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Pre-order now! Christmas with a Czar…

Many of you still read and love my Ravishing Regencies series, and there hasn’t been a new book in that series for a little while – but all of that is changing!

Christmas with a Czar was previously published in the Have a Merry Little Secret boxset, but if you’ve never read it, then it’s available to pre-order for 0.99 right now!

A man who claims to be a prince and a woman forced to play along – but the real secret must be revealed before Christmas Day…

It’s Christmas at St. James’ Court, and there’s a pretender to the Russian throne attempting to gain Royal approval. Alexei Dmitry Immanuil Maximilian Konstantinvich – or Maxim, to his admirers – is determined to hide the secret that will ruin him.

He may only be one and thirty, but he’s seen enough of the world to last him a lifetime, unlike Miss Anne Marsh. She’s agreed with her father that this will be her last Season to be presented at St. James’. Tired of being trotted out for the marriage market, all she wants is to retire to anonymity.

That’s going to be difficult after being found in a compromising position in the Russian Prince’s rooms. A marriage of convenience is agreed, and Christmas Day is set for their wedding. But Maxim is hiding far more than Anne could ever guess, and she has a few secrets of her own…

Will Maxim be recognised at Court for the Czar he claims to be? Will Anne accept a marriage of convenience from such a wild and hedonistic man? Can a Christmas with a Czar be the beginning of a lifetime together?

This novella is a steamy Regency romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhangers, and is part of a series which can be read in any order.

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New exciting website update!

You know, it’s been five years since I had designed my website, and honestly? I thought it was looking a little tired.

I’m not saying what I had before was bad – it wasn’t! But it wasn’t representative of what my books were, and who I was as an author anymore.

I have learned so much over the last few years. I have crowdfunded (thanks to the amazing support of my readers!) an entire series of Regency romance; I have started a bestselling Regency series with my amazing publishers, Dragonblade Publishing; and I now have a Patreon where my readers can get bonus content, have a say in how books are developed, and even have training on how to write a romance yourself!

So it’s time for a change. I hope you like the style of my new website, as I’ve spent a lot of time on it, and have a little explore.

Of course, my books will continue being published with historical detail and passion beyond imagining…

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Will we ever read the same?

I don’t know about you, but the last year has really changed the way I read.

Not that I don’t read the same things; I don’t think it will ever be possible for me to leave historical romance alone!

But more the way I read, both when I read and what medium I end up reading on.

I am a paperback queen – I probably have about 2000 books (and counting!), and I find it incredibly difficult to get rid of a book because I only ever buy what I truly love.

I have an e-reader, but I always used it for travelling because I would find it impossible to decide what books to take with me on a journey. My e-reader, honestly, is collecting dust. This last year, I haven’t gone far from home due to the pandemic, and I’ve discovered that I have a new way of reading: audiobooks.

When I was a kid, I loved audiobooks. I must be one of millions that had Harry Potter audiobooks on cassette tape, and there was many a car journey that my parents managed to endure by putting a new story on!

But as I grew older, I grew out of the habit.

And now I’m back! Listening to books has been an incredible way to absorb new stories while I’m walking, or doing the dishes, or even hoovering (if I can get the volume loud enough!).

What about you? How has the pandemic changed the way you read?

(If you want to listen to my audiobooks, just click here!)

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Read now! Always the Lyon Tamer

If you are one of the many readers who was worried about Miss Rebecca Darby not receiving her happily ever after in Always the Chaperone? You are not alone! In fact, I started receiving so many requests from readers that when the opportunity to write a story in the Lyon’s Den world came up, I knew exactly whose story I had to tell.

Yup, it’s Rebecca’s time!

I never actually intended to give her the happily ever after she deserved (sorry Rebecca!) but this character just didn’t leave me alone. So I asked her what ending she wanted, and you know what – it surprised me. This book is now OUT so you can enjoy by purchasing or reading in Kindle Unlimited!

Always taming gentlemen but never getting her own – but the Lyon’s Den will change that

Always the Lyon Tamer book cover by Emily E K Murdoch. A Regency gentleman sits in a chair while a beautiful woman in a blue gown stands behind him.

Miss Rebecca Darby is tired of being courted by John Lennox, Marquis of Gloucester. After months of empty promises, it’s time to take matters into her own hands. Because John ‘the Lion’ Lennox is always surrounded by his pride of ladies, and she’s never able to get close. His flirting has led nowhere, and Rebecca won’t stand for it anymore. Not when the Lyon’s Den, the secretive club owned by Mrs. Dove-Lyon, promises to play games leading to happy matrimony.

John has no idea what faces him in the game. Rebecca has no idea whether her shyness will allow her to carry through with her plans, but if she doesn’t try, she’ll always wonder. He doesn’t recognize the mysterious woman in the mask. She knows this is her only chance to tame him.

In a world where women rule the roost and gentlemen must do what they’re told, it will take a Lyon Tamer to bring John to his knees. But once the masks are removed, will Rebecca have her way, or will the Lyon escape into the night?

This novella is a steamy Regency romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhangers, and is part of a series which can be read in any order.

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Read now! Always the Mistress

You know how sometimes, there’s a character that you just can’t let go? You think she’s going to be a secondary character, just flitting in and out in the background, and then she grabs you and shakes you and hisses that you better give her a story or she’ll riot?

Yeah, that’s Miss Emma Tilbury.

She’s appeared in the background of almost all my Never the Bride series, and I knew that the series would never be finished if I didn’t give her an entire book of her own.

So that’s what I did. Make sure you grab this pre-order while it’s on sale at just 0.99!

Always the mistress and never the bride – and it never bothered her until now

Miss Emma Tilbury is notorious, and that’s just the way she likes it. As mistress to the rich and famous, she’s never short of cash or invitations – but after reaching thirty, a shock rejection makes her think again. Perhaps it’s time to look for another protector.

Abraham Fitzclarence – Fitz to his friends – believes in love and has had his eye for years on Miss Emma Tilbury. Forbidden fruit, delectable and sweet, he’s astonished when she takes a shine to him – and his heart is quickly lost despite all his attempts to remain aloof.

Emma needs a protector but Fitz intrigues her. Perhaps this is a man she could truly care for – as long as she doesn’t lose her heart. She’s determined to keep their relationship just business. He’s ready to leave all that behind her. There’s no end of pleasure at night but in the morning there’s nothing but disappointment.

Will Emma open her heart – and could Fitz be the one to do so? Or will her past follow her and prevent a happily ever after?

This full length novel is a steamy Regency romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhangers, and is part of a series that can be read in any order.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

A short and sweet one from me, because I am also celebrating my wedding anniversary this week! Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my incredible readers who make writing my books completely worthwhile. Whether you are in a romantic relationship or not, take some time to read a good book and tell someone you love how much they mean to you!

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Okay. I finally watched Bridgerton.

I know, I know, I am so late to the party! But I was finishing off a Regency series at the time and I didn’t want to a) get distracted and b) I didn’t want to accidentally steal any great lines from the TV show!

But I have watched it now, and I have to say, I absolutely love it. What’s not to love? It has everything that I want in a historical romance: passionate characters, fun sibling dynamics, gossip and scandal, and some of the most incredible costumes I have ever seen.

And you know what? It also pushed boundaries that I loved to see taken down from historical romance, especially around people of colour – who yes, by the way, were absolutely a part of Regency England.

It’s an incredible time to be a historical romance author at the moment, and I guess I am hoping that the Netflix series Bridgerton will open the floodgates for more romances that are not Jane Austen – no offence, Jane! But you have definitely had enough adaptations. It’s time for more recent historical romance authors to get their moment, and you never know, maybe one day one of my series will get made!

Have you watched Bridgerton? Have you avoided it? Did you love it? Which of my series would you love to see made?! Let me know in the comments below!

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Read now! Always the Rebel

When was the last time you just wanted to scream and do things your own way?

I have this all the time. I’m known amongst my close family for my terrible temper, something that I try to keep hidden from most of my friends and definitely my work colleagues! Which is why I loved writing this book so much. Miss Sophia Worsley doesn’t get mad – she just does whatever she wants.

As usual, there are some cameos from other characters in this series and so many amazing moments that I laughed out loud when I was writing. I really hope you love it!

Always the rebel and never the bride – it’s down with men for this young lady

Miss Sophia Worsley never expected to be left at the altar, but two broken engagements was enough. Never again will she allow herself to be that vulnerable. It’s time to rebel against all that society expects of her. Though even at three and twenty, she knew wearing breeches at Almack’s were probably too much…

If there is one man bored of life, it’s Philip Egerton, Earl of Marnmouth. He’s seen it all and nothing can surprise him – though the woman laying down a Royal Flush with a grin is certainly new. Ah, a challenge. Finally something for Philip to sink his teeth into – though that’s not what he wants to sink into the delectable Miss Sophia Worsley.

He’s determined to have her. She’s turned her back on men and matrimony. Passions ignite as two challengers circle each other looking for a weakness.

But the rebellious Sophia may just have the upper hand as Philip loses his heart faster than he could have predicted. Will this rebellion end in tears?

This full length novel is a steamy Regency romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhangers, and is part of a series that can be read in any order.

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How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming?

Okay, let’s be honest. New Year’s resolutions are hard! They are difficult to come up with, difficult to keep, and ever yyear I just feel more and more guilty that I haven’t managed to keep them beyond January!

So now we’re halfway through the year, how are you doing?

I’ll share mine, and please share yours in the comments!

My first New Year’s Resolution was to try and spend more time relaxing. I know that sounds daft, and I am not saying I never relax, but I work a full time job and essentially have a full time job as an author too. Yup, that’s two full time jobs, and it can be challenging to relax – especially when you add housework, trying to keep fit, and sleep (!) into the mix too.

How’s it going? Not terribly, but not great. I had my birthday off work (thank you!), but if I’m perfectly honest, I spent most of it working on some edits for a new book for you! D’oh!

My second New Year’s Resolution was to try and be more adventurous with my cooking. Not going to lie, I hate cooking. I love eating though, so I have some wonderful cookbooks I have been gifted over the years, and I wanted to try more of those recipes.

…again, not a terrible result, but not great! I have cooked more often however, and I have been a little more creative in terms of ingredients. I will admit I haven’t tried any completely new recipes yet.

Last but by no means least, my third New Year’s Resolution was to speak to my friends and family more often, and I’m pleased to say that I have found some success there. 2020 was such a strange year and it was frustrating not to be able to see the people that I loved whenever I wanted.

Thank goodness for technology! I now have weekly or fortnightly calls with most of those I love, and ad hoc calls with others. It’s not perfect, and I can’t wait for us to all have the vaccine, but until then, I’m doing okay.

What about you? Are you finding New Year’s Resolutions hard to keep? Did you make any this year? Tell me in the comments below!

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Guest Post: Accuracy in Historical Romance: How Important Is It, Really?

This week I have a special guest! Desiree is sharing some of her thoughts on historical romance and especially adaptions like the new Bridgerton series. Read on!

Between the recently released Bridgerton adaptation on Netflix and rereading some of my old favorite books while home for the holidays, historical romance has been on my mind lately — and with it, the eternal question of accuracy’s role in such stories. This was exacerbated when, while looking up reviews for some of those favorites, I noticed a common theme: complaints of historical inaccuracy, a few of which were substantial and fair, but most of which concerned things like what guests might drink at a ball, suitable mourning practices in a given era, etc.

I’m no historian, so maybe I’ll just never just understand how apparently distressing it is to read historical romance and know that something about it is incorrect. Yet I can’t help but feel that if you approach this genre with the accuracy-first mindset, combing each book for inconsistencies so you can excoriate the author in a review, you must not be very fun at parties — and, more crucially, you’re missing the point of such stories. After all, the essence of romance is escapism, and zeroing in on this kind of minutiae is the opposite of that! Even if you ultimately find the book spotless, you’re still making it almost impossible for yourself to enjoy it.

I suppose there’s an argument to be made that historical inaccuracies take the reader out of the story, effectively hindering that escapism — and to an extent, that’s true. As I said, some of the complaints I saw in reviews were fair: a heroine being unrealistically naïve about what to expect from her suitor, for example, or a ridiculous wedding ceremony in which the vicar simply subs one groom for another at the last second, like a restaurant offering Pepsi in lieu of Coke.

But these are much bigger components of a story than, say, the preferred fashions or dancing conventions of upper-middle-class women in the Regency era. They directly impact the plot or characterization, whereas the smaller details I’ve mentioned here should, at worst, throw readers off for a few moments… and only the most historically versed readers at that.

Yes, it’s always impressive when historical romance has clearly been researched extensively and includes highly specific details. But for me, this is much more of a bonus than a necessity. Most of us readers don’t consume historical romance — or indeed, any sort of historical fiction — for the factual rigor. So long as the major elements are consistent and not distracting, we should all be able to get on with the stories.

This has certainly proven true of recent period pieces like The Crown and The Queen’s Gambit; a few inaccuracies have not prevented them from being massively praised, both in mainstream public opinion and critical reviews. To which I say, why can’t we give historical romance that same benefit of the doubt?


Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors with the world’s best self-publishing resources and professionals. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and historical romance, writing short stories, and analyzing literature into the ground.

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It’s (almost!) my birthday!

Happy birthday (almost!) to me! Yup, that’s right – in a few days, I’ll be hitting the big 3-0.

I’m almost thirty! And to be honest, I couldn’t be happier about it. My twenties have been fun, don’t get me wrong – two degrees, three jobs, and one rather fantastic husband have all been gained during this decade – but there comes a point when you realise being 19 and being 29 are very different places.

Yes, I’m still more likely to wear a Pooh Bear jumper than a cashmere sweater, but I am not the woman I was ten years ago, and that’s a good thing! Ten years ago, I was still dreaming about being a writer. Now, I have over 40 books out and just a few weeks ago, I hit the USA Today Bestsellers List with my wonderful Dragonblade Publishing friends!

My twenties have been a decade to remember. I’ve achieved so much, experienced so much – learned so much! – and I’m ready to take all of that into my thirties and write even more amazing stories for you.

Want to celebrate with me? You can buy one of my books as a little thank you present to me, or you can donate to a charity that’s close to me. Thank you for your amazing support, even if you’re not in the position to do either!

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Read now! Always the Widow

Okay, real talk: I think this is my favourite cover of my series so far! It’s so exciting to introduce you to Mrs. Howard – scandalously widowed, scandalously pregnant…

I always had so many readers asking me to do a surprise pregnancy story but I couldn’t find a character to fit it, until now! There are quite a few characters appearing from other Never the Bride stories too, so see if you spot any of them!

Yours for just 0.99, you should grab it now while it remains at this discounted price.

Always the widow and never the bride again – her one chance of happiness lost

Mrs. Elizabeth Howard had believed her marriage to be a love match; She was wrong. So when a stranger offers her something she simply cannot refuse, she consoles herself with the knowledge that no one will ever know.

Until nine months later. Because after her husband dies and leaves her a widow, Elizabeth does have some perks. She’s well-respected, of course, and no one questions whether the child is a Howard or not…

Jacob Beauvale, Lord Westray, thought nothing of his romantic entanglement with Elizabeth Howard last year, but her widowhood and his return to town with a fiancée brings a shock in the shape of a small child with his eyes.
Gossip starts to fly as Jacob ignores his intended to pursue a woman with a child – and Elizabeth knows the facts can never be known.

He’s determined to have the truth. She’s sworn all along that it was her late husband’s child. Knowledge is in the balance and neither will give up their ground.

Will the truth of that night be more dangerous if known – and can Elizabeth and Jacob talk long enough to keep their hands off each other?

This full length novel is a steamy Regency romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhangers, and is part of a series that can be read in any order.