What’s in a name?

Alright, I’m just going to come out and say it: naming characters is the worst.

Most of my (non-author) friends think that I’m crazy for saying this. After all, most of us only get to name a few people in our lives, and if you don’t have any children then you never get the pleasure of deciding what someone is going to be called for the rest of their lives.

I haven’t had that sort of responsibility yet, but I have named several characters in my books. In fact, with my seventeenth book coming out in November (pre-order here!) and my twenty third book just returned from my editor, I’ve probably named over a hundred characters.

I’ve had Avis and Cathryn, Hestia and Audrey, even a Margaret. The boys haven’t been left out either: Alexander and Leonard and Thomas have all graced my pages.

But there’s no hiding from the truth any more. I’m running out of good names.

What? I hear you cry. There are thousands of great names – wonderful names, emotive names, beautiful names.

And there are. But when you’re going for a specific part of history, you immediately become limited. You can’t call a character Jack in the 1060s of England, or a Zacharius in the 1400s. Although Alice was popular in the Victorian era and the 1300s, you wouldn’t have found many in the Tudor era, and don’t even get me started on Judas and Delilah.

You’re unlikely to have a Regency noblewoman called Abigail (a servant’s name), nor any Victorias at all. Meredith is a boy’s name until the 1950s, and no matter how much I try to use Emily, I just can’t stomach naming a character after myself!

When you are seeking historical accuracy, it’s a challenge. There are natural limitations, and limitations that I want to stick to…within reason.

So apologies if you’re a Charles, Mary, Elizabeth, or Margaret. You could appear in almost any part of England’s history from 1050 onwards, and I’ll probably end up using you more than twice.

What name do you love? What names do you think are ignored in historical romance? Let me know in the comments below!

Holidaying as an author

When most people take a vacation, they set down tools, leave the office, wave goodbye to their colleagues, and turn their mind off from their work until they need to step back into work again.

Not so with us authors. Our office is of the mind, and that means that it is almost impossible to completely abandon and try to switch off while you are taking a holiday – even if you would like to!

It has almost becoming a running joke in my family. Whenever I go on holiday with them, my trusty laptop somehow seems to find its way into my luggage.

“What did you bring that for?” They’ll ask me, a smile on their faces. “Surely you don’t want to work while you’re on holiday?”

And the answer seems that it should be ‘Of course not!’…but in many ways, writing doesn’t feel like work to me. Yes, some chapters are nightmares, and some characters make me want to rip my teeth out…

But sometimes the words just come. They flow like water from my fingertips and after losing myself completely in the words, I realise that several hours have gone by, and I haven’t eaten in any of them. My family have been tiptoeing around me, leaving hot drinks now cold around me, but otherwise leaving me be.

It’s an incredible blessing, having family like me. I honestly don’t know how I would write without them, and when we go on holiday together and explore our favourite parts of the country, inspiration lies around every corner.

A phrase to include in a book. A character to add in a story. A location that is perfect for a scene.

So when I next go on holiday, I’ll be taking the laptop. Inspiration may not stride, but just in case it does…

Finishing a historical romance series

Well – it’s done. I’ve finished the Ravishing Regencies series.

You may find that a little surprising, and don’t worry if you are one of my loyal Kickstarter fans, the books were (technically!) already written! As I shared with you a few months ago, I had this incredible idea of how to add something into the series…

…and of course, with an eight books in a series, that can get a little complicated.

Especially when it’s a historical romance series. There’s so much to try to keep track of: details of clothing, food, slang. Character names and nicknames, dates and weather…

The list literally goes on. It took me a while, but the last book has just been pinged over to my lovely editor (thank you Julia!) and the series is officially complete.

It’s a little bittersweet, to be honest. You spend months living through the fictional lives of eight couples – no, make that nine (keep reading to find out why!). You start to realise that there are so many parts of your writing life that you haven’t done yet, because you’ve been so focused on the series that you’re writing.

But now that Ravishing Regencies is finished, what next?

Well, for a start, the world needs to read them! I am releasing one book every two months, with the next one on pre-order, so make sure that you check out Drenched with a Duke now and order the third book in the series Shipwrecked with a Suitor. 

And while the other books are being published? Well, I currently have four series ideas (aarrghghh, how will I choose?) so I need to start digging into those and choosing my favourite. I’m sure that I’ll end up getting a bit emotional about it: after all, it’s a bit like trying to choose your favourite child.

It will all come down to what I fall in love with more. If I can’t fall in love with them, how will my readers?

Even authors get sick!

Hello from the comfort of my armchair! Yes, that’s right: my loyal readers will know that I’m very prone to colds when winter arrives, and as soon as the weather changed here in the South of England, a sore throat started, and I’m now in the full throes of a headcold.

Which is really inconvenient! Earlier in the week I was making real headway with the feedback from my editor on Catastrophe with a Count, one of my Ravishing Regencies series and I was really hoping to have it off to the formatter and almost ready to send to my Kickstarter supporters, but that’s had to take a back seat.

I’ve also been pushing through my own edits for the last book in that series, Emigrating with an Earl, and was confident that I would be able to type ‘The End’ this weekend – but every time that I open up the document, my brain starts to feel like lead!

So I’ve been forced to take the advice of my family, friends, and wonderful readers, and step away from the keyboard this weekend (except to write this blog, to tell you that I’m not doing any work this weekend. Yes, I get the irony). It’s frustrating when you love doing what you do, and I love writing more than anything, but if I’m totally honest with myself, anything that I did write this weekend would probably be awful, and I’d just end up writing it again!

Learning to take time for yourself is vital. I’m not going to get any better by wishing it, but slowing down and taking time for myself? Well, that certainly won’t hurt.

So I’m going to allow my husband to look after me, bring me food, and snuggle down with some Jane Austen classics. What have you been up to this weekend? Tell me in the comments below!

What is it that authors even do?

Believe it or not, I get asked this question a lot – and I kind of understand it. After all, most of our images of an author is someone like Jane Austen, scribbling away on a tiny desk, or Oscar Wilde, resplendent in his elegant clothes while mocking the very class that he comes from.

Nowadays, not so much.

Let me take you on a journey of this weekend as an author, bearing in mind that I work a full time job as a Marketing Manager Monday to Friday.

Saturday morning

It’s a glorious day! It’s also a day when I take stock of where I am, and what I’m behind on, because I’m always behind on something. After running through my Trello boards (sort of like magical online to-do lists that ping me emails every time I’m late for something), I decide that doing a deep plot of my next book is the most urgent thing.

I head somewhere quiet because my poor husband also has work to do, and cosy up. With a little concentration and six hours, I’ve deep plotted (that’s written out a play by play for each chapter) an entire novella. It’s 8000 words. I have pasta.

I then turn my attention to my glorious reader emails. I probably get about 25-30 a day, and so I try to reply to them each day otherwise they pile up, but I’ve been busy. I take the time to reach each one, and reply to most of them.

It’s 4pm. I head home, and decide with my man to ignore work (as much as possible) and enjoy the evening together.

I respond to three more emails and post twice on Facebook before bed.

Sunday

Typically I’d head to church, but it’s one of the few days that I actually get with my husband (who works shifts), so we decide to take a lazy day. I have writing to do, and so I get up at 6am and bash out 7600 words before my husband gets up.

I shower, and apologise to the husband for continuing on. I’ve got the mother of all admin to do.

First I print, read, sign, photograph, and email a publishing contract that I’ve been meaning to do for weeks (sorry Emmanuelle!) for a super secret book project that I’ll be all too excited to announce soon! I pop over my manuscript to her too, and then start the uploading process of a paperback to Amazon.

This takes forever, so while it’s doing that, I respond to five new emails that have popped into the inbox, and update my sales spreadsheet to see how my new release, Drenched with a Duke, is doing. The reviewers love it! I give myself a pat on the back, and remind myself that I need to do four more things before lunch.

I update my bio on Audible, update two images on my newsletter, and realise that Amazon isn’t loading my paperback, so save where I got to. I email another publisher about the paperback of a different series, and drop an email each to my cover designers.

And then I started writing this blog.

Is it what you imagined?

Being an author isn’t always staring into the distance with a clever look on your face and a quill in your hand. When you’re a hybrid author – that’s one who has publishers and publishers their own books – you are not just a plotter, writer, researcher, and editor. You’re also a proofreader, publisher, marketeer, administrator. You sort out the finances and the emails, you chat with the fans and swap ideas with other authors.

It’s exhausting and wonderful and terrifying and amazing. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Want to see the fruit of my labour? Just check out my seventeen books here!

Shipwrecked with a Suitor is published!

I’m so excited to say that my latest Regency romance, Drenched with a Dukeis published!

drenchedwithadukeA woman fished out of the ocean, and a man looking to ruin his reputation – and neither is expecting to find answers with each other…

Alexander, the Duke of Caershire, wasn’t expecting to drag a half-drowned woman from the Thames, but there seems little to do but help the bedraggled woman home.

Teresa Metcalfe, courtesan to the rich and famous, knows a fool when she sees one, but her instincts to rob him melt away as she discovers just why he was walking the docks that night.

As the night continues and time forces honesty from their lips, will Alexander relinquish the reputation that he has worked so hard to maintain? Will being drenched with a duke give Teresa a man not just for a night, but for a lifetime?

The reviews have been flying in, and you know what: I couldn’t be more thrilled!

I was left drenched, panting and wanting more. Besides I needed to find out what happened to the elusive Courtesan, Teresa Metcalfe. Well it turns out she couldn’t make her appointment because she was shoved into the Thames by a jilted suitor! She’s saved from drowning by the Duke of Caershire. That’s where this fantastic romance begins. — Sewanee

And here’s another one:

This author has found a lovely and unique way to write a fun, interesting, thoughtful and sometimes steamy, romance. I always think intertwining stories but keeping them separate are wonderful ideas if you can do them correctly and not tell the same exact story. This author is able to pull it off wonderfully!! — Tracy B. Smith

(She means Lost with a Lord, by the way, the first book in the series. Grab it here!)

And there’s more!

The eloquent words flowed off the page and deeply immersed me in a romantic tale of a lonely nobleman rescuing a beautiful courtesan from being murdered after she was pushed into the river by a scoundrel. The pair spend a lot of time talking and connecting. The dialogue was superb. I quickly loved both characters. I absolutely adore this book, and I am definitely read the next one in the series. I highly recommend this novella to all Regency romance fans. — Diana

I cannot wait for you to read Drenched with a Duke! If you want to get your hands on this delectable romance – now’s your chance. You can buy it on ebook, paperback, and audiobook by clicking here!

Guest Post: MJ Post – and Extract!

Hey, guys — MJ Post here. My motto, taken from the great Stan Lee, is “Excelsior!” It’s the state motto of New York State, where I reside. (I’m a Brooklyn school teacher, of course!) It means lots of things, but the most exciting thing it means is, “Keep on climbing! Keep pursuing your goals!” And sisters and brothers, I am doing that..

A few years back, I decided to take on this pseudonym and ask the great Mysti Parker to train me as a romance writer. That part of my heart just wasn’t getting expressed in my other work, and I wanted to write in a genre with loyal and passionate fans. So I’ll be working to get your loyalty by creating my own style of stories about strong, spunky heroines and the men who love them just the way they are.

Mysti and I entered the market as a team with Chances Are a while back, and since then we’ve been working on the City Meets Country series, a group of four interlocking new adult romance novellas with a couple of things that make them stand out.

First of all, they celebrate the diversity of the United States by showing what happens when people from different parts of the country and with different cultural backgrounds meet and fall in love. With me writing the city folks and Mysti writing the country folks, we make sure that both sides of the story are told by people who know their own communities well. You’ll find both the intense pace of the big city and the frank charm of the country — the best of both worlds!. (Wowz, that’s some value, I tell ya!)

I should mention:  the books share characters by moving each heroine’s best girlfriend into the starring role in the next book. In Drive Me Crazy, the heroine Ellison Carlisle’s best friend is the Brooklyn loudmouth Lena Bosko. Guess who stars in book two, High on You? Yep, it’s Lena (foot in mouth, yipe!), and her buddy, Harper Wheeler, moves to Brooklyn for book three, Sealed with a Kiss. Harper’s best friend in Brooklyn is … well, you get the point. (Could we keep doing that forever, really? Hey, tell your friends to buy ‘em all and we might!)

Our stories are crazy with the laugh-out-loud funny bits, but at the same time, they’re about real people with real hearts who fall in love because they’re well-suited to be together. And if some steamy stuff happens between them (news flash, it definitely does!)  — well, you know, times are tough all around, and our young couples deserve it.

These are novellas  you’ll read again and again for the little moments you remember, some of them sweet, some of them a little bit, erm, naughty. (Who, me? No, I was just standing there…)

So here’s a bit of a selection for you, from book #1, Drive Me Crazy, now available at Amazon to buy or read on Kindle Unlimited. Book #2, High on You, is already available for preorder, and we’ll have one per month through April.)

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll connect with Mysti and me online. We really appreciate our readers!!

XXXXXX

Ellie hurried through the curtain and came nose to neck with a man.

“Hey, watch it!” He had a deep voice with a distinct Brooklyn accent like Lena’s.

“Um, oh, sorry,” she muttered before stepping out of his personal space.

“It’s fine. I’m looking for Kate.”

Ellie looked up at him. Big mistake. Luke Martelli blinked down at her. This time he wore a black t-shirt with a silvery “Quicksilver Performance Parts” logo on the front. She glanced down at his faded jeans, surprised to see a navy-blue brace on his left knee.

He tilted his head to one side and gave her a quick once-over with scrutinizing dark eyes. He didn’t have pissed-off written all over his face this time. His inviting lips slanted upward in a slight smile. Did he recognize her? At least she didn’t have tomato sauce all over her mouth. But, God, now all she could think of was having her mouth all over his. What was she? Fourteen?

“Oh, hey Luke,” Kate said as she came around Ellie, who had apparently forgotten how to move, speak, or breathe. “I’ve got the balloons, but the crepe paper is on backorder.”

Luke’s pissed off expression returned. “Damn it. You know when it’ll be in?”

“Let me check.”

He followed Kate to the counter and propped his elbows on it while she punched some keys on the computer.

“It’ll be at least a week,” Kate said. “Apparently, every float on the east coast is getting covered in crepe. My friend Jilly has a lot of silk flowers…”

“No silk,” Luke said, slicing the air with one big strong hand as though severing such a notion’s jugular vein. “Big Al is already on my ass over the Lemon Factory float. I’m tired of his itchin’, you know?”

“Oh, I know. You’d’ve been a lot better off in Pocono.”

“Tell my knee that.” He shifted his feet, taking some weight off the leg with the knee brace. “I’d take Pocono over this rat’s nest any day. No offense.”

“None taken, though we’ve not had a rat in a good two months.”

Luke chuckled. It was a deep and genuine sound, and Ellie suspected he didn’t have much to laugh at these days. She lingered near the bins of cheap toys, candy, and temporary tattoos designed to spur those last-minute buys as people waited in line with fussy kids. As though taking inventory or whatever would make her look less gaga teenager and more twenties professional, she examined some of the butterfly tattoos. “The real ones hurt, baby doll,” he said.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MJ Post is the pseudonym of a New York City teacher who writes contemporary romance. MJ writes about driven, spunky heroines and the men who love them for who they really are. MJ’s interests include fiction, education, and comic books — MJ particularly likes, of course, MJ (Mary Jane) Watson, who is an inspiration! MJ’s slogan is taken from Stan Lee: Excelsior!

MJ’s first romance novel will come out some time before summer 2018. You can track MJ’s progress with the novel, and see selections, by clicking like on MJ’s Facebook fan page ( https://www.facebook.com/MJ-Post-Author-302156203319243/ ) or even friending MJ on Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/people/MJ-Post/1000084839887900 ) — MJ likes friend requests from prospective readers.

Mysti Parker is an award-winning author and shameless chocoholic. She writes romance for every reader’s taste from super sweet to scandalously spicy. When she’s not writing the next best-story-ever or tackling the endless mountain of laundry, she works as a freelance copywriter and editor. Mysti resides in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband, three children and too many pets.

For more updates and an endless array of food pics, follow her at:

http://www.mystiparker.com

http://www.facebook.com/RomanceforEveryReader/

http://twitter.com/MystiParker

http://www.instagram.com/mysti_parker/

 

Emily Murdoch Launching Kickstarter!

I am excited to reveal that I am launching a Kickstarter for my new series, Ravishing Regencies!

This is a fantastic opportunity for you to get involved in not just a book, but a whole series – bringing it to life and working alongside me to get these Regency romance novellas ready for the world.

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Each of these novellas – from Lost with a Lord to Drenched with a Duke – force two people together through a calamity. This encounter brings together earls, dukes, fisherman’s daughters and courtesans: and of course, romance ensues.

I love these books, but it’s going to cost me almost £190/$250 to publish each one, and that’s just money that I don’t have. That’s why I’m asking for help.

1

It is why I am asking you, my incredibly supportive readers, to pledge £19/$25 and join the Ravishing Regencies Team. For that, you’ll receive a huge number of rewards:

  • All eight books as ebooks, 50% off list price!
  • A magical bundle of digital extras!
  • Signed paperback of book 1
  • Exclusive limited edition bookmark!

Want to get even more involved? You can name a secondary character for me if you pledge £75/$100, enjoy an exclusive Skype chat with me the author for £132/$178, or even make a huge plot decision for me for £375/$504.

Of course, if you don’t have £19/$25 then there are options for just £1/$1.50 too. I want everyone who wishes to be a part of the Ravishing Regencies Team, to do just that.

Ready to join the time and make something incredible together? Click here!

Got a few questions before you are ready to join? Some of the frequent questions have been answered here, or you can contact me directly here.

I can’t wait to make Ravishing Regencies with you!

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Guest Blog: The Sun God’s Heir

Welcome to the Book Tour for The Sun God’s Heir: Rebirth, Book 2 in Elliott Baker’s new series!
Book Information:
Title: The Sun God’s Heir: Rebirth, Book 2
Author Name: Elliott Baker
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Grab Your Copy from Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2lEnUke
Visit the Tour Hosts:
About The Sun God’s Heir: Rebirth, Book 2:
The Count of Monte Cristo meets ancient Egypt in this riveting sequel to The Sun God’s Heir: Return.
Set during the wave tossed years of white slavery and Barbary pirates, this is the epic story of René Gilbert, a journey that defies time as he must draw on a larger awareness earned in previous lifetimes.
The plague’s dark fingers curl around Bordeaux. René must return home to save those he loves. But first he has to escape a Moroccan sultan’s clutches. In Bordeaux, an enemy waits, filled with a hatred three thousand years old. Only René can defeat this dark power, and only if he reclaims his own ancient past. In this arena, death is but the least of failure’s penalties.
Meet the Author:
Award winning novelist and international playwright Elliott
Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play
published and produced in the United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England,
and Canada, Elliott is pleased to release his first novels. The Sun God’s Heir: Return, book one of
the trilogy, was released this past January, and book two, Rebirth will come out on April 18th, followed in July by
the third and final book of the series, Redemption.
A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New
Hampshire with his wife Sally Ann.

Grab Book 1, The Sun God’s Heir: Return, Book 1 on Amazon:

(P.S. – Book 1 is Free!)

http://amzn.to/2mklqLB

You can find Elliott at the following places:

Cover reveal: Sharon Ledwith

Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking… 
Sharon Ledwith has a brand new series coming in June 2017 and today I am revealing the cover to you!
Here is some information about the book:

Kindle File Size: 667 KB

Print Length: 203 pages

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing; 1 edition

Publication Date: June 17, 2017

ASIN: B0713S1DCR

Read the blurb:

The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.
Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.
Are You Ready for the Cover?
You Can Pre-Order the Book, Too!!

Mirror World Publishing:

Paperback:

https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/poetry/products/lost-and-found-paperback

Ebook:

https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/poetry/products/lost-and-found-ebook

Other Retailers:

Amazon US:

http://amzn.to/2q2Alfv

Amazon CA:

https://www.amazon.ca/Found-Mysterious-Tales-Fairy-Falls-ebook/dp/B0713S1DCR/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1493565088&sr=1-1&keywords=Lost+and+Found+Sharon+Ledwith

Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/lost-and-found-175

Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lost-and-found-sharon-ledwith/1126287196?ean=9781987976281

Meet the Author:

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, and GOODREADS.

Author Tagline:

Escape to the past and have a blast.

Connect with Sharon Ledwith:

Sharon’s Website:

www.sharonledwith.comSharon’s Blog:

http://sharonledwith.blogspot.com/Sharon’s Facebook Page:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/seledwithSharon’s Author Facebook Page:

https://twitter.com/sharonledwithGoodreads Author Page:

http://amzn.to/2p9ryncAmazon Author U.K. Page: