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Kryssie Fortune: Character Interview – Lady Elizabeth Blayneton from Wickedly Used
Sunday, March 4th, 2018

Character Interview – Lady Elizabeth Blayneton

1. If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

I’d visit all the sights in London that I’ve heard about but never seen. I’m not allowed out the house, you see. My Uncle August keeps me isolated in the hope that I’ll marry his son Frederick. The man stinks of hounds and gapes like a fish. I’d rather die a spinster than marry him.

2. What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they’ve known you for a while?

I don’t make an impression. I’m invisible, little more than a servant in a household that exists because of my fortune. I only have threadbare gray gowns. When visitors call on my cousins I’m banished to either my room or my stillroom. What with my silver blonde hair and my hideous gowns, I sometimes think my whole life is gray

3. What’s your idea of a good marriage? Do you think that’ll happen in your life?

I can’t marry without my uncle’s permission or until I turn thirty. Since I won’t marry Cousin Frederick, I’ll be an old maid before I can wed. If I ever find the opportunity, I’ll gladly give up virginity while I’m young enough to enjoy it.

4. What are you most proud of about your life?

My herbal skills. Before my parents were killed in a carriage accident, mama and I studied plants and their uses. Even my cousins want my potions. The good thing about that is I’m allowed out at dawn to collect herbs.

5. What about on a personal level?
Some people think my stubborn streak’s a bad thing – Uncle Augustus and my cousins among them. I don’t. I keep refusing to wed Frederick. Nothing could make me take him into my bed.

6. Do you think you’ve turned out the way your parents expected?

No. Papa made his will when my aunt was alive. She’d never have let Uncle Augustus treat me the way he does. Mamma and I were planning my come out when their carriage overturned and killed them. They wanted me to enjoy a couple of London Seasons, but obviously that never happened.

7. What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

She lived well, had fun, and helped those in need. It hurts that I can’t do any of that until I turn thirty and inherit my fortune. The only men who will want me then are fortune hunters. I want to live now, not in seven years’ time.

8. Describe your ideal mate.

I’d like a husband who sees me as I am and loves me for it. I don’t want my fortune to matter. I’d like him to be tall and dark-haired. Someone unafraid to stand up to Uncle Augustus. A dashing soldier maybe.

9. What are you most afraid of?

Dying a virgin – unloved and unwanted by anyone.

10. Are you lying to yourself about something? What is it?

I keep telling myself everything will work out find. Only deep down, I know it won’t. My solace is my herbs. If I concentrate on them and ways to heal people, then I can get through each day as it comes.

Wickedly Used

While he is no stranger to pleasurable company from ladies of the night, Major Richard Rothbury of the royal dragoons is not the kind of man who will stand idly by as a woman is taken against her will, and when he witnesses a disreputable cad attempting to force himself on a girl in a back alley, he does not hesitate to intervene.

But after the grateful young woman offers herself to Rothbury, he is shocked to discover that not only was she no harlot, she was a maiden and he has deflowered her. Furious at the girl’s scandalous behavior and her carelessness with her own safety, Rothbury chastises her soundly.

Though she is due to inherit one of the largest fortunes in England, the fact that she cannot touch the money until she marries or turns thirty has kept Elizabeth completely at the mercy of her cruel uncle, and for years she has been treated as if she were a servant. Her encounter with Lord Rothbury is by far the most exciting thing that has ever happened to her, but while he shows great concern for her safety, he refuses to believe that she is anything more than a serving girl.

Despite having made it clear that he doesn’t consider a match between them to be possible, when Elizabeth disobeys him Rothbury proves more than ready to strip her bare, punish her harshly, and then enjoy her beautiful body in the most shameful of ways. But can she dare to hope that he will one day make her his wife, or is she destined to spend her life being wickedly used?

Get your copy here!

Luanna Stewart: My brain hurts… (Contest)
Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Thank you, Delilah, for inviting me to visit with your readers.

Writing is hard. There, I said it. I’m in the middle of, well, actually closer to finishing, a somewhat major revision of my work-in-progress. I say somewhat major but what I mean is a massive overhaul of all aspects of the book – character arcs, plot, inner conflicts, the whole kit and kaboodle. And that is hard, difficult, painful. By the end of the day my brain is mush and can just about function enough to get supper on the table. Ask me a difficult question and expect blood to flow from a cranial orifice.

Alas, I’m not one of those lucky people who can relax in front of the TV. I have to be doing something whilst streaming my latest obsession (Penny Dreadful) or enjoying an old black & white comedy (Arsenic and Old Lace).

That’s where crafts come into play. Even before I began this writing career I’ve done something whilst viewing TV. I’ve been stitching counted cross-stitch samplers and Christmas ornaments for more years than I can count. Every family member and most friends have received at least one cross-stitched item as a gift. Rug hooking is a newer craft to me, introduced to me by my mom. I’m now completely addicted. Knitting is a craft I’ve been pursuing for decades. Most members of my family have received at least one hand-knitted item as a gift as well. These crafts are not mindless activities. But they use a different area of my brain, and they use different muscles in my hands and arms. So after eight hours of tapping at the keyboard, devising obstacles for my characters and creating fictional worlds, I curl up on the chesterfield with my needle or hook and create something soft and tangible.

Do you have a craft or an activity you use to unwind at the end of the day?

One commenter will receive a hand-knitted (by me) washcloth
and a bar of handcrafted soap. (USA and Canada only.)

If Wishes Were Earls

A mysterious letter and an enchanted keepsake promise to lead Miranda to her heart’s desire. Or does her heart secretly yearn for more than a sexy earl?

When a mysterious note directs Miss Miranda Large to a tiny village in Cornwall to find her heart’s desire, she has no choice but to go. An enchanted keepsake heightens her curiosity. A snowstorm forces her to accept the hospitality of a sullen, albeit sexy and handsome, earl and Miranda’s wish doesn’t seem so out of reach.

Edward Penhallion, the 12th Earl of Claverlock, is not in the mood to start his search for a new wife. He wants to be left alone with his books and his dreams of revenge. But the arrival of a headstrong, sharp-tongued spinster forces him to play the charming host. Not a difficult task, given her intelligence and beauty. Suddenly, he’s not terribly eager for her to leave.

But as the snow falls and the winds blow, Edward discovers there’s more to Miranda than a lively wit and a lovely face. And Miranda wonders if the trappings of wealth are enough for true happiness.

Buy Links: Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iBooks

All other retailers:

Luanna Stewart: If Wishes Were Earls… (Contest)
Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Like most writers, I get asked regularly where I get my ideas. If the questioner is referring to one of my more steamy stories, the question is often accompanied by either an embarrassed chuckle, or a bold wink.

I find it difficult to say where the plot comes from but I can say exactly where the idea for the location comes from. My own town has served as the model for the location, as has a nearby city, and the village where my mum was raised. I’ve also invented cities and entire countries.

For my most recent release (If Wishes Were Earls, available for pre-order) I knew I wanted my Victorian-set historical romance to take place in Cornwall. The idea of Cornwall has intrigued me from the time I first read Daphne du Maurier. And again whilst watching Poldark on TV – both the original and the more recent version. And in a more light-hearted vein, Doc Martin (BBC TV program).

Cornwall is a large county though, so I had to narrow it down. I turned to a favorite research source – maps. I needed a small village, but it had to be fairly near a larger town that would have rail service, a necessary feature in the plot that was developing in my notebook. I chose St. Erth as my village, the nearest train station is in Hayle, and my heroine and her BFF live in Camborne, just a few stops up the line.

Now, here’s the funny/spooky part. Eons ago I worked as a nanny for a family in London. On my most recent trip to that city last month I had dinner with the mum, dad and little boy, who is now in his early 30’s! (I did say it was eons ago.) We were talking about my writing and when I mentioned the village of St. Erth there was a gasp of amazement. They own a summer cottage a stone’s throw away, and have been to St. Erth and Hayle.

The universe is strange and wondrous.

Where is your favorite village, town or city? Either somewhere you’ve been, or somewhere you are dreaming of going. I really, really want to visit Scotland, the land of my forefathers. One lucky commenter will win a prize pack of autographed books and fun conference swag.  (Sorry, this contest is open to residents of USA and Canada only.)

If Wishes Were Earls

A mysterious letter and an enchanted keepsake promise to lead Miranda to her heart’s desire. Or does her heart secretly yearn for more than a sexy earl?

When a mysterious note directs Miss Miranda Large to a tiny village in Cornwall to find her heart’s desire, she has no choice but to go. An enchanted keepsake heightens her curiosity. A snowstorm forces her to accept the hospitality of a sullen, albeit sexy and handsome, earl and Miranda’s wish doesn’t seem so out of reach.

Edward Penhallion, the 12th Earl of Claverlock, is not in the mood to start his search for a new wife. He wants to be left alone with his books and his dreams of revenge. But the arrival of a headstrong, sharp-tongued spinster forces him to play the charming host. Not a difficult task, given her intelligence and beauty. Suddenly, he’s not terribly eager for her to leave.

But as the snow falls and the winds blow, Edward discovers there’s more to Miranda than a lively wit and a lovely face. And Miranda wonders if the trappings of wealth are enough for true happiness.



About the Author

Luanna Stewart has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. As soon as she discovered her grandmother’s stash of romance novels, all plots had to lead to a happily-ever-after.

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Luanna now lives in Maine with her dear husband, two college boys, and two cats. When she’s not torturing her heroes and heroines, she’s in her kitchen baking something delicious.

Writing under the pen name Grace Hood, she has two novellas published with The Wild Rose Press.

Amazon Author Page:

Ella Quinn: When a Marquis Chooses a Bride
Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Not long ago I was discussing one of the sub-plots in my latest release When a Marquis Chooses a Bride with someone, and they were surprised to hear that human trafficking had been going on for over two hundred years. They thought it was a modern problem. In fact, it’s been going on for over a millennium, but I will focus on the Regency era.

As readers and writers we tend to idealize certain periods in history, and the Regency is one of them. We focus on Mayfair and think that all parts of England were safe, when even Mayfair, the most exclusive area of London was not truly safe. Not only were there slums that even soldiers thought twice about entering, but predators roamed the town.

Well-bred ladies were admonished not to walk or ride alone for good reason. It was not uncommon for young women just up from the country to disappear and wind up in a brothel. After that, most of them could not return to their families. Why? Because the women were blamed for their situations and their families would not take them back.

Children as young as four and five were kidnapped and made to work for thieves because if caught, they would be transported and not hung.

There were private charities that helped both women and children, but they were few and far between. Many people in government believed that the poor, even children were responsible for the way their lives turned out.

In When a Marquis Chooses a Bride, the heroine, Dotty, is one of those ladies who worked at improving the lives of people caught in bad situations.

A furious female voice Dom knew well rose above the rabble. “He is only a small, hungry child. You will not arrest him.”

Thea. He should have known. Quickening his stride, he swiftly arrived at the gathering of street cleaners, vendors, and the merely curious. The small crowd of onlookers parted for him. At the middle of the scene was Thea squaring off with a sturdy-looking farmer. An underfed, filthy child of perhaps six or seven years clutched an apple in one grubby hand and her skirt in the other, clearly recognizing her as his savior.

“How much for the apple?” she demanded of the farmer.

“That ain’t the point, miss,” the man said belligerently, spittle flying from his mouth. “He’s a thief and deserves to be punished.” The child ducked behind Thea as the farmer leaned to one side. “Hanged or transported.”

Thea’s chin rose as she stood her ground. “I am not saying he was right, but you might steal too if you were starving. The law in this case is too harsh.”

Dom’s cravat threatened to choke him. The law she referred to was one he had supported.

When a Marquis Chooses a Bride Blurb

eqWhen a Marquis Chooses a Bride

Thanks to their large extended family and unconventional courtship, The Worthingtons have seen their share of scandal and excitement. But nothing has prepared them for this…

The Dowager Lady Worthington isn’t quite sure what to make of country-girl Dorothea Stern. As the granddaughter of the Duke of Bristol, Dotty is schooled in the ways and means of the nobility. But her sharp wit and outspoken nature has everyone in a tizzy. Especially their cousin, Dominic, the Marquis of Merton.

Prematurely stuffy, Dom was raised by his cheerless uncle to be wary of a host of things, including innovation, waltzing, and most perilous of all: true love. Still, there’s something about Dotty, beyond her beauty, that Dom cannot resist. But the odds are against him if he intends to win her as his bride. Will he choose loyalty to his family—or risk everything for the one woman he believes is his perfect match…

When a Marquis Chooses a Bride Buy Links:
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About the Author

eqElla QuinnBestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series, The Worthingtons, began in April 2016.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America. Europe is next!

Blog http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpresscom

Cynthia Young: The Importance of Costumes in Stories
Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Quick note: Yesterday’s contest is still open! Be sure to enter to win a free story!
There will be THREE winners!

* * * * *

Medi Kit_RoguesGraphic1_700

Delilah kindly posted here about what inspired “An Eye for Love”, the short story that is part of the Rogues anthology , so today I’ll talk a little bit about the importance of costumes.

Breeches or pantaloons? Hoops or petticoats?

Clothing plays an integral role in a story. The garments a character wears aids in setting the time period the story is taking place in as well as showing the character’s social status, how they view themselves, or the image they want to portray to the people in their world. When writing stories set in a historical time period, mentioning a character wearing a garment from a different era can throw a reader out of the story.

As a writer, it’s important to know the era and the clothing worn during the time the story takes place. The more detail you are able to acquire about a particular item the better. Knowing whether buttons were used in a certain garment, the length of a garment and the undergarments worn are details that can enrich a scene. Fortunately, there are many resources available for the person interested in learning about the garments worn during a particular time period.

Historical re-enactment societies are good sources of information. Some members of these organizations use the construction techniques of the respective era, making entire costumes by hand. Historical authors are another source and some are quite knowledgeable about the colors, fabrics and types of articles worn. Historical pattern makers and sewing experts can also provide research material.

I enjoy sewing when I have time. The photo is of a corset I made a few years ago using Simplicity® pattern 1819. It was time-consuming to make even with the use of a sewing machine. This corset is part of a Steampunk costume, and with its modern lines doesn’t fit the Regency time period I set my stories in.


If you’d like to be kept informed of future book releases, sign up for my newsletter at

About the Author

Cynthia Young writes tantalizing, passionate romances set during the Regency era. She enjoys writing stories with strong characters that triumph over challenges to achieve their happily-ever-after. Cynthia lives in the Pacific Northwest where the rain and numerous coffee houses make the perfect writing companions.

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Rose Lerner: Her Classic Picks for Non-Romance Readers
Thursday, February 5th, 2015

rlRoseLerner_150wideLast week the Book Binge linked to this piece from Twitter: “Romance for Non-Romance Readers.” The piece claims, “I’m going to examine the common reasons that readers bypass the romance section, and then suggest some titles that can ease the transition into enjoying the romance genre.” Seems straightforward enough! I scrolled down to the list. Wait a minute…Jane Eyre? Rebecca? Silence of the freaking Lambs?

With the exception of one or two books, this list is not made up of romance novels at all. They may be stories about love, but that’s not the same thing. And if a reader scorns romance and discovers she likes Jane Eyre, that’s highly unlikely to convince her she should check out the latest Tessa Dare.

I’ve tried to hook many non-romance-readers on romance, and I’ve found that there are some books that work well and some that don’t. That information is hardwon, and useful to share! So I’ve put together a shortlist here of (mostly historical) books that have worked for me, and I’ve also compiled at my blog all the suggestions I received on Twitter, organized by genre.

There’s an art to recommending books and I suspect many of you are skilled at it already. But if you’re not sure where to start, here are a few guidelines:

1. What does your friend already like to read? If they’re a devoted thriller reader, try romantic suspense. If they love fantasy or horror, start with paranormal.

2. Respect their preferences. If they just watched the Twilight movie and were bowled over by how much they loved it, don’t try to use that as a segue to push Jennifer Crusie at them. Give them a vampire romance even if that’s not your favorite. If they tell you they hate scary stuff, don’t say, “Oh, but this romantic suspense book is amazing, just give it a shot!”

You don’t have to believe them when they say, “Oh, I wouldn’t like romance,” because pfft. They’ve never read a romance, or they skimmed a bad one that they picked up at random in a waiting room. They’ve been brainwashed by how romance is used as an easy punchline in our culture. Probably the only romance writer whose name they know is Danielle Steel. (Nothing against Danielle Steel! But even accounting for her phenomenal popularity, she’s one writer in a huge genre.)

But they still know what they like in a story even if they don’t understand the ways romance can give it to them.

3. Some books make better intros than others. That cozy snowed-in book you love might be incredible, Pregnesia might be hilarious, but do they work best if you’re already affectionately familiar with romance tropes? Will they strike someone as special who’s pre-disposed to dismiss romance? Maybe! Just give it some thought first. I have had a lot of litsnob friends in my life, so my tendency is to give romance haters books that decisively smash their preconceptions about what the genre can be. I’ve found that once they’re sold on the exceptional book, they can ease into the everyday delights or cracktastic deliciousness on their own. YMMV. Be thoughtful and use your best judgment!

4. Give trigger warnings. For example, you may have read so many awesome abduction stories that it doesn’t register anymore, but it may take your friend completely by surprise. Let them know that there is sex without consent in the book and they can decide from there.

And now, my list:

rlbook1. The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer. Heyer was a favorite author in college and I was constantly trying to hook my friends. But The Grand Sophy was the only one my friends consistently liked as an introduction to her. Hardly anyone could get through The Black Moth, my personal favorite, if they weren’t already feeling the Heyer love.

A note: there is a very anti-Semitic scene partway through the book. Check if that’s a deal-breaker for your friend. Sylvester has been suggested as another good starter Heyer (although for that one, warn for ableism!).

2. Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie. This book is quirky, fun, different…and oh, the sex scenes! Back in the day, I used this book to hook friends who liked fanfiction but told me the sex in romances was boring. Luckily, with the growth of erotic romance the sex scenes in mainstream stories have really leveled up, but Welcome to Temptation is still perfection. (Bet Me is another great starter book, and someone told me that Tell Me Lies and Crazy for You worked well for them as a mystery reader coming into the genre.)

My BFF was impervious to the charms of Crusie. But I didn’t give up. She loves Westerns, so when I read this next book, I was pretty sure I had her–and I did!

3. Fall From Grace by Megan Chance. An amazing, daring Western that opens with the heroine running away from the hero–who is also her estranged husband–and when he catches her, she shoots him. This book is intense, emotional, and hard-bitten. The very first review on Amazon says “This is ‘the’ book I hand to romance detractors, male and female, and say ‘I dare you to learn otherwise’. Everyone I’ve given it to has been pleasantly surprised, including a male friend who stayed up until 2 in the morning because he ‘had to know how it ended’.”

4. Loretta Chase. For me, Lord of Scoundrels delivers the most intense emotional experience and I’ve had a lot of friends fall in love with it, but Miss Wonderful is the one that finally got my dad. He’d read other romances before, but after Miss Wonderful, he was addicted. He told me it was the best book he’d ever read about relationships. Mr. Impossible also got a lot of Twitter votes.

5. A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant. The heroine pays the hero to sleep with her every day for a month (she’s a widow who needs to get pregnant with a child that could plausibly be her late husband’s, because otherwise her horrible brother-in-law will inherit). The heroine refuses to enjoy herself at first, so the sex is awkward and excruciating (which just makes it hotter!), and the prose…the beauty of the prose is astonishing. This book is particularly effective for anyone who uses the words “generic,” “badly written,” or “cheesy” while explaining why they don’t read romance.

6. My above-mentioned BFF told me she’s seen a lot of people read and love The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan as their first romance. I agree, this would be a great choice, especially for someone who tells you that romance is a sexist or unprogressive genre.

As I mentioned above, I’ve also compiled all the “starter romance” suggestions I got on Twitter at my blog. Corrections and additions welcome!

Thanks for having me, Delilah.

Rose Lerner

About Rose Lerner

I discovered Georgette Heyer when I was thirteen, and wrote my first historical romance a few years later. My writing has improved since then, but my fascination with all things Regency hasn’t changed. When not reading, writing, or researching, I enjoy cooking and marathoning old TV shows. I live in Seattle with my best friend.