Sunday 31 July 2011

Redemption for the Devil

My newest release is called Redemption for the Devil and is a historical set in 1920. The hero and heroine are both Irish. One from Cork and one from Dublin. The hero is a member of the Irish Republican Army (Brotherhood) and the heroine is a feisty, brave woman that starts her life over when her father is missing and presumed dead in the Arctic Ocean.

This story was the one I wrote during my first NaNoWriMo in 2009. I wrote the first draft in 21 days. Liam, the hero, pretty much wrote the story for me. He woke me up from a sound sleep one morning in October, 2009 with these words:
"My name is Liam Cormac, and you're going to tell my story." Who could refuse that? LOL!


December, 1920: Mary Margaret Kincade, known as Peg, a devout Catholic, is the only child of an Irish adventurer presumed dead in an Arctic expedition gone awry. When her odious cousin comes to take over the family business and presumes to force Peg into marriage, she decides to make a new life in America by working her way across the ocean on a cruise liner.Liam Cormac, a Protestant member of the Irish Republican Army, fighting for freedom from English rule, signs on to the same ship with the intention of blowing it up in the middle of the ocean. Liam and Peg encounter each other in the first class passenger lounge and the attraction is mutual. When Peg is taken hostage by Liam’s partner, Liam has to make a decision about where his loyalties lie- with his country and his mission or with an Irish Catholic lass.

Buy Link:

Monday 11 July 2011

Because He needs me

Because He needs me/ Lynn Granville
A new book from a new young company
Leap of Faith publishes Lynn Granville's new book

A story of love and belief

Oh, God, she hoped he wouldn’t come over! Janni had recognized the one man she hadn’t wanted to see at this wedding. It was ages since she’d been in the same room with Nick Hamilton, and she really hadn’t given the idea that he might be here a thought, though she should have done. It couldn’t matter, of course. Whatever there had been between her and Nick had been over years ago – when he married. Not that it had ever been very much even then!
Janni had been through several love affairs since then, the latest of which had recently ended in tears and recriminations. What was wrong with her for goodness sake? Why couldn’t she find someone who really cared, someone who would give her a home and family, and love – most importantly love?
Nick was glancing her way again, obviously deciding whether or not he ought to come over and say hello. Where was his wife? Janni hadn’t noticed her – and you couldn’t miss a woman like that! Sarah was gorgeous, so it was no wonder that Nick had fallen for her hook line and sinker.
Janni glanced across the hotel’s crowded reception room at the bride and groom; she felt a pang of envy despite her satisfaction at Alice’s obvious happiness. Sheer delight seemed to shine out of her friend’s eyes, testifying to her state of mind. Janni didn’t grudge that happiness one little bit, but couldn’t help wishing that her own life was a little more settled.
Alice and Peter were the perfect pair, and Janni had introduced them nine months ago. Her own lovelife had been blossoming then, but for the past few weeks she had been nursing a bruised ego. Fortunately, it seemed that her heart was pretty resilient, which it would need to be after the way Mark had treated her recently.
Perhaps it was a combination of seeing Nick unexpectedly, and her friend’s shining happiness that made Janni feel so dejected all of a sudden. Damn Mark! He really wasn’t worth getting upset over. One day he’d been eagerly talking about buying a house together, almost the next he was announcing that he was off to America on a three-year research project.
“So what happens to us?” Janni had asked, feeling bewildered by Mark’s sudden about turn.
“It was never going to be more than a temporary arrangement,” he’d said, taking her breath away. “Nothing is forever, Janni. Besides, this is a chance I can’t miss.”
He hadn’t asked her to keep in touch, or whether she would consider giving up her job at the local hospital to go with him. She had sensed his excitement and known he wanted to be free – and that had hurt!
The sharp pain had gone now, but she was still feeling bruised. So much so that when she saw the undeniably attractive man walking towards her, she immediately hoisted her shield into place. Why had he of all people had to be here? And why must he bother to come over and say hello?
She’d had a thing for Doctor Nick Hamilton once, when they were both working at a London teaching hospital, but he’d hardly noticed her. He had fallen in love with and married a very beautiful woman, and they’d lost touch when he moved. Until now, Janni hadn’t seen him for years, but he was a friend of Peter’s, and had been invited for the wedding. It was natural, of course, and she would have realized it if she had thought about it earlier.
“They look happy don’t they?” Nick said glancing at the bride and groom. “Peter and Alice. “
Janni took a deep breath. There was no escaping it! She smiled and nodded. “Yes, I was just thinking the same thing.”
“Peter had been through a rough time before he met Alice – but you know that, of course. You introduced them, didn’t you?”
“Yes, I can claim the credit for that, but they did all the rest themselves.”
He seemed amused at her quip, and hesitated for a second or two. “I know this isn’t the right time to talk shop, but Alice tells me you are thinking of changing your job – going for something new. I wondered if you might consider working for us at the surgery as a practice nurse?”
Janni was startled. He had taken her completely by surprise and she gave no thought to her answer before replying negatively. “I am flattered that you asked,” she said. “But I am happy where I am – and I’ve never considered anything but hospital work.”
“The nurses I need never have,” Nick replied and grinned. “If they had, they probably wouldn’t be what I was looking for. Don’t make that a final no, Janni. Think about it please. If you are truly happy where you are then that’s all there is to it – but if there’s even a chance you might consider coming to us, if only for a few months, I should like to hear from you.” He took a card from his pocket and handed it to her. “I think you would be pleasantly surprised if you paid us a visit. We have all the latest equipment at the surgery. Peter has made sure of that, believe me.”
Janni's heart did a quick tango but she suppressed her foolishness.
Peter and Nick were partners in the country practice as well as friends, and Alice had burned Janni’s ears with stories of how beautiful the village was – and the surrounding countryside.
Alice had been a Theatre Sister before her marriage, but she planned on having a family almost at once. “Before my biological clock runs out,” she’d told Janni laughingly. “I’ve done my stint for the NHS – and I can always go back part time when the children are at school.”
“Yes, I imagine he would,” Janni replied with a wry look. “Alice told me Peter has to have everything just so.”
“We’re in agreement as far as that goes – which is why we both want you, Janni. Why don’t you think about it? Alice is your best friend, isn’t she? It would mean you were able to see her more often, and I understand you are having difficulties at the moment.”
“I see Alice has been telling tales out of school.” Janni frowned.
“She just told me things hadn’t gone well for you, and that you were thinking of making a change. Nothing personal,” Nick assured her. He glanced at his watch and frowned. “Anyway, it was nice speaking to you again, Janni. I must have a word with Alice and Peter before they leave. Give me a call if you are interested, won’t you?” He handed her his card.
“Yes, if I’m interested,” Janni replied, tucking his card into her pocket as he walked away. Her foolish heart was still misbehaving itself. Nick was as attractive as ever, she thought, dressed in a stylish, collarless dark blue suit that showed only a flash of white at the neck and looked as if it might be Armani. It was the kind of suit that was good on young, athletic men and she recalled that he had been keen on sport when she’d known him before. His hair was dark blond and a little longer than she normally liked on a man – but why was she letting herself think about him at all? He was married and she had no intention of getting involved again for a long, long time. Especially with a married man!
She waited until he had moved away from the bride and groom before going over. “I’ve just come to say goodbye,” she said, kissing Alice’s cheek. “You look gorgeous, love – and so does Peter.”
Alice’s white lace and tulle dress was very traditional, but she had worn flowers in her hair rather than a veil, and looked sensational. Once again, Janni felt a pang of regret. She’d been so certain she and Mark would be planning their wedding soon – but perhaps what had happened was for the best. Otherwise, they might have ended up getting a divorce before long.
“Keep your hands off, he’s mine,” Alice Lennox teased. “Have you heard anything more from Mark?”
“No, not since he walked out on me,” Janni said, avoiding Alice’s eyes. “He promised to keep paying his share of the rent until I could find a new flatmate, but I doubt if he’ll bother once he gets to the States.”
“Well, I think that’s rotten,” Alice said and her eyes flashed with anger on behalf of Janni. “He could at least have stumped up the rent until you got things settled.”
Janni pulled a wry face. She couldn’t help noticing that Nick Hamilton was no longer in the room. She wasn’t sure why, but all of a sudden Mark’s desertion no longer seemed to matter.
“Well, it just goes to show that Mum was right all along. She warned me not to move in with him. I should’ve listened.”
Alice nodded, then turned to listen to something her new husband was saying. Janni gave them both a little wave and left, keeping her smile in place until she was in the taxi taking her to catch the train back to London.
She hardly knew why she was feeling so down. She wasn’t still missing Mark, for goodness sake! And her mother had warned her at the beginning that it would end in tears.
“Move in with him and he will lose respect for you,” Mrs Ross had warned. “Yes, I know you think I’m old-fashioned and perhaps I am – but I don’t trust Mark Hatton and I never shall.”
In her heart Janni had wanted a white wedding and all the trimmings, but Mark had been adamant. He couldn’t afford to get married and he didn’t see what all the fuss was about anyway.
“Look around you,” he’d said over and over again. “How many of our friends get married these days? Most of them just move in together – and look at Jenny and Paul. They lived together for four years, perfectly happy, then she wanted to get married so Paul agreed – ten months later they’ve split.”
Janni hadn’t been able to disagree with his logic and she had thought herself in love with Mark then … but now she wasn’t sure whether it was Mark she’d loved or the man she had thought he was deep down.
Janni’s mother agreed with Alice that she ought to make a complete break, find herself a new job and a new place to live.
“It’s the only way, love,” Mrs Ross had told her. “Either that or move back home with me and take the train into work every day. And you were moaning about the high rent even when you and Mark were still together.”
“I certainly can’t afford it unless I find someone to share – and the lease comes up for renewal next month, so I shall soon have to decide whether to give the flat up or not.”
Janni didn’t particularly want to give up her job, nor did she want to move back home and commute every day.
She loved her work, enjoying every moment she spent with her patients on the postoperative ward, and counting herself privileged. People took medicine for granted these days, demanding more and more of their doctors, but Janni had never ceased to feel exhilarated and thrilled at the skill of the surgeons who performed near miracles day after day.
Yet recently the strain of working long hours, combined with a stressful home life, had begun to get her down a little. Perhaps she ought to have thought before refusing Nick Hamilton’s offer.
She remembered how attractive Nick had looked that afternoon. His smile had been warm and generous, and she had reacted instinctively out of a need to protect herself. She didn’t want to go through all that again!
Nick had been the first man to break her heart when he married someone else. Perhaps that was why Mark’s desertion had bruised her ego more than her heart – having had it broken once she was incapable of ever truly loving again.

Friday 8 July 2011

Saskia Walker - 'The Harlot'

Hi folks!

It's lovely to be here at the British Romance Fiction blog. I thought I'd post about the novels I've written (and will be writing) set in Lowlands Scotland.

My interest in Lowland's history and folklore came about when we first visited Fife back in 2003. We stayed in a fisherman's cottage in the East Neuk of Fife and the plan was to kick off work on a historical set on the coast, while Mark (my Real Life Hero) went mountain biking in the area. Success on all fronts -- Mark covered many miles and I wrote while I was there. The cottage we stayed in was right on the seafront and I made notes and sketched out several scenes for a historical novel I'd had an idea for. While we were out and about in Fife I also began to learn about the history of witchcraft and persecution in the area, and that set its own wheels in motion. When I got home I continued to read and research around the subject and daydreamed about passionate wayward men and women with secret magical skills. My imagination was well and truly sparked and now, several stories in, I'm still enjoying exploring that world!

My fictional accounts have their foundation in pagan practice, the strong belief in nature and its power. My editor has said that was what was appealing about my stories is that the magic is covert, and its pagan origins led to convincing scenarios for a paranormal erotic world -- a world that secretly existed beneath the ongoing fear and turmoil in Scotland throughout times of religious and political upheaval, the battles and subsequent union with England.

The fictional characters began to multiply in my imagination, each with their own tale to tell. First up was RAMPANT, a story that is part contemporary and part historical, following the mystery surrounding the ghost of a persecuted witch. THE HARLOT, my most recent publication, is a bawdy erotic romance set wholly in the early 1700's. My heroine, Jessie Taskill, (along with her two siblings, Maisie and Lennox) witnessed their mother's execution for witchcraft when they were children. They were subsequently separated, but their inherited and learned powers thrived in secret, and as adults they each hope to seek each other out. Next up I will be writing THE LIBERTINE (Lennox Taskill's story) and THE JEZEBEL (Maisie Taskill's story) for publication in early 2013.

Here's the official cover copy for THE HARLOT:

It is a Dark Era, one when a lusty lass will do what she must to survive. Even if it means bartering flesh for a palmful of coins…

Forced to watch her mother burned at the stake and separated from her siblings in the aftermath, Jessie Taskill is similarly gifted, ripe with a powerful magic that must stay hidden. Until one night when she's accused by a rival, and Jessie finds herself behind prison walls with a roguish priest unlike any man of the cloth she has known.

In reality, Gregor Ramsay is as far from holy as the devil himself, but his promise of freedom in return for her services may be her salvation. Locked into a dubious agreement, Jessie resents his plan to have her seduce and ruin his lifelong enemy. But toying with Gregor’s lust for her is enjoyable, and she agrees to be his pawn while secretly intending to use him just as he is using her.

If you would like to read the opening scene, (please note, explicit adult content!) you'll find it here:

Saskia Walker

Thursday 7 July 2011

Miss Mae on Sale at Smashwords!

All of my ebooks are now on sale at Smashwords! Take advantage of the site-wide summer sale, and grab your 50% savings on my best selling romantic mysteries! Coupon codes are listed on each page!

Enjoy your summer with a great read! :)

Miss Mae at Smashwords

Tuesday 5 July 2011

When should a heroine tell lies?

When is it OK for a heroine to lie?

In my latest, To Touch the Knight, my heroine, Edith, is a liar. She lies to save herself and her fellow-villagers. She makes an illusion in order to survive. Does that make her evil?

To me it does not. But heroines in romantic fiction tend to have less leeway than heroes.

Take a hero who sows his wild oats. That is seen as normal, possibly even considerate, as he will then be experienced when making love to the virginal heroine. But how many hearts has he broken on the way?

Take a hero who is driven, obsessed, vengeful. 'Yum yum!', perhaps, is the response of some romance readers. But I wonder what happens when that engine of revenge is spent. What then? And if the hero is obsessed will he not remain obsessive? That energy, once he and the heroine are together, may be diverted into other things. He will no longer be a driven lover, but what?

Can the truly vengeful have a happy ever after ending?

What of the heroine who is driven and ambitious? Why is that seen as something to be diluted in her but not in the hero?

As a romance writer, I love a happy ever after end. To ensure it I look forward into my characters' lives, projecting them far into their futures. Will they still be content in old age? Will their different characteristics still mesh?

When couples remain and stay together they tend to end any disputes with tolerance and laughter, a mutual appreciation and understanding. This is what I like to show in my romances - the start of that process.

So, as To Touch The Knight progresses, Edith realizes she can tell Ranulf the truth. That trust from her is vital.

Ranulf also realizes that his grief for his late wife is also laced by guilt and resentment that he needs to lose.

Edith accepts him and realizes he believes more in the church than she does. She respects that, even as she begins to question her own hard-headed, practical way of always looking at the world.

Ranulf accepts that she told lies and accepts why she did so. He forgives her - though to Edith he has nothing to forgive.

I'm with Edith. How about you?

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Monday 4 July 2011

Release Day! Muffled Drum by Erastes

It seems to have been a long time coming but today, my first novella for Carina Press comes out - Muffled Drum.

Set in 1866, during the Austro-Prussian war, it's a road trip, and a love story between Mathias Hofmann, a young Lieutenant in the Prussian cavalry and Rittmeister Rudolph von Ratzlaff, a man of wealth and status.

Afraid that their love will be eventually cause notice within the Regiment they decide to commit social suicide and to resign during an actve campaign. But when Mathias goes to his lover's tent after the battle of Gitschin, Rudolph looks at him without a glimmer of recognition--a fall on the battlefield has knocked two years of memory clean out of his head.

The story has themes of the nature of friendship, and loyalty--as well as exploring memory and the early treatment of it.

Here's a snippet which I hope will whet your appetite:

Mathias’s heart gave a lurch of empathy. How much anguish there must be in those few words for a man like Rudolph, and for a moment Mathias understood just how frustrating and frightening it must be for his friend. “Call me Mathias…Rudolph? Will you? You know we’ve been friends, so let us get back to that familiarity. Perhaps it will help.”

For a moment Mathias wondered if it would help if he made advances to Rudolph, especially now Goertz was out of the way. Perhaps it would jolt something loose. The only things stopping him were the risk of being rejected and the fear of what the medic had said, that a shock could cause permanent damage. Both fears were as bad as each other. He could ride along ragtag at Rudolph’s skirts forever, he was sure. Pretend to be nothing better than a friend, if it meant he could stay close to him. But to be rejected, and to have no choice but to leave him forever? He didn’t know if he was ready to take that risk.

Rudolph brightened for a brief second. “Yes. I think that would suit me…Mathias. Thank you. I want you to know,” he added, “it saddens me that I remember nothing of our time together. I don’t miss the unpleasant things I’m sure must have happened— I’m sure I’ve lost many people I knew. Friends, men in my command, died under the enemy’s fire. One day perhaps those sadnesses will return to me and I’ll wish they had stayed away. But I’m sure we’ve had good times, if half your stories are true.”

With a grin he didn’t really feel, Mathias raised his glass. “I swear they were all true. We’ll make plenty of new ones.”

They drank heavily that night. Neither of them were light drinkers at the best of times, but provisions had been scarce on the road and they made up for it. It was as if both men knew that once they arrived in Berlin things would change for both of them—even though Mathias couldn’t see that far ahead.

At first they drank alone, and when they became noisy and began to sing, they were joined by soldiers at the bar, and then, when the group became noisier still, by soldiers from the street. It was so much like old times that Mathias could almost imagine their old colleagues from the Fifth around them. The two of them sang regimental songs and gradually other men joined in, soldiers all, beautifully united in sound.

Mathias let the moment wash over him as he listened to the voices and feasted his eyes on Rudolph, who was always magnificent when drinking, even when entirely in his cups. His voice was deep and clear, and he’d obviously forgotten none of the words. His glossy moustache quivered with every movement of his lips. Mathias found it hard not to reach out and trace his fingers over that moustache, the way he used to when they were alone together.

Eventually the party broke up and, when there was almost only themselves left in the bar, Mathias struggled to his feet, hardly able to keep his eyes open. Rudolph followed suit and arm-in-arm they staggered upstairs, with Rudolph breaking into song every few steps. Mathias’s mind, muddled with drink, let himself step inside Rudolph’s room—and it felt so right, so natural—but when Rudolph turned a surprised look upon him, as if completely confused as to why he was there, Mathias passed it off with a laugh and said, “Must be more drunk than I realized. Don’t have to share a billet now.”

He gave a short bow and left, wishing he’d been a lot more drunk. Drunk enough to just kiss the man, or damned well drunk enough not to care one way or the other.

Buy at Carina or most ebook vendors.

Erastes is the penname of a female author who lives on the Norfolk Broads in England. She writes and obsesses about gay historical fiction, and runs "Speak Its Name" the only review site that specialises in the genre. Check out her website for details of her many novels and short stories.

Excerpt from Victorian Scoundrel

I'm excited to announce that my latest release, a steampunk romance, "Victorian Scoundrel" book 1 of The Windsor Diaries is out today. It's avail as an ebook only for Amazon, Nook, Sony ereader, Kobo and in various formats.

Here's a link to the You Tube Video Trailer:
Here's a blurb:

It's 2010 and compressed natural gas has taken over form the coal producing steam machines of the Victorian Age. Alice Windsor, Princess of York, follows her mischief-making cousin, Prince Edmund of Wales back to the past and 1851 where Prince Albert is hosting Britain's Great Exhibition.

Alice soon discovers Edmund has struck up a friendship with their great-grandfather, Prince Albert, and his mischief making entails leaving a dinosaur-sized footprint in history. She also meets Grayson Kentfield, Earl Swinton, and the Prime Minister, Sir John Russell. The Prime Minster finds her odd, to say the least.

It's only when Alice falls for the handsome Earl Swinton does she realize the dangers of time travel. How can she give her heart to a man from the past while striving to stop Edmund from changing time with his forward thinking ideas?


Enjoy this excerpt:
Tired and thirsty, she finally made it to the courtyard. Edmund was nowhere to be found. She should have expected it, really. No doubt he was in the palace filling their great-grandfather's head with forward-thinking ideas. She crossed her arms, staring at the steps. Several carriages waited nearby. No one in their right mind would let her into the palace looking like she did -- like she had just stepped out of the gutter.

"Excuse me, who are you?"

Alice spun around to find herself face-to-face with two gentlemen who stood near one of the waiting carriages. One gentleman was older, Alice guessed in his fifties, one younger. The older gentleman stared at her like she truly was a guttersnipe, but the younger one -- he was tall, with chiseled cheeks and sensitive hazel eyes. His broad chest filled his suit well and he measured her with a cool, appraising look that hinted at... appreciation. An uncomfortable feeling washed over her. Never had a man's stare made her feel so... warm.

"Well?" asked the older gentleman.

Alice straightened her posture with her usual royal dignity and took off her glasses as she always did when she introduced herself. "I am Her Royal Highness, Princess Alice of York."

The men looked at each other, at her, then back at themselves. She wasn't sure if they were befuddled, confused, or wanted to laugh. Finally, the older gentleman spoke. "Princess Alice is seven years old."

Alice bit the inside of her lip, realizing she had totally forgotten where she was due to the younger gentleman's attention. She slid her glasses back on. "Simply call me Alice -- Alice Windsor."

"And you may call me Prime Minister."


Link to Publisher's Website:

Sunday 3 July 2011

A romantic date with Total E-bound Publishing

Click on the advert to see more details. Their conference is to be held in Sept, with places being booked by July 31st. It's in the UK, in Lincoln.

Friday 1 July 2011

Can a bestseller be made, or is it pure chance?

Is a bestseller created by the author, or by the publisher? Or does a book’s popularity depend upon that mystical quality: word of mouth? The answer could be all three. A book needs to be well written but also have wide appeal and be commercial to succeed. The writer’s task is to produce the best book they can. The publisher’s is to take that product and get it out into the widest possible market, which may include supermarkets, special deals, book clubs and sales of large print or audio. But both publisher and author must work together to publicise the book so that it gets picked up by enough readers to make word-of-mouth possible. If the reader likes what she reads, she’ll spread the word among her friends, but that doesn’t let the author off the hook. Publicity and promotion is an on-going task, very demanding, and, if over-done, can actually be off-putting, thereby achieving the reverse of what was intended or hoped for.

Proud Alliance was first published by Mills & Boon, and is now a best seller on Kindle. Why? I have no idea.

The Honourable Felicity Travers learns she is expected to marry the entrepreneurial Jarle Blakeley, the man she believes responsible for her father's bankruptcy. Inspired by the suffragette movement, Felicity intends to be a modern woman and make her own decisions. Blakeley proves persuasive, if lacking in romance. But with secrets still to be told, does the marriage have any hope of success?

I am frequently asked when taking courses or giving talks, what is the secret of success? How do you become a best selling writer? Sadly, there is no magic bullet, except perhaps hard work. Studying the market can only tell you what people liked yesterday. Speaking as an ex-bookseller, as well as a long established author who has had some books in the Sunday Times best seller charts, I’d say there is no way to predict the next big thing.

And do publishers always choose winners? No. Despite often throwing a great deal of money at a book, it can bomb, and nobody can say why. The opposite is also true. Publishers are equally good at missing winners. Many missed the chance to publish William Golding's Lord of the Flies, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and JK Rowling's Harry Potter.

But writers do have a second option now. If they don’t get picked up by a publisher, or they do for a time and then get dropped, they can publish themselves, or put up their back list for a second bite at the cherry. These are exciting times with increasing opportunities for writers. But ebooks aren’t an easy road to bestseller-dom, despite the marvellous stories being banded about Amanda Hocking, Stephen Leather and Konrath.

Wilful and beautiful, Charlotte Forbes is to inherit a fortune on her eighteenth birthday. But Sir James Caraddon, the rising star of Pitt's government, informs her of a scandal lurking in her past. Charlotte escapes by joining a troupe of strolling players, while James feels obliged to protect her from the unsavoury characters who have an eye on her wealth.

The hard working writer has a steep learning curve to tackle, must produce a professional product, possibly without editorial expertise if they are new to the game, and an equally wonderful cover. Even then the competition is fierce, but if done well the rewards are there, albeit modest by comparison with the Sunday Times charts. We can’t all be bestsellers. But we can have fun.

You can find my selection of ebooks here.