Ahem. No problem. I can cope. Thanks for inviting me to play, Kristin. And thanks to the marvelous Cody Gary of Avon Romance for starting this round robin blog hop.
First, let me introduce my current release, Mischief on Albemarle. Here’s an excerpt:
There, that sideways, cocky grin, his eyebrows slanting to the same angle as his flopping forelock, and the anguish inside Beryl twisted to something bitter as he laughed.
"Don't start, Fitz. Please."
He scoffed, throwing out his hands. "What do you have against my laughter? It's like you've taken a vow against chuckling, a mandate against mirth, a covenant against conviviality. I start laughing, and you—"
"Don't start." The window and its sad little vignettes were safer than facing him down, even if the street below was now empty, damp, slick, and lonely. The puddle the old horse had slid through shivered with fresh droplets, stilled, shivered anew. The crying city might arouse companionable tears from her, she felt them fighting in her throat and heart for release, but Fitz, it seemed, could bring forth nothing more than rage. Their friendship, and all her longing dreams, were well and truly over. "I cannot see you any more."
Silence. "I beg your pardon?"
The pounding of her heart seemed unnaturally loud, louder than the old horse's diminishing hoofbeats, heard but no longer seen, and no more steady. This disaster had to end. "My time is no longer my own. I must marry soon, and therefore I should no longer be seen so often in the company of an unengaged man. Any unengaged man."
"It's him, isn't it?"
Fitz's voice cracked like a whip. She'd never heard him use such a tone before, not in all the years they'd known each other. She turned, astonished.
His smile was gone, and the hard edges of his usually good-natured face could have cracked rocks. "Cumberland. You've set your cap for him, haven't you?"
That voice. That tone of vindictive rage, as if she'd personally betrayed him. If she didn't know better--
It almost sounded as if--
He stormed to his feet. "Well, if you have, m'girl, then you deserve whatever happens to you. You deserve it, d'you hear?" He stalked from the room. The footman hurried past the doorway, but the front door crashed open well before the poor man could reach it. Heartbeats later, the wearer of a claret tailcoat, innocent of hat or cape, stomped through the shivering puddle, splattering it about the pavement, and then Fitz vanished up the opposite sidewalk.
Miss Beryl Wentworth is silently, desperately in love with her childhood friend, Finian Fitzwilliam, who unfortunately still treats her as if willing to shove her into the nearest mud puddle. It's infuriating now that she at least has grown up, leading to uproarious and horribly public arguments between them, and it seems he'll never treat her as a woman grown, never look at her that way... until a quite charming rake asks her for the first two dances at the Hanover Square assembly room. Dare she hope that His Grace, Ernst Anton Oldenburg, the Duke of Cumberland (and some say a foreign prince) is serious, even if Fitz is not?
Fitz can't believe it. The man's a rake, he ruined Anne Kirkhoven only weeks ago, and now Beryl agrees to dance with the villain? Strong-willed she might be, but there must be something Fitz can do to extricate her from that ducal clutch. Even if it means interrupting them behind the shrubbery in Hyde Park.
How can the Scoundrel of Mayfair bring two feuding hearts together without setting off the final argument that tears them apart forever?
a clean Regency romance of 125 pages
1) When writing are you a snacker? If so, sweet or salty? I’m a snacker whether I’m writing or not. Really more when I’m reading, which may be why I always fall off my usual dietary habits whenever I download a bunch of new books from Amazon. And sweet or salty doesn’t matter. All it has to be is a munchy…
2) Are you an outliner or someone who writes by the seat of their pants? And are they real pants or jammies? That’s gonna depend on the project. For my big World War II mystery, Deal with the Devil, I had a fifty-page outline. For my Christmas Regency novella, Scandal on Half Moon Street, I drafted an outline then just fleshed it out until it magically transformed into a story. So does that make me a dedicated outliner?
3) When cooking, do you follow a recipe or do you wing it? Oh, a little of this, a little of that. The first time I try a recipe, I tend to follow it on a more-or-less basis. Once I’ve got the sucker in mind, though, anything goes.
4) What is next for you after this book? Another Christmas Regency novella! One more book finishes the series, The Scoundrel of Mayfair, and at the end of four books, we’ll see if our Cupid, the Duke of Cumberland, gets his own girl. Will he or won’t he? Don’t miss the exciting conclusion… well, you know the drill.
5) Last question... on a level of one being slightly naughty and ten being whoo-hoo steamy, how would you rate your book? You know, I really haven’t tried writing steamy. The Scoundrel books are sweet Regencies, rating a two at most, and the final books won’t be hotter than the preceding ones. So maybe I’ll ramp up the steam on whatever comes next. Maybe…? We’ll see.
Shortbread dates back to at least the 12th century and has associations with Mary, Queen of Scots, in the 16th century, so it’s a natural dessert for a historical fiction writer. My recipe includes explanations for why shortbread should be hand-kneaded, why modern shortbread tastes differently than the biscuits Queen Mary’s kitchen turned out, and how to add your own flavorings, such as vanilla extract, amaretto, nuts, or chocolate chips. Go on, click. You know you wanna.
The photo shows a variation called millionaire's shortbread. It's got layers of shortbread cookie, then caramel, then chocolate. After baking the cookies, melt, pour, and let harden, in the fridge if necessary. Doesn't that look amazingly good?
And finally, my victims — er, participating authors. I'll post the links as they're sent to me, okay? (update) Aaaand they're trickling in: 1) Meg Mims, SPUR-award winning author of romantic Western mysteries. 2) Calico Daniels, multi-talented creator of hick lit sweet romances. 3) Ruth J. Hartman, our beloved crazy cat lady, as competent with contemporary romantic comedies as with Regencies. 4) Juli D. Revezzo, author of seriously good and creepy dark romantic paranormal and fantasy.