Leighton Series on Hold

Hi, everyone!  The Leighton Family Saga has been put on hold for a while. I’ve had a difficult time marketing the first book and a pittance of sales, but let’s face it — most readers don’t like to read about poverty or bricklayers. Any historical fiction/romance with a duke is much more appealing. Nevertheless, I will continue it as time allows. In the meantime, the book did receive a favorable four-star review with Readers’ Favorite. Author Vicki Hopkins tells an amazing story about two siblings at odds with one another. It’s very relatable and an enjoyable read. Toil Under the Sun gives the reader the feeling of being from the lower classes, trying to survive and thrive in such a way that you can easily step into William’s shoes. I always like learning about pieces of history that I hadn’t before and Hopkins’s book has urged me to research further Read More

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

I’ve been doing some cleanup on my Legacy Series Book blog and came across this post I wrote long ago.  The entire series is on sale, by the way, until June 21st for 99 cents.  This blog post came after writing book two, I believe.  It speaks volumes. The Blood – I guess I equate the blood part to various aspects of being an author. It’s the pain you go through being a writer from the voices in your head to the critical, and sometimes cruel voices in your reviews. When you pour your soul into any work, you bleed. A part of you becomes imprinted upon the page. Your thoughts, struggles, and life experiences are woven between the chapters and hidden in certain words. Usually, your readers are none the wiser they exist, but they do. Once your DNA is in the work, then comes the blood from people Read More

Is Historical Romance in a Rut?

As some of you may or may not know, I also have a historical romance website to help authors market the genre. It’s not that popular but is gaining in popularity, and I regularly post on it my thoughts or historical romance news.  You can find me a Historical-Romance Books. This morning I posted about the historical romance genre as a whole because of what I’ve noted. If you’ve read any of my books, you know I don’t exactly follow the cookie cutter of the genre and am all over the place with various story types and eras.  I just can’t conform and perhaps that is my downfall. Nevertheless, here is the post in the content below.  What are your thoughts about the genre?  Are we in a rut?  Frankly, overall, I think we are. Ah, the dictionary — it gives me the exact words to describe this post. RUT Read More

Where Are the Poppies Now – Tales From Those Who Bought Poppies

I was one of the lucky ones to purchase a poppy from the Tower of London. As you know, I dedicated Lady Grace to my fallen cousins who lost their lives in World War I. I’ve been able to replant the poppy on this wonderful website! Please visit, comment, and read their story of where the poppy has been planted.  Find my Tower poppy at: https://www.wherearethepoppiesnow.org.uk/the-poppy-map/               Source: Where are the Poppies Now – Tales from those who bought poppies Read More

My Flawed Women

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection about the stories I write. Often, I get caught up in author articles regarding various genres and what’s hot. Hot usually equates to more sales. And who doesn’t want more sales? Unfortunately, the lane I’ve traveled for my personal storytelling doesn’t seem to want to change even though I often think of attempting other types of stories and characters. My only stretch has been to Gothic romance once with A Portrait of Perfection, which was a challenge.  Unfortunately, my brain is void when it comes to paranormal, science fiction, or murder mysteries (no matter how many British murder mystery shows I watch). Contemporary is difficult, except for the one I’ve written, but I have another partially finished tale that I grew bored with some time ago and put aside. One thing I’ve come to understand about myself is that I thoroughly enjoy Read More

The 1880s in Fashionable Gowns: A Visual Guide to the Decade – Mimi Matthews

Mimi Matthews is my go-to expert for anything Victorian. She’s a fantastic resource for 19th-century etiquette, fashion, beauty, and more. It is worth subscribing to her newsletter and blog if you wish to learn more about the era. Below is a link to fashionable gowns that will make you want to throw away your jeans and tee-shirts.  Enjoy! “The 1880s ushered in an era of tailored, close-fitting gowns, some of which were almost masculine in appearance.  These gowns exemplified women’s changing roles in society.” Source: The 1880s in Fashionable Gowns: A Visual Guide to the Decade – Mimi Matthews Read More

I See the Finish Line

When I’m almost finished with the first draft of a book, I start to get giddy.  Especially when I think to myself — this is a good story.  Even if some readers do not enjoy it, I’ve learned that if I enjoy it, it usually comes out okay. However, if I write something and struggle with the process, it doesn’t do as well. I suppose it has to do with inspiration, though I don’t often understand the muse that drives writers. I have two more chapters to complete!  It’s currently at 35,000 words, so I’ll be close to my goal of 40,000.  Word count often fluctuates, too, when you begin editing. Here is a list of the final chapters, which I hope continue to pique your interest.  Also, if you haven’t been following my Ladies of Disgrace blog, you’ll be missing out on all of my research from horse racing Read More

The Ladies Toilet 1872 Style

“Suppose then that this first and vital standing order for the toilet be stringent, and that refreshed, and therefore energetic, buoyant, and conscious of one duty being at least performed, the lady leaves her bed and prepares to dress.” The Habits of Good Society What duty? A good night’s sleep, of course. I suppose you could call it the need for beauty sleep in a rested young lady. I am continuing to read through “The Habits of Good Society,” yawning here in there but also dropping my mouth open at some of the recommendations. Hang onto your Victorian hat, because here comes the next installment of life in 1872 England. The second order of business, after getting out of bed, is the bath, which once again is reiterated upon regarding the healthy type to take to balance circulation and maintain the skin. After the bath, a lady moved onto the Read More

Reviews & Advertising – It’s a Jungle Out There

As an author and someone who can’t stop writing 24/7, I often find it interesting how shy readers can be about writing reviews. Reviews not only help other readers, but they also help authors.  Even a bad review can push interest in a book. With the Amazon market filled with millions of books (think 1.3 million and thousands daily are added), visibility is becoming a huge challenge for many authors.  The only way to become visible is to pay for advertising. However, there are qualifications even to advertise, and the most challenging qualification is the minimum number of reviews a book must have in order to be considered.  Requirements can be anywhere from five to ten reviews on a book with an average rating of 4.0 or higher before they will consider your ad. Unfortunately, I struggle with a few of my novellas that haven’t garnished enough reviews to advertise, Read More

The Portrait of Perfection – New Release

Last year I saw Crimson Peak. Though it really didn’t scare me as much as I thought it would, it did pique my interest in Gothic Romance. The very dark side of romance is a genre that I have not dabbled in before. However, like anything else there is a first time for everything. Meet “A Portrait of Perfection,” which is my first attempt at a dark tale of possessive love and betrayal. Though it doesn’t have all the elements of Gothic Romance, it culminates in a rather Gothic result of possessive love. I’m not sure that I will stay in this genre frankly because I often find it hard to think of the dark side. However, I’ve known my share of sociopaths that have crossed my life, as well as controlling men. I’ve woven those elements from experience into the story. The book is erotic, but compared to those Read More

The Perfect Hero – Is There One?

I’ve written about the perfect heroine, but alas, I have procrastinated long enough over the perfect hero. Is there one? What fantasy do readers want? In reality, as much as we are filled with fanciful and romantic thoughts, there probably isn’t a perfect man. Of course, it depends on how you define perfection. Like the variety of readers and their various tastes over heroines, there is no absence of criticism over the perfect male. Once again, I’ve strolled through the reviews of some best selling authors to find out what women are thinking. There are the usual complaints of women who dislike emotionally scared men (except for Fifty Shades, apparently), along with arrogant aristocrats and walking cardboard characters (boy that term gets used a lot). Frankly, I think women who look for the perfect hero want a type of man they can fall in love with during the story. Women Read More

The Perfect Heroine – Is There One?

In the past seven years, I have had the opportunity to craft female characters by the names of Suzette, Desiree, Charlotte, Angelique, Rachel, Ann, Mary, and Caroline. Each woman is unique so that their character fits the theme of the story that I pen. However, it’s been interesting to learn that crafting a female character who pleases the vast array of preferences that exist among readers, is a unique challenge. It’s safe to say that each one of my imaginary leading ladies has been a victim of harsh criticism, but a few have been lauded as brilliant. The ratings appear to hang upon whether the reader likes or dislikes the personality of the heroine. Since historical romance books are inherently written for the fantasies of the female audience, it makes perfect sense that female readers can be harsh critics. As I have said before, writing romance is a tough gig. Read More

Romance Novel Covers

They say men are stimulated visually. It’s not what they hear whispered in their ears – it’s what they see with their eyes that moves them toward sex and romance. For the most part, I do think that men are wired that way. However, when it comes to reading steamy historical romance novels, women are not only moved by the story, but by the covers that give us a glimpse of the hero and heroine. The historical romance genre bombards readers with bare-chested, muscular males, who have shirts falling off their backs, toned physiques, and six-pack abs. The heroines are women with unbuttoned or unlaced dresses in the back, overflowing breasts from low necklines, and passionate scenes of kissing in provocative poses. They set the stage for the forthcoming sexual tension between the characters and build the reader’s anticipation of what is to come between the sheets . . . Read More

Romance – It’s a Tough Gig

Every time an author sits down to write a book, you ask yourself a lot of questions. Is the story any good? Is the plot okay? Are the characters believable? Is there enough conflict and suspense? Is it too predictable? The list goes on and on. I just received a new book on how to write good conflict and suspense. The only books I read are how to be a better writer. I always hope that my next novel will show growth in my craft and become more appealing to readers. I’m still tuning my style and finding my voice. Of course, this being my fourth fiction, you’d think I would have found it by now! Today I stumbled across a few historical romances on Amazon from best selling traditionally published authors. I wanted to read why people liked what they wrote or why they didn’t like it. Wow, what Read More