Thursday, 2 July 2020

Cover Reveal of The Earl's Lady Geologist

I am so excited to reveal the cover of the first book in my Linfield Ladies Series, The Earl's Lady Geologist. It will be published on 28 Feburary 2021 by Vinspire Publishing.


Tuesday, 23 July 2019

The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews



The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews
Release date: 23 July 2019

An Uncommon Beauty…

Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it’s caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland—a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the duke’s clutches, she’s going to need a little help.

An Unlikely Hero…

Captain Arthur Heywood’s days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.
Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her—and her heart—in more danger than ever?

About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical non-fiction and proper historical romances set in Victorian England. Her articles on nineteenth century history have been published on various academic and history sites, including the Victorian Web and the Journal of Victorian Culture, and are also syndicated weekly at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes an Andalusian dressage horse, two Shelties, and a Siamese cat.

To learn more, please visit MimiMatthews.com

My review:

This charming Regency romance is a tender dream of a story that will capture your heart.

Philly comes to London for a season but falls into the clutches of a couple of unscrupulous men whose schemes she is determined to withstand.

Arthur is very much the honourable gentleman who comes to the rescue of a damsel in distress. But Philly’s gentle ways and loving touch also start to rescue him from the darkness and despair which invaded his life after a terrible war-time injury.

And so begins a tender journey of discovery for both Philly and Arthur.

There is some intrigue in The Work of Art - and a twist at the end which I didn’t see coming - but the heart of this story is romance and a lovely, heart-warming one at that.

Highly recommended.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Wedding Season: A Collection of Romance Reads

💍 💍 New Release 💍 💍
WEDDING SEASON: A Collection of Romance Reads is #LIVE!
#OneClick Today!
This summer, ROSA vows to have you falling in love all over again with ‘Wedding Season’, a collection of romance reads from the Romance writers Organisation of South Africa.
All proceeds go to the Athol Williams Read to Rise literacy charity and the ROSA Scholarship Fund.
Don’t forget to say ‘I do’, and order your copy.
Featuring stories by: Romy Sommer, Alissa Baxter, Suzanne Jefferies, Marie Dry, Sharonlee Holder, Sophia Karlson, Tanya Wilde, Natasha Anders, Jo Watson and Ashleigh Giannoccaro
The proceeds of this anthology will go to ROSA and to the Athol Williams Read to Rise literacy charity.


Friday, 2 November 2018

Release of The Truth About Series

I am excited to announce that my two chick lit novels have been re-released as The Truth About Series: The Truth about Clicking Send and Receive and The Truth About Cats and Bees.



The Truth about Clicking Send and Receive: A Romance Writer's Email Adventures (The Truth About Series Book 1)

"It's great to see a chick-lit book set in South Africa, with cultural references we can relate to." Cosmopolitan 

Wrapped up in the dreamy world of romance fiction and flushed with the heady heat of a tropical Durban summer, Angie Wilson is having a hard time separating fantasy from reality. Struggling to choose between a hopeless crush on her gorgeous trust fund manager and a blossoming cyber affair with an enigmatic writer, Angie turns to her zany new friends for advice on love and life. But what does she really want?

A light-hearted romantic comedy.

This book was previously published by Oshun as Send and Receive.

Buy it on Amazon.



The Truth about Cats and Bees: A Secret Blogger's Dating Debacles (The Truth About Series Book 2) 

"Chick-lit great! This book is witty, intelligent, funny, sweet, deep, real and honest."

For jaded Emma Bradshaw, her blog is a way to come to terms with the 'serial datists' in her past - all those unsuitable men who've trampled on her heart and left her swearing off dating altogether. But when one anonymous blog commenter challenges her ideas on men, she can't help but open herself up. What can it hurt? After all, she doesn't even know his name.

The problem is that now she's looking at men differently - including her new boss, sexy author Nick Reynolds. A romance with the boss, especially one who epitomises every 'serial datist' she's ever known, is a no-no on so many different levels. But Emma can't seem to stop herself from considering it.

Which man will win Emma's guarded heart - the tempting boss, or the anonymous online man who understands her better than anyone she's ever known?

"Emma is a serious sassy woman whose sharp wit and tongue portrays her confident nature. " Author Nana Prah

This book was previously published by Ubuntu African Romance as The Blog Affair.

Buy it on Amazon.


Saturday, 21 July 2018

The Governess by Mary Kingswood (Sisters of Woodside Mysteries Book 1)



I am delighted to welcome Mary Kingswood to my blog today. Mary writes traditional drawing-room style Regency romances in the style of Georgette Heyer. She has just released the first book in her The Sisters of Woodside Mysteries series, where Mr Edmund Winterton of Woodside dies, leaving his unmarried daughters destitute, and needing to find genteel employment to survive.

A 5-book series, each one a complete story with a HEA, this series starts with The Governess.




The Governess (Sisters of Woodside Mysteries Book 1)

When Mr Edmund Winterton of Woodside dies, his daughters find themselves penniless and homeless. What can they do? Unless they wish to live on charity, they will have to find genteel employment for themselves.

Annabelle becomes governess to the daughters of the recently bereaved Earl of Brackenwood. She has no idea how to teach, but her pupils can learn all they need from books, so how difficult can it be? She’ll need all her ingenuity to cope with the rebelliousness of her charges, and the unwanted attentions of their father. But when her past returns to haunt her, she has to make a difficult decision.

Allan is slowly getting used to life as a widower, but his mother is determined that he must marry again and produce an heir. He is determined that he won’t, although the new governess is just the sort of woman he could fall in love with. But when a face from long ago reappears and stirs up suspicion, he has to consider the possibility that his wife’s death was not natural. What is worse, he himself is the obvious suspect. If he can’t prove his innocence, he may lose everything - his home, his new love and even his life.


Book 1 of the 5-book Sisters of Woodside Mysteries series, each a complete story with a HEA, but read all of them to find out all the family secrets!


Mary has written two other Regency series. The first is Sons of the Marquess, where Lord Carrbridge discovers his finances are in a perilous state. His five brothers must find ways to support themselves. Will they choose careers, or look for rich heiresses to support their wealthy lifestyle?

A 5-book series, each one a complete story with a HEA, this series starts with Lord Reginald.

Her second series is titled The Daughters of Allamont Hall. In this series, Mr William Allamont dies unexpectedly. His will includes generous dowries for his six daughters, but only on condition that they marry in the proper order, the eldest first.

A six-book series, each one a complete story with a HEA, this series starts with Amy. For even better value, you can pick up the box set of books 1-3.

You can find out more about Mary's books, sign up for her mailing list to receive a FREE novella and read sample chapters at her website: http://marykingswood.co.uk/.

Biography

Mary lives in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland with her husband. She likes chocolate, whisky, her Kindle, massed pipe bands, long leisurely lunches, chocolate, going places in her campervan, eating pizza in Italy, summer nights that never get dark, wood fires in winter, chocolate, the view from the study window looking out over the Moray Firth and the Black Isle to the mountains beyond. And chocolate. She dislikes driving on motorways, cooking, shopping, and hospitals.

The lovely lady in her avatar is Archduchess Clementina of Austria (1798-1881), Princess of Salerno, painted around 1839.

Buy The Governess on Amazon.





Saturday, 17 February 2018

The Big Misunderstanding in Romance Novels

It is often said that there are two sides to every story, and it could similarly be said that there are two sides to every romantic relationship. That’s what makes writing romance novels so interesting. Look at any piece of romantic fiction and you will find situations where a female character sees something in a certain way while her male love interest has a completely different point of view. It is all about how individuals uniquely interpret the facts of a situation.





Often in romance novels authors will engineer a deliberate misunderstanding (aka The Big Misunderstanding) to give their story a twist, but an author doesn't need to rely on a contrived and trumped-up misunderstanding as a plot device – rather there are numerous natural misunderstandings that happen between members of the opposite sex all the time which could be utilised to drive the story forward, and these are often a result of characters interpreting situations purely from their own perspectives.

As an author, you are constantly trying to understand your characters. This might sound silly as it could be argued that once you’ve created a character you should understand your own creation. But this isn’t necessarily the case… When I was writing my latest novel, A Marchioness Below Stairs, I created a male character that I didn't understand all that well at first. He started off in my mind in one way, but when I tried to develop him further, I began to have doubts as to what motivated him, and I had to go back to the drawing board (or in this instance the writing pad), and reassess my portrayal of him. 

Authors are forced by their art to learn the skill of putting themselves into the shoes of others. That’s why writing creatively can be so draining – you’re creating a separate reality for each character in your book and in order for your story to pull at a reader’s heart-strings and come across as authentic, each character’s reality has to be convincing.

However, no matter how draining it is, I infinitely appreciate how writing has trained me to see real-life situations in a more objective way. Of course it’s possible to attempt to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and still horribly misunderstand their perspective, but at least trying to understand someone else’s viewpoint (even if you don’t succeed every time) is an incredibly important skill to learn if you’re intent on building happy relationships with people.

It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that your desires are naturally the desires of other people. It is a trap that everyone falls into at some point or other, I imagine. In a Regency Romance, the ambitions of a young debutante presented in London for the first time don't naturally coincide with the wishes of the fashionable bucks on the town - and therein lies the delicious tension we are all so familiar with and enjoy in these wonderful historical tales.


Sunday, 11 February 2018

The Opposite of Heroic



David Bamber is Mr Collins, Pride and Prejudice 1995

Creating the villains in a romance novel can be a lot of fun. One type of villain is the Extremely Evil Villain – the truly treacherous mastermind of evil schemes. In historical novels, he’s usually intent on capturing the heroine and eloping with her (either because he desires her madly or because he wants her fortune). Or he could be the hero’s arch-enemy who is looking for a way to seek revenge – and what better way to do that than by stealing his enemy’s lady-love?

Then you can have the Comedic Villain or the Bumbling Buffoon… this kind of villain is usually the most entertaining to create. Just think of Mr Collins in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. His stuffiness and lack of humour and intelligence make him a truly memorable and annoying character… and although it’s a little strong to call him a villain, perhaps, the negative emotional reaction he engenders in me as a reader causes me to sneak him into this category!

Of course, a romantic novel is often not complete without the requisite Villainess – she comes in many shapes and forms, but the common denominator of the Villainess is that she usually hates the heroine! Miss Bingley in Pride and Prejudice is a classic example of a Villainess with her snobbish nature and nasty character, but Elizabeth Bennett is more than a match for her in wit, intelligence and humour, and Mr Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth, rather than the unpleasant Miss Bingley, which is a truly satisfying result.


Anna Chancellor is Miss Bingley, Pride and Prejudice 1995

It may seem as if romance novels feature a number of stereotypes – the strong masculine hero vs the evil villain; the charming heroine vs the nasty villainess, however I would venture to say that if you dig a little below the surface of a romance novel you may discover hidden messages of hope as well as joy. Of course we’re all a mix of good and bad – and I’m sure we’ve all been heroic on some occasions and cowardly on others. We’re human after all, and the nature of being human is our fallibility.

Romance novels focus on good triumphing over evil, which is often symbolised with the hero vs villain theme in a story. And this usually culminates with the requisite HEA (happily ever after), where the hero triumphs over all the odds and rides away victoriously with the heroine on his saddlebow.

People who focus on good things are often happy in themselves. And focusing on happiness is a recipe for actually becoming more happy. Sadness and tragedy are part of life, but so are happiness and joy. And yet stories which focus on tragedy and the darker side of humanity are often seen as more representative of life than stories that focus on comedy or love. A tragedy is always taken more seriously than a romance and I question this. Why should something that is considered more “realistic” because it features darker themes be more acclaimed than a joyful story?

If you watch the news on television or read newspapers the focus is usually on the negative, and the good is often left unreported. I’d say the same applies in the literary world. Books focusing on tragedy are often commended but the happy stories go unreported. And that saddens me. Sometimes we all need a HEA.

My latest novel, A Marchioness Below Stairs, features a villain who is a slave owner - a truly nasty individual. Fortunately, Mr Bateman, the hero in A Marchioness Below Stairs, is more than a match for him. Read more about my latest Regency romance here.


A Marchioness Below Stairs