Editing Away…

You know, I’m going to be honest: editing is exhausting. Honestly, it’s just exhausting! I can easily write 15,000 words in a day, but editing for more than three hours I start to get a headache and I have to look away.

Editing is challenging, especially if you are editing your own work. You know what you are trying to say, and you just kind of assume that the reader will understand you.

You can’t see the mistakes.

You can’t see the errors.

You can’t see the inconsistencies.

And so you spend hours staring at a print out of your latest manuscript trying to work out where you’ve gone wrong, hoping desperately that you’re not going to cut out anything that is golden!

It’s why I depend so much on my Beta editors. They don’t just point out when there’s a wrong word, but when I’ve forgotten that a heroine starts a scene wearing a green dress and ends the scene wearing a blue dress. When I introduce a new character and then never actually follow up with them. When I add a secondary storyline that goes…nowhere.

I could go on, but you can see the challenge. So a big thank you goes out to my Beta readers, my Mum (the best editor in the world!) and any poor editor that has to look through my manuscripts.

Because they are probably awful. Sorry!

It’s Almost Spring!

You know, I can’t be the only one who is desperately waiting for the summer. I love the sun, I love the heat, I love the sound of laughter as picnics spread across green grass, I love birdsong…

…yeah. You get the general idea. I just love it.

So when I start to notice the signs of spring coming, I just can’t help but start to get a little happier. The nights are a little warmer, the sun lasts a little longer in the evenings, the swallows start to return, and I can think about putting away the winter coat and getting out the spring jacket (I mean, this is Britain. It can still be miserable in the middle of summer!).

And yet something in me is a little sad. Because I love being outdoors so much, I find that I want to spend less time at the keyboard and more time topping up my tan.

But this year I have so many amazing book projects that I can’t do that! I have three more books in my Ravishing Regencies series coming, along with a super secret project that I can’t talk about right now, but I will in a few weeks…

So I am trying to get as much done as possible while the days are chilly and frosty, so that you, my lovely readers, have lots of nice books to read!

Happy Galentine’s Day!

Yup, you read that correctly.

As well as celebrating Valentine’s Day this week, I’ll be celebrating Galentine’s Day. Originally created to celebrate female friendships, I’ll be using the day to thank my friends who stand by me, support me, and loving me no matter what.

Everyone has challenges in their lives, and having people around you who love you, take care of you, and stand by you whatever you go through is absolutely vital. I know that I have some wonderful friends and family who I completely rely on.

And yes, I’ve written a Valentine’s book (which you can grab here) but instead of curling up with a good book, why not treat someone else to it as a paperback?

This Galentine’s Day, reach out to a friend that you’ve lost track of. Tell someone you love how much they mean to you. Surprise a friend with a small gift. Just make it count, whatever you do.

Release Day: ‘Peril with a Prince’

I’m thrilled to say that my latest Regency romance, Peril with a Prince, has been released!

perilwiththeprince

A prince hiding his identity, and a woman hiding hers – and sparks will fly when they have only each other to rely on…

Prince Éduard of Aviroux is hunting down the Great Whisperer, the spy helping the French nobility escape the guillotine, and he’s so close when thwarted by the delectable Giselle.

In all his years, he has never seen a woman like her: resourceful, cunning, and ready for a fight. What he doesn’t realise is that she’s just the spy he’s looking for.

Now trapped on an island together with food running out fast, Giselle is attracting his notice for all the wrong reasons, and it surely won’t be long before secrets, as well as clothes, start to fly.

Will Éduard discover Giselle’s terrible secret – or will he reveal some of his own? And can a perilous time with a prince ever lead to something more than just the heady delights of the flesh?

This is the prequel of the Ravishing Regencies.

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

My ‘keep writing’ secret

One of the questions that I’m frequently asked as an author is: “Where do you get all of your inspiration from?”

And you know what? Sometimes that is a really difficult question to answer.

Don’t get me wrong, I am one of those people who drives their spouse insane by waking up in the middle of the night with a fantastic idea and having to get their phone open, dazzling screen ablazing, to write it down in ‘Notes’ – only to wake up the next morning to see:

andt he gloves not white but henot care

(An actual transcription from my ‘brilliant 3am ideas’ notes.)

I am also one of those authors who has, at the time of writing:

  • a twelve book series plotted out
  • a four book series plotted out
  • another twelve book series with the first three written
  • a five book series plotted out
  • and an eight book series with the covers designed, but no plots at all.

And you know what? I still have moments at my keyboard where I have no idea where my characters are going.

It can be frustrating, especially when (as I do), you are an author that works full time at another job. Carving out writing time is a real challenge, and I don’t even have the excuse of having children!

So when it comes to writing, I just want to sit down and go: no distractions, no hesitations.

When that doesn’t happen it can be overwhelmingly frustrating – but I am going to share with you my secret for how I am able to keep going.

tk

Yup, you read that right: tk. The letters ‘t’ and ‘k’ appear together very rarely in the English language, so if you decide to search ‘tk’ in your manuscript then you aren’t going to find many, unless you have a lot of pocketknives in your book.

So whenever I get to a sticking point and I know that it’ll frustrate me and distract me from the narrative, I just stick in tk and then move on.

Can’t think what the name of that piece of Regency clothing is? tk

Need an extra name for a character that is literally only in this scene? tk

Want to check whether that town is a real place, or I need to create one? tk

It may sound weird, but it’s a real simple way for me to keep with the flow of my writing. Then when I come to the end of my creative time, which usually doesn’t reach lunch (I’m definitely a morning bird!), I just stick ‘tk’ into the search, and the places that I need to go back to appear.

I never miss them. My manuscript is always better because of them, because I can then take my time to investigate clothing, find the perfect name, and research eighteenth century geography, without losing precious creating writing time.

So there you have it. YES I have tonnes of ideas. YES I have book ideas coming out of my ears. And YES sometimes my brain grinds to a halt and I have to use clever tricks to keep going.

Happy writing!

Happy Christmas!

It’s that time of year again – when authors decide to snuggle up with their families, and readers fill up their new ereaders or Kindles with the best bargains!

Happy Christmas!

This is a short blog today as I’m just finishing off the final bits of a new novel (all to be revealed in 2019!) and getting everything ready for Christmas with some of my nearest and dearest.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and New Year, and that you enjoy time with your loved ones. And if you’re looking for a bargain book to add to your collection, my January 2019 release is currently on 0.99 pre-order, so grab it now!

marquis

Writing a bestseller when sick

My loyal readers will groan when they hear that once again, I’m sick!

I’m known for being very susceptible to colds and this is my third, and worst, of the winter season so far. Along with the bunged up nose, slight earache, and dry throat, I’ve also just come out of a 3 day migraine.

Not ideal when you’re trying to write your next bestseller.

One of the challenges of taking your writing seriously as an author is that when you get sick, everything stops. I had a clear schedule for the book that I’m writing right now, and according to it Chapter 16 should be finished tomorrow.

Trouble is, Chapter 10 hasn’t even been started.

Now, there are two schools of thought when it comes to writing when sick or uninspiring:

  1. Write anyway darnit, it’s your job and you should treat it like that! Push through the pain, grab a box of tissues, and let’s DO THIS!
  2. Don’t bother. You’ll only write something terrible that you’ll have to scrap anyway, so dose up on Vitamin C, grab a box of tissues, and let’s RECOVER!

Now normally I fall into camp 1, but the last few days have just been awful – and I mean crying in the dark, praying that the migraine leaves me alone, awful.

I have barely been able to look at a screen, let alone write fantastic fiction.

So apologies to my lovely readers, but this cold has got me beat. I’m going to sign off now, and hopefully next week’s blog will find me in better health!

The medieval romance novel I thought I’d never write

If you’re looking for a medieval romance novel you’re expecting knights in shining armour, jousting, and at least three feasts. Right?

Well, that’s what I always thought. I’d loved medieval history, literature, architecture, art, music – the works – since before I can remember. I studied it at university first as an undergraduate and then as a postgraduate, and when I starting writing my first ever novel, it was a medieval romance novel.

And yet after the first book was published (which is Conquests, by the way) I realised that I wanted to tell a different story. Because as much as the medieval era was beautiful, and full of mystery and joy, it was also really brutal.

No, really, brutal. People loved and lost more than they lived. Children died young, parents died young, and illness was suffered at every point of life.

So I decided that my next medieval romance novel was going to show a little more of a grittier side of the medieval period. There was going to be kidnapping and betrayal, sickness, and trust and confusion, and pillaging, and more.

And you know what? It was still full of love, and romance. Because that’s what life is. No matter what people and life throws at you, there’s always the opportunity to find warmth and love.

That’s what I wrote. And you can read it here. 

 

(ps. my latest Regency romance is on pre-order! You should totally grab it now.)

medieval romance novels

My favourite medieval romance novels

As well as being an author, I am of course a reader! There are so many incredible medieval romance novels out there and there is no better time than to start exploring this fascinating and romantic period of history than right now.

Whether you’ve read these before and want to relive them, or you’re about to dive into medieval romance novels for the first time, let me know your thoughts in the comments below! (And if you want to read them, just click on the cover image.)

 The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick

This was one of the very first medieval romance novels that I ever read, and it’s not too much of a stretch of the imagination to say that this book is one of the reasons that I became an author in the first place! I loved delving into one person’s life, covering not just years but decades, and it was made all the more incredible by the fact that this was a real person that actually lived. It is why I have always included real historical personalities in my medieval romance saga.

 The Thief’s Countess by Cecelia Mecca

There has to be a book from Cecelia Mecca on any list of best medieval romances – not just because she writes of a fascinating part of history, and her stories are well blended with historical accuracy and searing passion, but also because she’s one of my author friends! The border between England and Scotland was contested and fought over for centuries, and this series follows some of the families and characters who made it their battleground – and their bedroom!

Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King

One of my favourite historical characters is actually one that you rarely hear about, let alone read about: Margaret of Scotland. Born into the last Anglo-Saxon royal family, her brother Edgar was never able to successfully claim the throne from William the Conqueror, and that’s all most people know. But Margaret was determined to be someone, and you know what? As with all determined women, she made it. This glorious book follows her life in a thrilling way, and I highly recommend it.

So Speaks the Heart by Johanna Lindsey

If you discovered medieval romance novels in the 1980s and 1990s, then it’s likely that you’ve already read a fair bit of Johanna Lindsey! Her wide sweeping sagas were written in a very similar style, packed full of castles, forests, betrayal, and of course, rather sexy noblemen just waiting to carry off the heroines. In our post-#MeToo world some of these scenes may be a little triggering for some people, but if you like a little roughness with your hero, then this is the book for you.

The Merlin Trilogy by Mary Stewart

Another favourite from my teenage years, the original trilogy follows the Arthurian legend from Merlin’s perspective, a completely unique approach that has made Mary Stewart an absolute legend. She eventually added two books to the series, making this boxset on that you can lose yourself in for weeks on end, as you will be forced to read and re-read it to spot the clues that she leaves in earlier books…

Falling for the Highlander by Emma Prince

Another one of my author friends! If you like a little time travel mixed with your medieval romance novels then this is the one for you. Emma joined up with two other medieval romance authors to create a trilogy based on a trio of modern day sisters who fall through time – and the highlanders that they meet, fight against, and of course, fall in love with in the fourteenth century. Each book can be read on its own, or you can read all three to get a wonderful insight into the Sutton sisters.

The Conquered Hearts Series by…me!

No list of great medieval romance novels could possibly be complete without my own! I know that sounds a little selfish, but I am genuinely proud of the first series that I wrote, and even though I’m now publishing my fourth series, this one has a very special place in my heart. It follows two women, a mother and a daughter, just after the Norman Conquest and includes kidnapping, marriage of convenience, and betrayal across two countries.

Read them all on an Amazon Fire Kindle!

I love paperbacks, but sometimes the convenience of a Kindle is just too much to ignore – and this one can be packed with loads of useful apps, and even has Alexa integrated inside it. We may not have servants today like medieval noblemen did, but wouldn’t want to have their own servant now? Click on the image to treat yourself to your own Fire (go on, you know you deserve it!).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Those of you who know me may be a little surprised at this blog post – after all, I’m not American but a Brit!

However, I think it’s important to take the time to be grateful for the awesome things in your life, and although I probably shouldn’t need a day literally entitled ‘Thanksgiving’ to do so, it’s remarkable how it focuses the mind.

So without further ado, here is my list of things that I am thankful for right now:

  • my wonderful family – husband, parents, brother, and incredibly large extended family. What would I do without you all?
  • my marvellous readers – without you, my books are just words on a page! You bring them to life when you read them.
  • my computer – still up and running, helping me to craft my historical romances with very few crashes!
  • my day job – not only does it pay the bills, but I can do so while enjoying it and surrounded by fab people.
  • the internet – it may be sad in places, but the research ability it gives me from my armchair is just incredible!
  • cheese and chocolate – my writing reward foods that help me push through difficult chapters when I’m feeling uninspired.
  • my editor, formatter, and cover designers – I don’t know where I’d be without them!
  • Netflix – the ultimate reward after a long day of keyboard bashing.

Do we have some of the same things on our list? Let me know yours in the comments below!