Aug 26

Hey 19

suffragette3useNo, not the Steely Dan tune. I’m talking about the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. Today marks the 94th anniversary of the passage of the amendment that enfranchised women with the same rights and responsibilities of citizenship previously afforded only to men.

Prior to that, it didn’t matter if a man was illiterate, had been in prison, or was the town drunk. He could vote. A woman, no matter who she was, could not. It was generally viewed that the only “true” woman was a pious, submissive wife. Tell that to any heroine in a Love Historicals romance and see how well that goes. It didn’t go over very well in 1847 at a meeting of abolitionists – mostly women – who met in Seneca Falls, NY at the invitation of Elizabeth Cady Stanton to discuss women’s rights. The ball was rolling.

During the Civil War the movement lost momentum. Women’s rights advocates like Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were deeply disappointed when, in 1868, the 14th Amendment passed making African American men citizens, while women were still deprived of citizenship. With the proposal of the 15th Amendment giving African American men the right to vote, they saw their chance to push lawmakers to establish universal suffrage. Advocates fell into two factions. One was against the 15th Amendment, the other was for it. The 15th Amendment was passed in 1870, but women still had a long way to go.

In 1890 the two factions merged into one group. The ball picked up speed with a new approach. Now, instead of arguing that women deserved the same rights as men because they were “created equal”, they argued that women deserved the right to vote because they were different from men and they could use their domesticity as a virtue to create a more maternal commonwealth. In 1916 they began a blitz campaign to mobilize state and local suffragist groups, while a more radial faction organized hunger strikes and White House pickets.

World War I slowed the campaign, but women’s work on behalf of the war effort helped drive home the point that women were just as patriotic and deserving of citizenship as men. Apparently, it worked, because the federal women’s suffrage amendment was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate in 1919, 41 years after it was written by Susan B. Anthony and sent to the states for ratification.

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution passed by only one vote. Tennessee, the 39th state to ratify the Amendment, passed it when a young legislator changed his vote to “yes” after receiving a letter from his mother telling him to “do the right thing”. I’m just guessing, but do you think Mama was a suffragist? Anyway, on Aug. 26, 1920 the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was signed into law.

Anti-suffragist cartoons of the day, such as the one shown here, pictured suffragists as embittered old maids or cigar-chomping transvestites. The humor was cruel and uninformed. The women who advocated and fought for the right to become citizens and to vote were true heroines. They were part of a sisterhood of like minds and hearts whose monumental undertaking was filled with risk and possibilities.

Here are few interesting and maybe little known facts about the women’s suffrage movement.

  • Many early suffrage supporters, Susan B. Anthony included, remained single throughout their lives because, in the early 1800s, married women could not own property in their own right and could not make legal contracts on their own behalf.
  • In most states in the early 1800s women could not have custody of their own children. According to state laws, children belonged to the husband. It wasn’t until the 1840s that women began to organize to obtain legal rights and gradually the laws changed so that women could own property in their own right after marriage and obtain custody of their own children.
  • In the U.S. supporters of the women’s movement were called suffragists. In Britain, militant supporters called themselves suffragettes. When the American press or anyone opposed to women’s suffrage called an American woman a suffragette, it was intended to be derogatory.
  • A white rose came to symbolize the pro-Suffragists and a red rose signified the anti-Suffragists.
  • American women who were jailed for demonstrating for the right to vote were force fed in prison when they went on hunger strikes.
  • Susan B. Anthony voted illegally in the November 1872 election and was arrested for it.
  • Women were the first protest group in US history to picket the White House. They were called the Silent Sentries because they just stood there without saying a word.
  • 2 out of every 3 women failed to vote in the 1920 election.

I write about larger-than-life heroines, the courageous and spirited ones. The ones who won’t take no for an answer and who don’t take adversity lying down. The ones who know what they want and how to get it. Wait a minute! That sounds like Philadelphia (Del) Stratton, the suffragist heroine in my upcoming Native American historical romance.

BENEATH AN IRON SKY is the story of two young people, Del Stratton and Crow Eagle, a Lakota boy, who meet under extreme circumstances only to be forced apart. Years later they are reunited when Del’s fight for women’s suffrage takes her to South Dakota on the verge of statehood. There, Crow Eagle, now a strong warrior, is fighting the U.S. Cavalry to retain his people’s way of life through the Ghost Dance movement. And a forbidden love that will not be denied slowly winds its way toward a little creek called Wounded Knee.

BENEATH AN IRON SKY is due for release in 2015.

Jul 28

Invitation To Passion – Release Day

InvitationToPassion-1400x2100Invitation To Passion is book #3 in my Invitation To series and pairs Richard Craven, twin brother of Anthony Craven, Earl of Wickham in Invitation To Ruin, (Book#1), with Madeline Knight, Rufus Knight, Lord Strathmore, the hero in Invitation to Scandal’s, younger sister. Pair is actually too tame a word. Richard and Maddy are best friends, unusual in the Regency era, however, they are caught in a compromising situation and find themselves suddenly facing the consequences.Unfortunately, Richard falls into and out of relationships very quickly. He’s never sure whether he’s in love or not. He freely admits he loves women, and usually only engages in one relationship at a time. Now that he has to marry his best-friend, how will he know if the feelings he’s developing for Maddy will last? He doesn’t want to hurt her.

Here’s the blurb:

Consummate rake, Lord Richard Craven, has his heartbroken when the woman he loves is forced into an arranged marriage to a violent brute. To make matters worse, circumstances force him to marry Lady Madeline Knight—a woman he views more like a sister-only for fate to play the cruelest of tricks. Shortly after his wedding his former lover is widowed, and Richard learns she could be pregnant with his child.

Madeline Knight thought she was doing the right thing when she saved Richard Craven from his lover’s irate husband. Now her silly schoolgirl crush has left her married to a man who’s in love with another woman. Consumed with guilt over trapping Richard, she tries her best to be the perfect wife and win his heart. Failure is not an option. For if she fails she loses everything, she loves him too much not to set him free…

While Richard and Madeline confront the reality of their marriage, Madeline’s life comes under threat. A family enemy is set on revenge. Will Richard learn the truth of his heart, and what is truly precious to him, before the unknown enemy destroys their world?

Here is a snippet from Invitation To Passion – July 2014.

Richard tiptoed nearer in order to remove the book. As he picked it up off the sheets he noted a dark mark on the whiteness of Maddy’s neck. He leaned in closer until her scent filled his nostrils, and the book in his hand was forgotten when he saw more black marks—bruises. It looked as though someone had accosted his wife and tried to choke her!

Fury erupted, quickly followed by guilt. He dropped the book and it slammed loudly onto the floor, instantly waking Maddy. She sat bolt upright; the look in her eyes flayed him. It was intense fear…

He’d left her alone at a ball. In his defense, he’d thought his brother would have seen to her safety. Once he’d dealt with whoever had accosted her, Anthony was in for a thrashing too.

“What happened?” His anger and guilt made the words come out more harshly than he’d meant. How could he have let this happen?

She struggled to sit up, swiping her tangled tresses off her face. “Richard? You’re home. What time is it?”

“It’s late, or early depending on how you look at it.” He sat down on the bed next to her and ran a finger over the bruising on her neck. “Who did this to you?” his voice was rough with emotion. He’d kill the man who’d touched her…

A look of hurt flashed in her eyes. “You never returned.”

He swallowed back his guilt and deflected her statement. “Who was it, Maddy? I will have their name.”

“There is no need. The perpetrator was dealt with.”

“If you won’t tell me, I shall get the name from Anthony.”

“Anthony knows nothing.”

“I know you’re angry at me, Mads, but I can’t let this assault on your person go unpunished.”

“But you can leave me to the viciousness of the ton, whose derision, I have to say, was worse than the few bruises on my neck.”

“Please, Maddy. You promised no lies.”

“I haven’t lied. I simply haven’t answered your question. Just like you haven’t told me where you’ve been for the last four hours, or what was so important that you left me for so long at the mercy of the ton.” She leaned forward and sniffed. “Although from the scent clinging to you, I know very well who you’ve been with.”

“Well, that’s more than I can say. Who did this to you?” he fairly yelled, his guilt feeding his anger.

“My, it’s as if you really care.”

He grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her to him. “Christ, Maddy. Someone hurt you. Of course I care.”

She clung to him, a sob escaping. “But not enough to pick me over her.”

He stiffened. He pushed her gently away from his body. “I will always pick you over Sarah. You’re my wife. God damn it, I gave you my word. I thought you knew me better.”

“Then how could you leave me there? You should have left her with Stephen and returned to the ball. I waited.” He hung his head. “You knew how important this night was to me. To us…” She wiped the tears from her face with an angry swipe. “Tell me that?”

She was right. He had made that promise and he knew he wanted her to tell him truthfully who had dared to lay a hand on her. Why should she not expect the same from him?

“Sarah was so upset I worried for her health and that of the babe. I stayed until she calmed down.” He hurried on when her eyes widened. “I didn’t know what else to do. But I shouldn’t have left you alone.” He pulled her back into his arms and hugged her closely. “If anything had happened to you…”

“I needed you too. I was so scared.”

“Then imagine how scared Sarah is? Timothy Chesterton is a cold hearted bastard.” He felt Maddy jerk in his arms. “Timothy is not pleased about her condition. If the child is a boy, Timothy will no longer inherit the title or the wealth.”

“I can certainly believe that Timothy is capable of hurting Sarah and the child she carries.”

“The man who gains from Charles’s death is Timothy. He is the likely culprit.” He stroked her hair, the silky feel, along with the softness of her body vanquished his exhaustion, and he felt his groin stir. “But I’m more concerned about who dared manhandle you. I will have his name…”

She hugged him tighter. “Timothy Chesterton.”

He closed his eyes and drew in a breath, trying to control his rage and fear. “Christ. What were you doing alone with him?” Chesterton could be on to them. Was this a warning? He hugged her tighter, desperate to protect her.

Reviews are already flowing in:

Book Obsessed Chicks 5/5 stars

INVITATION TO PASSION by Bronwen Evans is a face-paced thrill of a ride. Lord Richard Craven has been put on on a pedestal by the naive Madeline from a young age, but with age,comes wisdom. Although a rake, Richard is a good man, who promises to never intentionally hurt his Maddy, but intentions fall short sometimes. The couple must work through their issues, if only outside forces weren’t always against them. This third installment of the INVITATION TO series is a strong story with passionate budding romance. Bronwen Evans has cemented her place as one of my favorite authors and I eagerly await each and every word she puts to pen. I strongly recommend INVITATION TO PASSION as it is a wonderful book.

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Jul 27

Tempted by His Touch: LIMITED EDITION BOXED SET $0.99

TemptedByHisTouch3D300x300Tempted by His Touch: LIMITED EDITION BOXED SET of Dukes, Rogues, and Alpha Heroes Historical Romance Novels.

A boxed set with ten sizzling historical romances from ten bestselling historical romance authors. Fall in love with fabulous tales of intrigue, suspense, wit, and passion featuring dukes, rogues, alpha heroes…and the women who can’t resist them. JUST 99 CENTS from July 27 – Sept. 21—then it disappears FOREVER!

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the size of the file, Amazon is currently not allowing us to price at 99c – we suggest you notify them of a price cheaper elsewhere.

PLUS – we’re running a blog tour and contest for the duration. Win an iPad Mini 16GB and books galore – ends 21 September 2014.

Excerpt from Bronwen Evans’s “To Dare The Duke of Dangerfield” one of the ten stories in the boxed set.

Set up: Their first meeting

“I’m not here for your amusement, sir,” Caitlin turned with as much refinement as her trousers would allow.

Harlow moved to stand directly in front of her with the languid grace of a large panther. Dark and dangerous. “Mores the pity.”

“If you’ll step back, I’d like to mount my horse.”

“I know what I’d like to mount,” she heard him say under his breath. A scandalous utterance that she wisely chose to ignore.

About “To Dare The Duke of Dangerfield”

Harlow Telford, the Duke of Dangerfield, is amused by his hellion neighbor, Lady Caitlin Southall. When she bursts into one of his private gatherings, he mistakes her for the entertainment. Her slap across his face sets him straight and raises the absurd desire to seduce the unconventional beauty into his bed. When she issues her daft challenge to win back her father’s pile of rubble, the terms are set. And he’ll do anything to win–except fall in love…

Book 1 in the Wicked Wagers series

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The tour schedule can also be found here.

Ten stories in one box set.

Scoundrel Ever After by Darcy Burke - Once upon a time there was a very bad boy who met a very nice girl….

Lady of Pleasure by Delilah Marvelle – Educating a man in the art of love takes time. Lots of it.

Sonata for a Scoundrel by Anthea Lawson - Passion and secrets simmer against the glittering backdrop of 19th century musical celebrity.

To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield by Bronwen Evans – What’s a lady to do when a notorious rake wins her estate in a game of cards?

Undone by Lila DiPasqua – One steamy, emotionally charged retelling of Rapunzel…Rescuing this beauty from the ‘tower’ is only the beginning…

The Problem with Seduction by Emma Locke - Elizabeth Spencer needs a man. She doesn’t need to like him—because while she needs a man, she doesn’t particularly want one.

A Dangerous Invitation by Erica Monroe – Daniel O’Reilly returns to win back Kate Morgan’s heart and prove he’s innocent of murder.

Once Upon a Duke by Eva Devon – A widow looking to get seduced. A duke more than willing to oblige.

Great & Unfortunate Desires by Gina Danna - A marquis with a guilty past takes a bride in a world where love is fatal.

Dark Surrender By Erica Ridley – Trapped in darkness…. Their passion burns bright!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Jul 18

Tempted By His Touch – Cover Reveal 99c Box Set

Coming July 27, 2014: TEMPTED BY HIS TOUCH

A boxed set of ten scorching hot historical romances featuring dukes, rogues, and alpha heroes and the women who can’t resist them. Fall in love with tales of intrigue, suspense, wit, and passion.

For a limited time (July 27-Sept. 21), you can purchase TEMPTED BY HIS TOUCH for just 99 CENTS. That’s a savings of almost $35! That’s at least a week’s worth of coffee! Or a really nice bottle of wine!

We’re so excited to reveal the cover of TEMPTED BY HIS TOUCH here at Love Historicals! Without further fuss . . . ta da!!

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And now to tempt you with the books included in Tempted by His Touch . . .

Sonata for a Scoundrel

By Anthea Lawson, RITA-nominated author

Clara Becker is a supremely gifted composer—a talent of little to no use to a woman in 1830s Europe. Her compositions are only worth something when published under her brother’s name, yet this deception barely enables them to scrape out a living in the poorest quarter of London. When Darien Reynard, the most celebrated musician in Europe, comes across Becker’s compositions, he knows this music will secure his place in history. Darien invites the composer to tour with him, but must agree to a most unusual demand—that he bring along his sister . . .

 

Scoundrel Ever After

By Darcy Burke

When wallflower Audrey Cheswick runs away with England’s most wanted criminal, she learns adventure comes with a price—not just her reputation or her virtue, but her heart. If Ethan Jagger can escape the hangman’s noose and start anew, will she consent to love a scoundrel ever after?

 

Once Upon a Duke

By Eva Devon

Everything is going swimmingly for Kathryn Darrell. She’s got an annuity of a hundred thousand a year, her lecherous-heart breaking husband has had the good graces to pop off, and best of all, she has her freedom—something she has every intention of reveling in to the fullest. And who better to revel with than Ryder Blake, the infamous Duke of Darkwell?

 

Dark Surrender

By Erica Ridley

Violet Whitechapel committed an unspeakable crime to save a child. To escape the hangman’s noose, she takes refuge in a crumbling abbey with secrets darker than her own. But when those secrets begin to unravel, none of the abbey’s residents will be able to remain hidden . . .

 

Undone

By Lila DiPasqua

One sinfully seductive hero on a dangerous mission. One mysterious beauty intent on guarding her secrets. One steamy, emotionally charged historical romance from the acclaimed Fiery Tales Series…Inspired by Rapunzel…Rescuing this beauty from the ‘tower’ is only the beginning…

 

To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield

By Bronwen Evans, USA Today Bestselling Author

Harlow Telford, the Duke of Dangerfield, is amused by his hellion neighbor, Lady Caitlin Southall. When she bursts into one of his private gatherings, he mistakes her for the entertainment. Her slap across his face sets him straight and raises the absurd desire to seduce the unconventional beauty into his bed. When she issues her daft challenge to win back her father’s pile of rubble, the terms are set. And he’ll do anything to win–except fall in love…

 

The Problem with Seduction

By Emma Locke

Elizabeth Spencer needs a man, one who won’t be too picky about his reputation. Lord Constantine Alexander can’t afford another trip to debtors’ prison, which makes him the perfect candidate. She doesn’t expect him to have a heart of gold, nor does she expect to find him irresistible—because while she needs a man, she doesn’t particularly want one.

 

A Dangerous Invitation

By Erica Monroe

Struggling to survive in London’s dangerous rookeries, Kate Morgan is determined not to give into the temptation of past love Daniel O’Reilly when he returns to win back her heart and prove he’s innocent of murder.

 

Great & Unfortunate Desires – NEVER BEFORE RELEASED!

By Gina Danna

Tristan, the Marquis of Wrenworth and British spy, must marry but he’s haunted by guilt of war. Lady Evelyn Hurstine’s past makes her fear men but for Tristan, she’s willing to overcome her fear. Caught in a world of intrigue and mayhem, can they find love before the traitor destroys them both?

 

Lady of Pleasure

By Delilah Marvelle, RT Award-winning Author

Lady Caroline Arabella Starling has been in love with her older brother’s best friend, Caldwell, since she was thirteen. Unfortunately, too many things keep getting in the way of proving her love. Her four younger sisters, her mother, her brother, all of society and the man she loves himself. But where there is a will, there is a way, and Caroline is about to redefine not only respectability but true love.

 

Because TEMPTED BY HIS TOUCH features dukes, rogues, and alpha heroes, which do you prefer? Or is your ideal guy not on that list? Tell us in the comments!

 

Be sure to join us July 27-August 2 for a release extravaganza! Details will be posted on our Facebook page, where we’re hosting a party with fabulous teasers, giveaways, and most of all: FUN – Wednesday, July 30, 6-11 pm Eastern.

Jun 24

Midsummer or St. John’s Day – a solstice tradition

bonfire

A Midsummer bonfire, courtesy of Janne Kareste, Wikimedia Commons

June 21 – 25 marks the period over which Europeans traditionally celebrated the summer solstice. (In the southern hemisphere, it is aptly known as Midwinter.) Pre-christian cultures marked the longest day of the year, the astronomical summer solstice, with bonfires lighted at dusk the night before to frighten off evil spirits free to roam as the sun changed its trajectory to the south. In some cultures, the bonfires drove away dragons.

Healing plants such as St. John’s wort and calendula were collected at Midsummer, when they happened to be blooming. Speaking of St. John, the Christian church integrated the traditional festival into its calendar by creating St. John’s Day. John the Baptist’s birthday conveniently overlapped the Midsummer period, so converts could continue with their annual celebration with the approval of their new religion.

As a writer of romance set in medieval times, I like to imagine festival nights, with their fires surrounded by people who probably spent 360 nights of the year huddled in their homes, worried about wild animals and spirits. Imagine the gathering of a small community able to socialize and party the night away in a brief respite from their endless, somewhat solitary days of subsistence farming. I’d guess that most crops were planted and sprouting, animals were having babies, and the hens were laying. June was a time of hope, and a few months of plenty lay before them. No wonder they felt festive!

Even though the United States has few Midsummer celebrations, we’ve found other ways to pepper our calendar with holidays, such as Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day, to commemorate important people or events, and to continue what seems to be a human need to gather and whoop it up every few months. These occasions give us a sense of community; a release from our workaday trials; and orient us in our lives, year to year, decade by decade.

Redeemed by Jill Hughey

Redeemed by Jill Hughey

I don’t include the Midsummer festival in many of my historical romances because aristocratic men were away with the army during June, and what fun is a romance when the half the pair is gone? One such man, Doeg of Bavaria, is the tortured hero of my book Redeemed, on sale for a short time for 99 cents! Doeg is the villain in the first book of the Evolution Series. The quiet widow he weds slowly penetrates the emotional armor he carries after an abusive, isolated childhood.

Here is an excerpt of what Doeg experiences from the one message he receives from his wife during their summer separation.

Today’s letter still lay in his hands, unopened. As unsatisfying as it would probably be, it was still news. He sighed as he set aside his spata so he could slip the string off the roll of road-worn parchment. He scanned Guy’s familiar writing. Crops, debt, leaking roofs, Philantha says. Wait. He rose to walk away, putting his back to the group of laughing friends behind him so they would not see his trembling hands.

Philantha says to tell you she is with child. She knows you understand her joy. She anticipates your return.

He went to his knees in the dust as he read the three sentences again. He did understand her joy! Even with all the leagues between them, he understood! A vision flashed brilliantly into his mind of his beloved’s face shining like the sun with The Smile. His heart pounded in his chest as he stared at the parchment, reading the words over and over as this moment of euphoria seared itself into his heart.

Strong hands grabbed his shoulders. “Doeg,” David said urgently as he squatted in front of Doeg. “What is it? What has happened?”

Doeg began to laugh so he wouldn’t cry. “She is pregnant,” he explained. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I am going to be a father. Me! Did you ever imagine such a thing could happen?” He waved the parchment at David’s nose. “Did you?”

David dragged him to his feet to clasp him in a painful hug. “Of course I did, you old dog.” They pulled apart to share a look of past pain and future hope. “Do you want them to know?” David asked, indicating with a tilt of his head the curious group of onlookers behind Doeg.

Doeg shouted with laughter. “I want the whole world to know. I am going to be a father!” he bellowed. Men came from all directions to congratulate him and clap him on the back and share in his exultation. The wonder of the whole night occurred to him later. He, the formerly crippled and unworthy Bavarian, had happy news and friends who were genuinely delighted for him and who sat up most of the night drinking with him and giving him advice about being the husband of a pregnant woman and then, a father!

He sent a return message the next day. “Tell Philantha I am pleased by her news as is the whole of the Empire’s army. I will return home as quickly as I can.”

Though this is good news, the challenges Doeg and Philantha face are far from over. Redeemed can be found at most online vendors. Check the price before you click to make sure the change from $3.99 to $.99 has been made.

Amazon Any region – http://viewbook.at/Redeemed

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/redeemed-jill-hughey/1109753932?ean=2940014366120

KOBO http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/redeemed-11

Apple https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/redeemed/id537392586?mt=11

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164695

 

For more information about Jill Hughey and her books, visit her page right here at Love Historicals.jill hughey

Jun 10

Louisiana For A Song

Tainted Love by Nancy Morse

Tainted Love by Nancy Morse

“Let the Land rejoice, for you have bought Louisiana for a song.”
Gen. Horatio Gates to President Thomas Jefferson

He was referring, of course, to the sweetest land deal of the millennium when the United States signed the Louisiana Purchase Treaty in Paris, acquiring 828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi for roughly 4 cents per acre. The American negotiators were authorized to pay France up to $10 million for the port of New Orleans and the Floridas, but when they were offered the entire territory of Louisiana—an area bigger than Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal combined—at $15 million, they jumped at it.

But not everyone was happy about it. The Spaniards were outraged, having held Louisiana for two generations only to have it sold out from under them. The saucy-tempered Creoles of French-Spanish blood were offended by the influx of brash Americans into their territory. And admitting a new slave territory to the delicate balance established in the country touched off anger from the Americans, some of whom thought slavery immoral and those who thought there were already too many black people in North America.

TAINTED LOVE, Book 2 of my Soul Searchers paranormal series, is set against the backdrop of the Louisiana Purchase. Into this hotbed of hostilities and the sultry air of New Orleans comes Prudence Hightower.

As a fledgling vampire Pru feels her humanity slowly slipping away. The only thing that can save her is love. Not the tainted love offered by Nicholas, her vampire lover from BLOOD RHAPSODY, Book I in the Soul Searchers Series, but the love of a mortal man—the pirate Stede Bonham. But Stede’s happy-go-lucky nature hides a secret that threatens to destroy Pru’s faith in love as surely as her mortality was destroyed by Nicholas. As the French tricolor is lowered and the red-white-and-blue is raised and tempers flare between old world Creoles and fortune-seeking Americans, Pru’s path crosses with an ancient witch inhabiting the body of a powerful voodoo queen. Can Pru trick the witch into chanting the spell that will restore her mortal soul? Will a voodoo love potion win Stede’s love? From the mud-filled streets of New Orleans, to the steamy bayou throbbing with voodoo drums, to the pirate stronghold of Barataria, Pru follows a tempestuous path into the heart of darkness and a love-hate relationship with the vampire who will never let her go.

Here’s an excerpt from TAINTED LOVE.

“I knew you would come.”

His voice, that sweet, spellbinding voice, though barely a whisper, was filled with the arrogance that was so much a part of him. All the old feelings of contempt and disdain came rushing back to her.

“How did you know I was in New Orleans?” she asked, not bothering to hide her scorn.

“I merely followed the trail of bloodless corpses.” He rose, removed the instrument from its endpin, and placed it carefully in its velvet-lined case. “I must say, Prudence, you’re not very neat about it, are you?”

She turned her face away from those green eyes that glowed out of the darkness like emerald beacons and held the power to mesmerize, and said flippantly, “I am what you made me.”

“I didn’t make you to be so sloppy about it.”

“I’m not here to discuss my feeding habits with you.”

“Why are you here?”

“I want to know why you followed me to America.”

“Oh, now Prudence, self-flattery is so unbecoming.”

She detested that mocking tone. “All right, if you didn’t follow me, what are you doing here?”

“I’ve been here quite often these past few decades. The Americans were fighting their war for independence, or perhaps you were too busy cavorting about the globe to notice. The pickings were wonderful. Who was to notice another dead colonial when they were all over the place anyway? And, of course, there were all those redcoats running around. I do so love the taste of English blood.”

He said this with a devious smile that would have made the color drain from her face were she not already so pale. “You’ll never have a taste of my English blood again,” she spat.

“Again you flatter yourself. What makes you think I want it?”

“Because I recognize that look in your eyes.”

He floated toward her. “Yes,” he said, looking strongly into her eyes, “I do hunger for you. That much has not changed in all these years. When I saw you in Paris, looking so beautiful beneath the lamplight, I had all I could do to restrain myself. Everything about you thrills me. Even your disdain for me. It used to be your innocence that I found so compelling. Now it is your self-assuredness, your pluck, your treachery that draws me to you.”

“Do you forget that I tried to kill you for what you did to me?”

“That’s something one does not forget.”

“Or that I would try again?”

“Even that does not deter me. You are my creation, Prudence. You are mine.”

“I will never be yours.”

“And if I were to take you right here and now on the floor the way we did it in the garret room in my house in Hanover Square?”

The heat rose to her face, flushing it with momentary color before receding and returning it to its deathlike pallor.

“There is my answer,” he said arrogantly.

Her guard went up against the danger of his kiss and the threat of what his touch could do to her. She stiffened and turned quickly away. “Don’t touch me.”

“What will your pirate think, I wonder, when he finds out you are not as innocent as you appear?”

Pru gasped. She whirled back around and came forward in a rush, and in a voice angry and threatening, she warned, “Stay away from him.”

“Pirate’s blood doesn’t interest me,” he scoffed. “Not when there is so much sweeter Creole blood around for the taking. But what about you, Prudence? Are you so sure you can resist the temptation to drink from your pirate’s throat?”

“I wouldn’t do that.”

“Of course not,” he said, amused. “You will fornicate with him first. Well, that’s understandable. I would be a fool to think you would remain celibate forever.”

“I’ll do more than that with him.” Her voice held a hint of dangerous expectation.

He raised a dark, questioning brow, but even he was not prepared for her answer.

“I will fall in love with him.”

A familiar look flashed through his eyes, not of petulant danger, but of a wounded animal. It was the kind of distressed confusion she’d seen before, reminding her that beneath the impenetrable exterior of the vampire lurked a human vulnerability.

He turned his face aside to hide it. “Why would you want to fall in love with a common pirate?”

“He is easy to fall in love with. He is kind and gentle and generous. He has an agreeable nature. And he is oh so good looking.”

“Enough!”

“You asked.”

“What will it be like for you, watching him grow old and die? That’s what will happen, you know. There can never be any future for you with him, or with any mortal man.”

“Future?” she cried. “What future is there for me now? You robbed me of whatever future I might have had. I might have married. I might have had children. A family of my own. Now there is nothing for me.”

He reached for her in a swift, undetectable motion and pulled her hard against him. “There is me. There will always be me.”

He brought his mouth down on hers in a kiss that defied all logic, reminding her with the power of his lips the undeniable fact that they were alike. The same bloodlust drove them. The same hunger for carnal pleasure.

She pulled her mouth from his. “Let go of me!” Pushing herself away with a mighty shove, she backed away from him and started for the door. “I’m tired of hating you.”

He moved silently and swiftly to block her path. “Then stop.”

“I have no reason to stop. I am reminded of how much I hate you every time I see a happy couple walking arm in arm, every time the grit of soil disturbs my sleep, every time I am unable to preen before a mirror as all women like to do because there is no reflection.”

She paused with her hands on the French doors and looked at him. He stood there looking dejected, his mouth sulky, his eyes concealed beneath a sweep of dark lashes. But she knew him well enough to know there was much more going on inside of him. He was hurt. But she refused to be swayed by the pain she saw in his eyes. He was, after all, such a clever manipulator.

Pushing past the telltale weakness, she hissed, “I shall hate you until the day I die. Oh, that’s right, I can’t die, can I?”

 

TAINTED LOVE is available at these e-tailers:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/442532

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KMD5CDU

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tainted-love/id883841216?mt=11&uo=4

Nook http://tinyurl.com/kxenlme

 

 

Jun 06

Latest Release: An Intriguing Proposition & Other News

Latest News:

1) I’m no longer published by Cat Whisker Press.

2) My new publisher is called ePublishing Works!

3) They recovered all my books. Here are the before-and-after digital covers:

An Improper Situation by Sydney Jane BailyAn Improper Situation by Sydney Jane Baily

 

 

web-cover_small An Irresistible Temptation by Sydney Jane Baily

 

inescapable attraction An Inescapable Attraction by Sydney Jane Baily

The new covers are brighter and the titles are definitely easier to read.

4) EPW has just released my latest book, a novella (25,000 words), called An Intriguing Proposition. It’s the prequel to the Defiant Heart Series as these books are now called:

An Intriguing Proposition by Sydney Jane BailySynopsis:

Following her father’s untimely death, eldest daughter Elise Malloy discovers that the family home is collateral for a mysterious loan. With no record of payments made from her father’s accounts, whoever was paying the bank has now stopped, and foreclosure is imminent.

Desperate to keep the news from her grieving, funds-starved family, Elise answers the bank summons and faces Michael Bradley, an old flame who still owns her heart. When Michael extends an unseemly dinner invitation, Elise invents a nameless suitor as an excuse. Now, to save face, she must produce him.

Jonathan Amory, Esquire, seems the perfect choice, until her long-desired relationship with Michael unexpectedly catches fire, and Jonathan makes it clear he will stop at nothing to destroy her family and lock her into a loveless marriage.

An Intriguing Proposition is available at Amazon.com and other fine ebook retailers.

REVIEW:
“…a glittering tale of star-crossed lovers, threatened by a web of lies… a great new book in a new series.”
~Adrienne deWolfe, Bestselling Author

That’s all the news for now. I’m very interested to hear if you like the new covers.

Cheers!

Sydney

 

Jun 04

Action, Adventure, and Kick-Ass Heroines Make a Great Romance

Kick-Ass Heroines|Wild Texas Nights|Western RomanceI’ll never forget the advice that bestselling authors offered me when they critiqued my first Western Romance manuscript.

“Adrienne,” they said, “you will NEVER get a bad-girl heroine published in your debut novel. Readers want nice, demure heroines whom they can relate to. Train robbers are out. Lady libertines are DEFINITELY out.”

And I thought … Hmmm.

At first blush, those bestsellers seemed to be offering sage advice.  I couldn’t find a single, kick-ass heroine in the historical romance novels that I’d been reading.

I must have watched too many John Wayne movies as a kid.  I dreamed of MY heroes and MY heroines in action-adventure tales in which they overcame impossible odds to live happily ever after.

I wanted a rollicking battle-of-the-sexes, where the woman was strong, independent, and resourceful.  I wanted to fall in love with a hero who could COMMUNICATE (not just brood and growl for 300 pages.) I insisted upon stories with a pinch of humor and plenty of witty dialogue. 

Kick-Ass Heroines|Wild Texas Nights|Western Romance

“Well, well, well,” Fancy drawled, flashing her wicked little hellcat smile.  “Marshal Rawlins, isn’t it?  I never forget a pair of chaps.”

My trademark heroine is a convention-bucking woman with an attitude.  For instance, Fancy Holliday is described in TEXAS OUTLAW as a woman who  “can charm, seduce, or just plain outsmart any lawman alive.” The book description for TEXAS WILDCAT laments, “What’s a cowboy to do with a woman who refuses to be tamed?”

In my versions of a “satisfying Romance novel,” a reader embarks on a roller-coaster ride full of emotional and physical thrills.  She gets to laugh, sigh, fall in love, cry, and then cheer some more.  Action and high adventure aren’t expected by Romance readers, so I like to think that my books developed a loyal readership because my fans want “a little bit more,” like I did when I first fell in love with Historical Romance.

By the way:  remember that bad-girl heroine whom my mentors said would never sell?

That particular manuscript was first published by Bantam Books.  It went on to become a finalist for 2 Rita Awards and 2 Readers Choice Awards.  It won the “Honey of a Heroine Award” from the West Houston Chapter of Romance Writers of America.  The Kindle version has risen to #1 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble multiple times since its release in 2012.

Here’s a sneak peak of an action-packed scene (with a wicked plot twist) from that Western Romance novel.

 

 

TEXAS OUTLAW

Book 1, Wild Texas Nights

By Adrienne deWolfe

 

Western Historical Romance, Historical Romance, Texas Romance, Wild Texas Nights, Adrienne deWolfe, Texas Lover, Texas Wildcat

Texas Outlaw by Adrienne deWolfe

Fancy spilled a tear. Cord. He had ridden out to find her. Even though she had nearly cost him his family, he had come. She didn’t understand. He must not realize how she’d betrayed him. Someday, somehow, he was sure to find out. But she would rather lose him to her lie than lose him to Diego.

She forced herself to cling to that thought, drumming it again and again through her brain. Fear for Cord was the one thing that could stave off the delirium and the fever as long as Diego held her captive with his gun.

“Your tongue is the first thing I shall cut off.” Diego’s voice was harsh and ragged in her ear as he taunted Cord. “Then I shall cut off your so-called manhood.”

“Why’s that, Santana? Are you needing one of your own?”

Diego snarled, cocking his derringer beneath her chin. Cord halted an arm’s length away. His smile was truly terrible. Fancy had never seen anything like it before. Even at Diego’s most diabolic, he had never looked so feral. So ferocious. In that moment, Cord was afraid of nothing. Not pain, not death, not Satan himself. It was the first time—and perhaps the last—that Diego had ever faced a fearless victim. She could feel Diego’s heart careening against her spine.

“So what are you going to do, Santana?” Cord taunted in a low, guttural voice. “You got one bullet. You kill her, you got me left over. And I’m your express train to hell.”

“Then die first, like the pig you are!”

Diego’s fist swung out. Cord lunged to the side, and Fancy screamed. She tried to throw herself against Diego’s arm, but the bullet found a piece of its mark, ripping into Cord’s shoulder. She nearly died to see his blood, but his charge hardly faltered. He slammed Diego into the wall, and the whole room shook.

Western Historical Romance, Americana RomanceThe grunting and cursing moved past the window. She heard the shattering of panes, the tinkling of glass. Fists and elbows flying, the combatants crashed through the door. Diego was taller, and he should have had the advantage against a wounded man. But Cord’s fists were a blur, pounding with the force of twin hammers. She saw the spray of spittle; she heard the howl as Diego lost one of his perfect teeth.

The outlaw was scrappy, though. Gouging, kicking, he jammed a palm into Cord’s nose; he clawed at the torn flesh of Cord’s shoulder. Dimly, she realized Diego was cheating—like he always did.

Suddenly, Diego reared back. He rammed his knee between Cord’s legs. Cord doubled over, staggering, and Diego wrapped his whip around Cord’s throat, sawing the rawhide into his windpipe.

“Diego, stop!” she cried.

She heard him laugh. Sadistic, gleeful, the sound made her heart freeze.

Then her mind rallied:  Cord’s gun!

Kick-Ass Heroines|Wild Texas Nights|Western Romance

Features the full-length novel, TEXAS OUTLAW.

She whirled, nearly collapsing on the spot as the walls wheeled around her. Gritting her teeth, she staggered toward the bed, where Diego had made Cord toss his six-shooter.

“I’ve waited a long time for this, Rawlins.” Diego’s taunt pierced the fever in her brain. “A long time to watch you die. A pig should not live half so long, eh?”

“No!” Fancy cried. Hold on, Cord. Please, hold on.

She crawled to her belly, sticking her head beneath the bed. She could see the Colt gleaming in a ray of sun that had filtered past the dust and the cobwebs. She stretched a hand.

“…Such a fool,” Diego was jeering. “I expected so much more from a mighty federale. To throw your life away for a common puta…”

Hold on, Cord. I almost have it. I… almost… have it!

“Diego, stop!” She hurried on shaking legs to confront the man she’d once loved. “Let him go!”

Diego sneered at her. Cord was on his knees, his veins bulging, his fingers white and straining beneath his scarlet face. He tried to rise, as he must have done countless times in the eternity that had just passed, but his strength was bleeding away. His strength and his life.

“Diego, I have a gun!”

Diego’s lip curled. “And what is that to me, eh? Your hand trembles. Your knees quake. Fire away, querida. It is the lawman you are likely to hit.”

Texas Outlaw, Texas Lover, Texas WildcatHer heart lurched. It was true. Cord was in equal danger from her bullet. Oh, God, what should I do? She bit her lip. Cord’s gaze swiveled her way. To her horror, she saw his eyes were glazing.

She clamped another fist over the gun butt and braced her back against the wall. “Don’t make me do this, Diego. Don’t make me kill you.”

“Kill me?” He laughed. “You are a frightened rabbit.”

A stiletto flashed in his hand. “And now, amigo,” he said to Cord, “it is time for adios.”

He raised the blade above Cord’s throat. The time for doubt had passed.

Taking aim, Fancy fired.


Learn more about Texas Outlaw and the Wild Texas Nights series.

Wild Texas Nights, Velvet Lies, Western Romance, Americana Romance

Jun 01

“Ne’er Cast a Clout” by Anna Markland

Yippee! It’s June!

I didn’t grow up in Scotland, but close enough to its borders that my mother was well acquainted with Scottish folklore and sayings. One of her favorites was, “Ne’er cast a clout ’til May is out.”

As a child I took this bit of folk wisdom to heart and have consistently donned winter underwear on October 1st and worn it until May 31st. No matter the weather, no matter the geography, I’ve worn my Marks and Sparks woollen vests (in the early years), graduating as I matured to sexy teddies and the like. I took the saying literally that for continued good health you needed to have an added layer against your skin until June arrived.

While writing my latest release, Sinful Passions, I was describing a dense clump of bushes as part of a scene and wanted them to be hawthorn bushes-good and prickly! I did some research to make sure the genus existed in medieval times and in the area I was talking about.

Sinful Passions by Anna Markland

Imagine my amazement when I discovered that the saying meant you shouldn’t cast off extra clothing until the MAY FLOWERS  were out. May flowers are the blossoms of the hawthorn tree.

Well!

The custom of employing the flowering branches for decorative purposes on 1 May is of very early origin; but since the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752, the tree has rarely been in full bloom in England before the second week of that month. In the Scottish Highlands the flowers may be seen as late as the middle of June. 

Since there is no hawthorn growing  in my immediate vicinity, I’ve decided to cling to the misapprehension I’ve been laboring under for decades! It’s June 1st. I’ve cast off my extra undies!

Happy summer!

 

 

 

 

May 15

Alison Stuart Asks: Why the Regency?

Greetings, everyone. Today, I welcome guest blogger, Alison Stuart, award winning author of historicals with heart and past president of the Romance Writers of Australia. We’re so glad she could join us. Without further ado, take it away, Alison:

Thank you so much for the invite to be a guest on your blog, Sydney. “Love Historicals” says it all really!

AustenlandIn the film “Austenland”, the heroine, a mousy young woman obsessed with Pride and Prejudice, and believing she will never find her “Mr. Darcy” in modern New York, spends her life savings on a trip to England and a Jane Austen theme park, Austenland. Of course all is not as she may have dreamed and Mr. Darcy may not be what she expected . . . but you need to read the book or see the film.

Having just released my first Regency romance (suspense), LORD SOMERTON’S HEIR, I have been thinking about the Regency. My previous novels have been set mostly during the English Civil War, and while I love all periods of history, there is SOMETHING about the Regency that draws readers like magnets.

I wasn’t brought up with Georgette Heyer or, I am ashamed to say, Jane Austen. My own reading taste ran to battlefields rather than drawing rooms, so I am a late comer (and a full on convert!) to the genre. Gerogette Heyer novel

In my quest to understand more about Regency Romance, I have discovered there are two distinct sub genres: TRADITIONAL and REGENCY HISTORICAL. I am probably preaching to the converted when I note Traditional Regencies are those in the tradition of Georgette Heyer, mannered romances where romance and attention to historical detail is all. Regency Historicals are everything else, including the hot and sexy.

Attention to historical detail is terribly important in whatever period you write, and small details like Christmas trees in a Regency drawing room or an English lady fussing about her pumpkins for Thanksgiving are going to be noticed by the avid reader of the genre.

So why are Regencies so popular? These are my thoughts, and I’ll find it interesting to know what others think:

• Firstly, I believe that Regency romances are, in fact, fantasies. If the real Regency England had been filled with quite so many amorous members of the aristocracy, there would have been no room for the common people, and there were common people. It was actually a time of great misery – the Napoleonic wars and the industrial revolution had a huge impact on the populace. Poverty was rife in the large, industrial cities, and changes in agricultural practice were forcing more and more people off the land and into the cities, worsening the situation. No one wants to read about that in the world of Regency romance; rather, they look for stories of big houses and beautiful people, brooding Dukes and feisty heroines.

Austenland ball• Secondly, I think it is the first accessible period of history. The clothes and the hairstyles and the way of life are understandable in a modern context. The civilising factor allowed for gracious houses and comfortable furniture. We recognise (and can transpose ourselves) into the lifestyle of the “ton”.

I had a taste of writing about the Regency period in GATHER THE BONES (which is set in 1923). I wrote the diary of a woman in 1812, and I loved the voice so much that it gave me the confidence to try my hand at a story that had been nagging at me for a long time. A “Cinderalla” story with a twist…

LORD SOMERTON’S HEIRLord Somerton's Heir by Alison Stuart

Can the love of an honourable man save her from the memory of a desolate marriage?

From the battlefield of Waterloo to the drawing rooms of Brantstone Hall, Sebastian Alder’s elevation from penniless army captain to Viscount Somerton is the stuff of dreams. But the cold reality of an inherited estate in wretched condition, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his cousin’s death, provide Sebastian with no time for dreams, only a mystery to solve and a murderer to bring to justice.

Isabel, widow of the late Lord Somerton, is desperate to bury the memory of her unhappy marriage by founding the charity school she has always dreamed of. But, her dreams are shattered, as she is taunted from the grave, discovering not only has she been left penniless, but she is once more bound to the whims of a Somerton.

But this Somerton is unlike any man she has met. Can the love of an honourable man heal her broken heart or will suspicion tear them apart?

LORD SOMERTON’S HEIR is available from AMAZON and all reputable ebook stores.

EXCERPT FROM LORD SOMERTON’S HEIR…

Brantstone Hall
December 11, 1814

The tea, in its delicate porcelain cup, sat undrunk and cold, the bread curled and dried as the little clock on the mantelpiece ticked away the minutes. Isabel sat unmoving, staring out at the winter landscape of the Brantstone Park as if she expected Anthony to come galloping down the carriage way. She knew even before Thompson knocked on the door and stood shifting from one foot to the other, his shapeless felt hat clutched in his hand, that Anthony was dead.

She followed the head groom out into the stable yard again, where a farmer’s cart now stood. She looked at the cart and with her head held high; she walked across it. Thompson interposed himself between her and the inanimate object that lay in the filthy dray.

‘Are you sure, my lady?’ he asked.

She nodded and Thompson flicked back the sacking that covered the shapeless lump in the back of the cart. Isabel stared down into her husband’s face, into his open, staring eyes, already opaque in death. Anthony lay, stiff with rigor mortis, in the filth of a cart that had last been used to shift manure, from the smell. An ignominious end to his life, she thought.

‘We found him over by Lovett’s Bridge. He’d taken the hedge intending the shortcut across the Home Farm fields,’ Thompson was saying. He jerked his head at the saddle, the beautiful, hand tooled saddle that had been tossed into the cart with its owner. ‘Looks like the girth strap broke and he came off. Broke his neck in the fall. He’d not have known anything about it, my lady.’

Aware of the anxious faces that surrounded her, Isabel swallowed. They expected her to break down. They wanted her tears but she had none to give. She had expended too many tears over Anthony, Lord Somerton, while he lived to spare any for him now that he was dead.
Her gaze rested on the saddle. It had been her gift to Anthony on his birthday only a few months earlier. Now it was the cause of his death. It stood as a symbol of everything that had gone wrong between herself and her husband.

She turned on her heel and walked back to the house with her head held high. With every step, the enormity of Anthony’s death sank in.

She was free, but at what price came that freedom?

Her back straightened and her lips tightened.

To attain freedom, first she had to find Lord Somerton’s heir.

ABOUT ALISON STUART Alison Stuart

Award winning Australian writer, Alison Stuart is a lapsed lawyer who has worked in the military and fire service. She lives with her own personal hero and two needy cats and writes cross genre historicals with heart.

To find out more about Alison and her books, connect with her at:
Website: http://www.alisonstuart.com
Blogs: www.alisonstuart.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AlisonStuartWriter
Twitter: @AlisonStuart14 https://twitter.com/AlisonStuart14

During the month of May, Alison is running a Rafflecopter contest. The prize is an author “goody pack” (including a Mr. Darcy fridge magnet!) worth well over $50. Enter by clicking HERE.

Thanks so much for visiting us, Alison.

And to our blog readers, remember that, in regards to Alison’s Rafflecopter contest, leaving a blog comment adds a point to your chances to win. Once again, here’s her Rafflecopter giveaway. Rafflecopter giveaway.

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