did you come up with the name of your blog?
  9. Do you have a writing cave or a reading nook? What does it look like?
  10. If someone was new to your favorite genre, what book would you recommend they start with?
  11. Mr. Darcy (from Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice) or Mr. Thornton (from Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South)?

There you go new Liebsters! Have fun!

And thank you readers for sticking with me through this unusually long post! I hope you learned some things today, and that you found some new blogs to check out 🙂

Food, Writing Life

Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop: Miss Sedgley, Lord Wrexham, and Cherry Ratafia

Welcome to the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!

Here’s how the hop works: each author invites up to five other authors to answer five questions about their current summer release or WIP, and to share a tasty recipe that ties into it. The list of participating authors can be found at the end of this post. As more authors join the hop, I will post links to their blogs so you can add these awesome treats (and reads) to your list.

My current work-in-progress is a two-fer: All You Wanted and The Only Exception. The Only Exception is the story of Miss Katherine Sedgley and John, Earl of Wrexham:

She knows his secrets…
Wealthy and powerful, the Earl of Wrexham commands the respect of the ton—but not the woman who knows his hidden vulnerabilities. He cut Kate out of his life years ago, but her sudden return to Town threatens his reputation and everything he’s become. Will she ruin his carefully crafted image and his family’s good name?

photo credit: paramore.net
photo credit: paramore.net

Will she destroy his chance to find a suitable bride? What is he willing to do to secure her silence…and his future?

He knows her heart…
Bluestocking Kate Sedgley fled to the country after her third disastrous Season, and hasn’t returned to Town since—until her uncle cuts her purse strings. With no talent or trade, Kate knows the only way to support herself is to marry. But who wants a disgraced spinster with no dowry and a frail, helpless mother? Lord Wrexham came to her rescue once, long ago. Can she convince him to do so again? How far will she go to ensure his help…and her security?

All You Wanted is a prequel novella that details Wrexham’s backstory with Kate, how they first met, what their relationship was like initially, and why it didn’t work out at the time. It also lets you in on one of his secrets 😉

Now for the Random Tasty Questions:

1) When writing are you a snacker? If so sweet or salty?

I don’t eat while I write–I always want to get the ideas from my head into their Word file before I forget the details, and I can’t type fast enough with just one hand. But when I’m revising, editing, or just re-reading, I will snack. For me that usually involves something sweet: iced animal crackers, dry cereal, any of the sweet Chex mixes, etc. In the summer fruit is easier to find, so I’ll end up with a bowl of sweet black cherries or a nice big apple, too.

2) Are you an outliner or someone who writes by the seat of their pants? And are they real pants or jammies?

With small pieces (like blog posts) I can just go with the flow. But anything that has more than one chapter gets an outline. First, an outline helps me to actually see the whole story. Second, it preserves whatever thoughts and ideas I’m having while I make the outline. It may change–sometimes drastically–later, but I don’t have to worry about forgetting where I was going with a certain piece of dialog.

3) When cooking, do you follow a recipe or do you wing it?

photo credit: joyfulbelly.com
photo credit: joyfulbelly.com

When I cook meals I stick to simple things (spaghetti, casseroles, burgers on the grill) that don’t really require recipes. When I bake things can get complicated. I like to use a recipe a few times and get a feel for it, then I’ll start making adjustments and additions. But chemistry is so important in baking that I don’t want to mess with the basic ingredients too much.

4) What is next for you after this book?

I have so many Regency plots floating around inside my head (and in my notebook), that I think I’ll be sticking around country estates and London drawing rooms for a while. Lord Wrexham’s brother Henry is the next hero on my horizon, a man who copes with OCD in a time when “madness” will get you locked up.

5) Last question…on a level of one being slightly naughty and ten being whoo hoo steamy, how would you rate your book?

When I started this story, I meant it to be kind of hot. But Miss Sedgley and his lordship have informed me otherwise, so it’s coming out somewhere just hotter than Georgette Heyer. I guess that makes it about a 3, maybe 🙂

And now for the really tasty part: Cherry Ratafia

If you’ve read Regency romance novels before, you’ve probably come across a scene involving ratafia. Ratafia is basically an infusion: fruit, vegetables, or herbs and spices are prepared and left to sit in in alcohol (usually wine, vodka, or brandy). It reminds me a little of sangria, which also involves fruit and alcohol but doesn’t require steeping.

Since Miss Sedgley and Lord Wrexham spend much of their time at social events, I thought ratafia would be the perfect accompaniment to their story. This particular recipe is a modern one that comes from the Abruzzo region of Italy, courtesy of Valerie Fortney-Schneider. Like sangria, there are dozens of recipes for ratafia, but this one seems the tastiest!

1 1/2 pounds pitted cherries
1 bottle Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
1 cup grain alcohol (or high-proof, good quality vodka)
1 stick of cinnamon

photo credit: bonappetit.com
photo credit: bonappetit.com

1 vanilla bean
a big glass jar or bottle that will seal well

Split the vanilla bean open and put it in the jar, along with the other ingredients.  Give it a shake and put it in a dark place for 40 days and 40 nights, shaking it gently every few days.  After the maceration period, strain it.

Combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan, bring to a gentle boil, stirring well to dissolve the sugar, then turn off the heat and let it cool.  Add it to the liqueur, stirring well.  Divide into bottles and keep in a cool, dark place.

While you’re enjoying your cherry ratafia, visit the other authors of the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop:

christy english
donna russo morin
nancy goodman
lauren gilbert
lucinda brant
prue batten
anna belfrage
ginger myrick
jo ann butler
kim zollman rendfeld
cora lee (you are here)