Posts Tagged ‘romance’

Jared, Tate and Madoc do Christmas . . . EXCLUSIVE CONTENT from Penelope Douglas

 

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It’s Christmas morning, and Madoc and family have come over to Jared and Tate’s. But they’re still sleeping.

Madoc: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Tate: *groans* *still asleep*

Madoc: GET UP!!

Jared: *lifts head off pillow* I’m going to fuck him up. What time is it?

Tate: *moans, reaches over and cuddles* Ignore him. Come back here.

Jared: *lays back down

Madoc: Seriously!! I can’t believe you two are in bed when your 10 year old daughter is outside the house unsupervised!!

Jared: *pops head up again* What?!

Madoc: I’M GUESSING RIGHT ABOUT NOW YOU’RE NOTICING A STRANGE SOUND, RIGHT?!

Jared: *listening

Tate: *listening

Jared: Oh, shit! *scrambles, throws on jeans and races out of room

Jared: What the hell is she doing?

Madoc: I’m guessing she found her Christmas present early.

Jared: *swings open front door, sees Dylan and Hawke racing down snow-covered Fall Away Lane on their four-wheelers.

Madoc: You realize it was kind of stupid for you and Jax to get them the same thing, right?

Jared: Dylan!! Get off that thing now!

Dylan: *carries on racing as the snow falls

Madoc: *snorts* It’s okay. Mine hear white noise when I start yelling, too.

Jared: *throws on sweatshirt, shoes, and runs to the street

Jared: Dylan, now!

Dylan and Hawke pull up to curb. Hunter and Kade watching. Fallon and Tate come outside…

Dylan: I love it! It’s so much fun!

Jared: Yeah, you don’t have a helmet on. You haven’t been trained on it, and you’re on a city street. Get off now.

Dylan: Did you wear a helmet when you raced?

Jared: I didn’t race four-wheelers.

Dylan: Were you trained how to race? I thought you told Hawke that a little danger is good for you.

Jared: Hawke’s not my child.

Dylan: Is it because I’m a girl?

Jared: Jesus…

Dylan: And Mom told me that you and she raced all the way to Main—IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY! IN CARS!

Jared: *cocks eyebrow at Tate*

Tate: *hides smile

Dylan: I’ll learn how to use it on my own. I don’t need help.

Jared: No, I…

Dylan: You can’t just take it away now that I’ve gotten a chance to ride it. If I have to come inside, I’m just going to stare at it through the window all day being unhappy.

Jared: Dylan, I–

Dylan: And I don’t want to be unhappy on Christmas. Come on, please? It’s so much fun. It’s going to ruin the whole day if you make me wait to ride it.

Jared: Don’t be dramatic. I—

Dylan: I’m not being dramatic! Do you call the boys dramatic?

Jared: I…I…

Tate: *laughing

Madoc: *making whipping sound

Dylan: Just twenty more minutes.

Hawke: An hour.

Dylan: Yeah, an hour. Then we’ll come inside!

Hunter: Hey, Dyl. Let me ride with you.

Dylan: Don’t call me Dyl, Dork.

Hunter: Fine. Let me ride with you. *walks to four-wheeler

Kade: *grabs him and pulls him away* You go be Hawke’s sissy. I’ll ride with Dylan.

Kade: *looks at Dylan* Scoot back. I’m driving.

Dylan: Fat chance. You want to ride with me, climb on behind. I’m driving.

Kade: *smirks, climbs on behind and then leans forward into Dylan’s back, placing his hands on the handlebars and pushing hers out of the way.

Dylan: Hey!

Kade: I always win. You know that by now. *speeds off, followed by Hawke and Hunter

Madoc: That’s my boy. You can’t learn skill like that.

Jared: *scowls and glares at Madoc

Madoc: Oh, come on. Things are going to get real interesting in a few years. She doesn’t stand a chance. You know that.

Jared: Shut up.

——————–

Love Penelope Douglas? Have you read her brand new book, available NOW: Misconduct

Misconduct

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Reasons Women Had it Better in Regency Times

Ok, so they couldn’t vote, husbands and fathers had total control over their lives and the fashions occasionally cracked a rib or two, but there were some upsides to being a woman in the 18th Century. From all-night parties to wet nurses, Historical author Joanna Taylor explains.

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1. All nighters

With no licensing laws and plenty of private parties, revellers went on all night. Popular gatherings like masquerade balls served an extra dinner at midnight to keep the revellers dancing until dawn. And with wine glasses around 2/3rds smaller than our modern-day buckets, people got less drunk (or at least paced themselves) and had more staying power.

Party-goers even breakfasted on the remains of the dinner from the night before and headed out to the nearest tavern. Time to party like it’s 1799 …

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2. Credit in your husband’s name

Regency women had no rights whatsoever to their own money. But this turned in women’s favour when London shops began issuing huge store credit. Female shoppers could rack up a huge bill and put it in their husband’s name. If he couldn’t cover the store charges, she was exempt from any prosecution or responsibility. But he was liable to pay her bill. This was such a problem for one poor Regency husband that he even took a newspaper advertisement with his wife’s description asking shops not to serve her. Spend it up ladies!

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3. High maintenance desserts

Labour intensive cakes were the order of the day. As was elaborate sugar-work. Antoine Careme, celebrity Regency chef of the day constructed jaw-dropping constructions in sugar. These included a table length ‘extraordinaire’ model of a Grecian temple and a replica of the Brighton Pavilion.

In domestic kitchens recipes included seed cake (beaten for two hours) and steamed puddings boiled overnight in cloths. Marzipan sweets, cream pastries and all manner of other delicacies also made it onto the table. Hot chocolate was routinely served for breakfast. And plumpness was fashionable. For women with a sweet tooth, Regency was their time to shine.

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4. Tailor-made clothes

Size 10 waist with a size 12 bust? Don’t worry about it! Your dressmaker will take your preferred fabric and map it perfectly to your exact size. Favourite dress chafing after a few too many plum puddings? No problem! Have it let out for pennies. Ready-to-wear is decades away and as long as you secure the fabric of your choice you can be sure the dress will fit.  Better yet those flattering Regency waistlines hide a multitude of sins.

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5. Wet nurses

For Regency mummies, there was no agonising over whether breast is best. They simply handed their tots to an experienced wet nurse and she did the rest. Fashionable Parisians took this one step further and farmed their children out to country wet nurses until they were two. So no late night feeds, maternity bras or sterilising bottles for these ladies. They went back to the serious business of socialising within weeks of giving birth. Why let a baby get in the way of a good party?

Enjoyed reading this? Masquerade, Joanna Taylor’s Regency take on Pretty Woman, is out NOW!

To buy a copy, go here:

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Mary Balogh’s favourite kissing scene

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We are honoured to welcome this afternoon’s guest to Regency Week: international bestseller Mary Balogh, author of over 60 novels and one of the biggest names in Historical romance today.

We asked Mary to choose, out of all of her books, her very favourite kiss scene! With over 30 years of writing behind her, it’s a big call to make . . . Read on to find out what she chose!

I’d like to choose the kiss that gave my newest book, Only a Kiss, its title.

Percy, Earl of Hardford, has come at last to the estate in Cornwall he inherited two years ago, only to find Imogen, Lady Barclay, his predecessor’s widowed daughter-in-law, in residence because the roof is off the dower house, where she usually lives. Imogen is not Percy’s type at all. He thinks of her as the marble lady. And he is not her type – he is altogether too flippant, too irresponsible. They quarrel in the library one night over who should pay for the repairs to her roof – each insists upon doing it. She is very close and very angry when she tells him he is no gentleman. But instead of defending himself, he curls one hand about the back of her neck and kisses her.

“He did not need even the fraction of one second to know that he had made a big mistake . . .  She broke off the kiss after perhaps two seconds and cracked him across one cheek with an open palm . . . His cheek stung and his eye watered . . . ‘How dare you,’ she cried . . . He owed her a groveling apology – at the very least. ‘It was only a kiss,’ he said instead.”

And Percy muses a little later when he is alone that if that kiss had lasted for two seconds, then for at least one of them she had kissed him back.

To find out more about Mary Balogh, visit her website or follow her on Facebook.

 

Buy a copy of Only a Kiss here:

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Read an extract from Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover is the fabulous final installment in Sarah MacLean’s Rules of Scoundrels series. We’ve got an exclusive extract for you to read.

What’s more, if you share this extract by clicking the button below, you’ll unlock an EXCLUSIVE interview Sarah conducted with the Scoundrels. It’s well worth it, we promise. Go ahead, read, share and enjoy!

Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover by Sarah MacLean – Chapter One

New Year, New You: How to write romantic fiction

To kick start the New Year, we’ve asked Sophie King, bestselling romance novelist and author of How To Write Romantic Fiction, to give us her top tips on becoming a published romance author.

‘I’m going to write a book – one day.’

Does that sound familiar? I can’t tell you how many times people have said that to me. In fact, I used to say it to myself for years. After university, I became a magazine journalist because that seemed the best way to make a living until I had time and experience to write that novel. Fast forward fifteen years (and three children) and I still hadn’t done it.

So what got me going? Believe it or not, it was the combination of a thirty-something birthday and a new year resolution. ‘When are you going to write that best-seller you’re always talking about?’ asked a friend when all the corks were popping. And as everyone else started singing auld lang syne, I suddenly realised that if I didn’t start now, I might never do it.

That’s all very well but how do you get cracking if you have a job and a family? Well, here are some tips to set you on your way.

ROME WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY – AND NOR IS A BEST-SELLER
 It took me ten more years after that New Year’s Eve party to get my first book accepted. So if you don’t get an agent or a publisher as soon as you had hoped, just keep going. Real writers don’t give up. They can’t.

CHOOSE A SUBJECT WHICH EXCITES YOU
Romance is catching – both on the page and off it. If you are excited by your subject, it will leap off the page and hopefully, stir an agent.

WRITE FOR HALF AN HOUR (OR EVEN BETTER AN HOUR) EVERY DAY
No time? Try reducing your newspaper reading time (get your news from the radio instead). Or get up an hour earlier. Go to bed an hour later. Scribble in your lunch hour. Ask a friend to have the children and do a reciprocal swap.

DRAW UP AN ACTION PLAN FOR THE YEAR
Challenge yourself to write one chapter a week. That will be 52 by the end of the year. Make sure that something big happens in each chapter to keep the reader’s attention going. Each character needs to have a problem in order for the plot to keep moving. Ask yourself what he or she wants in life. Write a mini biography for every character in your book to help you understand him or her. What are they scared of? I help myself visualise my cast by cutting out pictures from magazines and sticking them on a cork board.

NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK
Find out what writing festivals you can get to in the year ahead and put the dates in your diary. Not all literary festivals are for published writers only. Some, like the Festival of Writing which is held in York in the autumn, offers one to one appointments with publishers and agents. This can be a great opportunity to get an expert interested in your manuscript.

TAKE OUT A SUBSCRIPTION TO A WRITING MAGAZINE
Writers Magazine and Writers Forum both have up to date news about new agents and publishers. I’ve personally found them invaluable. They also run competitions….

SET YOURSELF A CHALLENGE
Enter at least one magazine competition a month. It will give you discipline and help you to think about new subjects. If you win, that’s a bonus!

PUSH YOURSELF
This November, enter the National Novel Writing Month.For details, visit the Nanowrimo website.

KEEP A SEASON DIARY
Note down descriptions of places you know and visit during the year. Include the colour of the leaves; the different blues in the sky; the feeling of waves on your legs as you go into the cold water; the smell of salt air. All this will come in useful for your book.

DON’T TELL EVERYONE YOU’RE WRITING A BOOK
If they do find out, keep the plot to yourself. Talking about it can take away the urge to write it.

NOW JUST DO IT!
Good luck – and let me know how you get on.

To find out more about Sophie King and her books, visit the Sophie King website.

Grab some great deals on Boxing Day!

 

We hope you’re all sat in your pajamas, breathing deeply through the food coma and trying to ignore the snores emanating from the overstuffed armchair by the fire. You could also be packed into your wellies, sloshing through the mud in the brisk winter air and looking forward to a hot cup of tea (or cider) as you tromp back in through the door.

Whether you’re stretching your jaw or stretching your legs, Boxing Day is a great excuse to appreciate a great read and we have three amazing books priced at only £1.99! Grab some gritty paranormal romance with Caged Warrior, contemporary with a supernatural twist in A Little Night Magic or sexy erotic drama with Break in Two. Something for everyone . . .

Unless you’re the person snoring in the overstuffed armchair. Best just let them be . . .

 

Lia Riley’s Off the Map MAP!

IMPORTANT: This is a ‘Special Feature’ web post! Spoilers do pop up! If you don’t want to know about the locales of the Off the Map series or haven’t read where our couple end up in Inside Out, check back after you’ve read the book!

Never has love spanned across so many continents than Lia Riley‘s stunning duo of Bran and Talia: their relationship started on the busy streets of Australia, flew over to North America, Tasmania and Africa, settling finally at the doorstep of the Golden Gate Bridge . . .

As Bran and Talia explore the world, they do so in the footsteps of their creator Lia Riley! Did you know that every place they visit was inspired by her own experiences or the people around her?

As we celebrate this week’s publication of Inside Out, follow along on the map below to read into how each place in the Off the Map trilogy stemmed from the author’s own life.

And try not to get jealous. 🙂

 

Australia/Tasmania

‘I studied abroad in regional New South Wales, where I met and fell in love with my now husband. Long-distance international relationships are tricky, and often require a leap of faith to succeed. In our case, I moved to Hobart, Tasmania at twenty-two, leaving behind family, friends, a state I loved (Montana), two classes shy of finishing my degree. The first six months that my boyfriend and I lived together were challenging. I had to take remote college courses to graduate, visa issues limited my work options, and homesickness proved a struggle. Out of any of the Off the Map books, Sideswiped (Book #2 Off the Map), felt the most personal.’

 

Africa

‘I wanted Talia to experience the Peace Corps, so choosing Malawi as a destination was a no-brainer. My younger sister spent almost three years in the country, running HIV/AIDS education and women empowerment programs. She kindly spent the majority of our time together last Christmas reading my first few chapters of Inside Out (Book #3 Off the Map), and pointing out everything I got wrong (and promptly fixed). I’m in her debt on that one. Big time.’

 

 

Santa Cruz/San Francisco

‘I live in Santa Cruz, a quintessential California beach town, on the northern edge of Monterey Bay. It’s known for its great climate, stunning coastline, redwood forests, funky locals, and socially liberal leanings. It is also home to the University of California, Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, an oceanfront amusement park operating on the main city beach. Last winter, I strolled through the Boardwalk, and noticed a cave in the sandstone cliffs along the San Lorenzo River. As a good smutty-minded romance writer, a naughty plot bunny hatched, and I went straight home and wrote the whole Boardwalk cave smexy scene. It’s the only scene in the book that I didn’t make any edits on, LOL. Living local to a book setting has its advantages!

Only an hour away, San Francisco is an amazing, eclectic city perfect for a vibrant couple like Talia and Bran (although I predict these two will move around a bit).’

 

Inside Out is out now in ebook, along with Upside Down (#1) and Sideswiped (#2)! All three will be released in paperback in 2015!

Happy publication day to Lia Riley!

You fell in love with Lia Riley’s breakout debut, Upside Down, second book in the series Sideswiped made you clamour for more. Now, with Inside Out, Lia Riley brings her evocative Off the Map series to its stunning conclusion.

When Talia first moved from California to Australia to study abroad, she never dreamed she’d find the love of her life. Bran understands her like no one ever has before. And despite the numerous challenges they’ve faced, they’ve always managed to figure out how to stay together. But this time they’ll face their toughest hurdle yet. Is their love strong enough to keep them together?

We would follow Bran and Talia anywhere in the world with their gorgeous story, and for the final book in Lia Riley’s romantic Off the Map series we are hoping the journey ends in a Happily Ever After!

Inside Out publishes today, out in ebook for the first time! We hope you love the ending as much as we do, although as every good author can vouch, it’s only the beginning . . .

Cara McKenna on her inspiration for HARD TIME

Cara McKenna on why she didn’t have a Hard Time setting an erotic romance in a prison . . .

 

I couldn’t tell you precisely when I knew I wanted to write a book about a convicted felon, only that it was a year or more before I ever thought to pitch the idea to my editor. It was a vague sort of wish-list idea, jotted down on my mental notepad and left to sit around in a dusty corner of my head while I attended to contracted projects.

As I’d first envisioned it, the romance would be a purely epistolary one, comprised solely of letters between an inmate and a woman on the outside—a correspondence born of both curiosity and caution, then steadily evolving into something more intense and explicit, and always a touch dangerous. Though I never articulated it to myself, I had imagined that it would be a passionate but doomed affair, the felon serving a life sentence and having no chance at parole (and guilty of his crime, as well.) Loads of longing and hollow hope, leaving it to the reader to imagine what might have happened if the two had been able to be together, that sort of thing—more lit fic than a true romance. More of a concept piece than the novel that little seed ultimately grew into.

Last autumn I’d been struggling to come up with an idea that really clicked for my next book, the third of a three-book contract. I’d been wanting to revisit Darren, Michigan—the struggling Rust Belt city I created for an earlier story, After Hours—and had been wondering what sort of sub-setting I could use. After Hours was set on a locked psychiatric ward (I love grim, institutional stories, whatever that says about me.) Cousins Correctional Facility already existed in that world; many of its inmates wound up at the psychiatric hospital. The moment I realized I could set this new book in a prison, I was instantly infatuated with the notion. (Readers who are familiar with my backlist may have noticed that my heroes are often pretty pent-up, not having gotten laid in a while for a variety of reasons, so writing one who’s been locked up for five years…? Right up my weird alley.)

It took a little effort to convince my then-editor that a story about a felon could be sexy, as opposed to plain old scary, but in the end, I think my naked obsession with the idea swayed her. At least enough to run it by the editorial director, who thankfully shared my enthusiasm.

There’s a point in Hard Time, about halfway through the book, where the heroine discovers that the hero is about to be paroled. (She’s an outreach librarian, in charge of the prison’s literacy program.) By then they’ve been interacting cordially in public and exchanging secret, heated letters for months, but she’s suddenly faced with a reality she hadn’t anticipated. Every worry she has—Is he really as good a man as he seems? Is he dangerous? Is it wise to try to pursue him in the larger world? Will our heat even translate into a kiss, and beyond?

These are some of the same worries I had, myself. Or perhaps more pointedly, Can I pull this off? Will readers stand by this heroine, if she chooses to pursue a romance with a felon with a heinous crime in his past? Will readers feel the depth and strength of her infatuation and understand her decisions, or condemn her as an unforgivable fool?

Well, Hard Timee is out now, and I’m sure readers are falling into both of those camps. It’s not the easiest romance, certainly, but I hope some readers will enjoy that about it, and embrace the contentiousness. Many questionable decisions dot the paths of both characters’ lives before they ever meet and embark on their risky love affair, and writing it was a bit of a risk in itself.

I can say already, however, that the risk has paid off, at least for me—few books have been such a joy to create.

 

 

———-

Cara McKenna writes contemporary romance and smart erotica, sometimes under the name Meg Maguire, and has sold more than thirty-five novels and novellas to Penguin, Piatkus, Harlequin, Samhain and Signet Eclipse. She’s known for writing no-nonsense, working-class heroes with capable hands and lousy grammar. She was a 2010 Golden Heart finalist, and a three-time Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee. Cara writes full-time and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her own bearded hero.

www.caramckenna.com

https://www.twitter.com/caramckenna