Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Upcoming Releases: Cynfell Brothers


I'm pleased to announce the first book of my new series the Cynfell Brothers will be releasing in April. Make sure you've signed up to my newsletter as this book will be FREE just after it's release. Sign up to the right of my blog.

Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. The Cynfell brothers are the very embodiment of a sinful existence. But could the right woman change that?


Romance and Feminism

There are people who say that romance works against the feminist cause. Particularly with the uproar surrounding Fifty Shades, it could be said the these sort of books are pushing the idea that we need a man to save us (or control us). In truth, yes--particularly in the earlier 'bodice ripper' years--there were books that were essentially telling women to wait for a man to rescue them. There were also many that said it was ok for a man to force himself--or his way of life--onto you.

I didn't grow up with this. I'm thirty and I grew up with Harlequin books. This was before erotica became more mainstream but sex was very much included. Unfortunately, because of the stigma still attached (which still very much exists), I never admitted to reading these books. However, I'm eternally grateful for what they taught me. I don't need to be ashamed of my sexuality and I understood to respect myself and my body and not to let others make choices for me--regardless of what those choices might be.

I'm also a feminist. And unless you didn't figure it out already, I write romance, particularly in eras where women were considered chattel and had very few rights. My recent Victorian novels have allowed me to explore the birth of women's rights, but naturally I have to abide by the rules of society or I might as well be writing something else entirely.

The thing is, my books are never about needing a man. Yes, a happily ever after is required. Hero and heroine have to come together (there are few exceptions but this is the norm, particularly for mainstream publishers). However, romance isn't about the HEA. It's about the journey.

It isn't about the heroine winning her man and her life becoming perfect. It isn't even about that for the hero. It's about growth--on both sides. It's about learning about themselves and each other. Working together or even working apart before they can come together as two confident, secure people. It is then about creating a true and equal partnership. You see, feminism isn't about putting men down or making women superior, it's about equality.

As is romance. It's about finding that perfect balance with your soulmate.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

New Release and Giveaway

My latest Victorian romance just released and to celebrate I'm having a giveaway!


Win a signed photo of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy
2 x ecopies of Once Upon a Rake
Pack of signed swag



Enter below


Purchase from Amazon

August Avery, a renowned civil engineer, has found himself the sole custodian of his cousin’s six month old daughter and he needs assistance—fast. He understands how to build railways, to construct bridges and to save the railway tycoons thousands of pounds. He doesn’t understand, however, how to care for a child 

When Ivy Davis turns up at his door looking for work, he believes his prayers are answered. If only the exotic, exuberant young woman did not prove to be such a distraction from his busy workload. 

Unsure if she is even up to the task of looking after a baby, Ivy finds herself swayed by the handsome and slightly desperate August into working for him. With her singing career failing before it even started and no other talents, she decides looking after a young child cannot be so hard... surely? 

But the child may turn out to be the least of her worries. Her handsome, brooding master seems to keep her awake more than the baby. Add to that her desire to achieve her dreams of singing on stage and the machinations of the indomitable Mrs Pepperwhite who sees her as competition for August’s hand, Ivy finds this simple job growing harder by the day—as does her desire for her master... 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A Guide to Preparing for Release Day

Creating the Ultimate Buzz
A guide to preparing for release day
Creating a buzz for release day can make a huge difference on how your book performs. For avid readers of your genre or those subscribed to your updates, they’ll find you naturally as they search for new releases, but you really want to capture those who won’t and really bump those sales in the all important first few days. So here are a few tips and tricks to help grab attention.
      Don’t start too early. A month is about right. Too early and you’ll either annoy people or they’ll forget about you, too late and you won’t reach your maximum audience.
      Consider where your audience is. If you’re not a first time author, hopefully you have an idea where your readers hang out. If you are, do some searches, find blogs and forums that cater to your genre and track them down. I’ve found historical readers spend a lot of time on Facebook but don’t necessarily participate on pages whereas contemporary romance readers will. Twitter is considered to be better for those in NA and YA genres.

      Don’t spam. Just because your readers are in a forum, don’t spam them. Consider other ways to reach them—interesting articles related to your genre, snippets from your story, or even consider writing a short story linked to your book and putting it on sites like http://www.booksie.com/

        Create awesome graphics. Teasers are a great way of hooking people in. Make them stand out with beautiful images. Gimp.com is a great free program for creating teasers. Keep them short and sweet for maximum impact.

        If you haven’t already, add your book to Goodreads or track down a librarian who will. Encourage your readers to add it to their To Be Read list by offering an incentive. I like to run a giveaway in which one of the entry options is to do this. You don’t have to offer Kindles and expensive prizes—handmade swag, printed bookmarks and even things like vintage jewellery can be very popular with readers.

      Book a blog tour. This is one of the easiest ways of getting the word out and many tour providers offer great prices to suit all budgets as well as arrange reviews for you. If you can, book one for your release date. Ask your author friends for recommendations and do check out previous tours carefully as the quality of service can vary drastically.

        Find reviewers. When you get your ARC, track down some reviewers. If you can have some reviews up on release day, your chances of getting more sales are much better as readers won’t be taking a chance on the unknown. A good source of reviewers is The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages.

        Consider a Facebook event. Set it up a month beforehand and plan lots of fun games and giveaways. Not only does this introduce you to new readers and create a buzz about your release, it offers ongoing opportunities as readers will often want to friend you or find out more about your other books afterwards.

       Research paid advertising. I highly recommend email lists as a great way of reaching new readers. Some can be very pricey—like Bookbub but there are others, such as ebooksoda, that are very cheap but have less of a reach. Book cover advertisements tend to be cheaper as they are less effective but I can highly recommend sites like Digital Book Today and the ereader cafĂ© for a variety of options. Remember that these ads are not just about selling your book but creating an awareness of your name. It may not directly impact sales but it will help get your name out there.

       Network. If blog tours aren’t your thing or you’re after a specific audience, reach out to fellow authors in your genre to ask if they will host you. It can be as simple as a blurb spotlight or an interview or guest post. Many authors will be happy to host you if you can write a relevant guest post that is sure to interest their readers.

One last handy tip—be excited! Readers will pick up on your enthusiasm. Tell them why you can’t wait for your book to be out. Explain how much you adore a certain character or why the setting means so much to you. It’s all about convincing the reader they will be missing out on so much if they don’t read your book. Here’s wishing you many sales!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Exclusive Excerpt: Kissed at Midnight


~ Excerpt ~

Pushing the shirt from his shoulders, she gritted her teeth at the sight of bunched muscles marred with several bruises. One on his upper arm and a scattering across his abdomen. Her fingers flexed as she imagined spreading her palms across his chest and through the scattering of dark hair. Maybe she would even nuzzle against it.
“Ivy?”
Heat flooded her face. She’d been caught admiring when she should be nursing. Avoiding his gaze, she scooped up some of the cool salve and smeared it over the bruise on his arm. In spite of the kitchen not being particularly warm, his skin was. The little lines of muscle intrigued her and she couldn’t help trace them as she smoothed in the lotion.
“Do you box often?” Her voice came out thin and weak like a cheap broth.
He nodded.
That would explain his build. She’d always puzzled over how a man who spent most of his life in the study was so strong and—she glanced down the rippled lines of his abdomen—firm.
“At least until Elsie arrived.”
His voice sounded gritty. Not weak like hers, but certainly strained. Everything about him from the bunching of his muscles to his continued grip on her skirts screamed of his need to break free of restraint.
And she could not help believe he was holding back for the same reason she was. He wanted to kiss her, maybe even touch her. She felt it in her bones, in her blood. As elemental as the air in her lungs. Ivy feared if he did not break and give her that kiss, her body might waste away, starved of his touch.
Licking her lips, she steeled herself for what was to come next. “Lift your arm.”
She used the cloth to clean away some more of the grime and sweat from his body. “You are filthy,” she murmured in a bid to distract herself from the way his stomach muscles tensed as she slid the cloth down them.
“Boxing rings are filthy places.”
Suddenly the distance between them seemed so very great. He built railways and knew more than she ever would. He frequented places she would never step foot in. She might have some noble blood running through her but he was far superior to her in every way.
What could she say for herself? She sang. If she could bring her voice out to the world then perhaps she might be able to say she brought joy to people but, for now, she could not even bring herself to sing in front of August. It frustrated her beyond all belief.
“Ivy?”
She peered down and realised she was absently stroking his firm stomach with the cloth. “Oh.” Abandoning the cloth, she reached for the salve and bent to rub it over the marks on his ribs. “I hope nothing is broken.”
“No, just bruised. I’d know if it was.”
She lifted her gaze to his and found that her mouth was mere inches away from his. Her breath near froze in her throat. “Have you broken a rib before?” she asked huskily.
“Yes, a long time ago when I first started boxing. I didn’t...” His words trailed off and she saw his gaze drop to her lips.
In response, she tucked her bottom lip under her top teeth. A sharp hiss echoed from him and her mouth tingled. She searched his gaze and saw it there—the same need flaring through her. So why did he not move? Why did his grip on her skirts tighten and why did his muscles bunch?
“Please,” she whispered before she’d even thought about it.
“What do you want, Ivy?” he asked in a low, rough voice.
Did she have the courage to say? Few things held her back in life and she could rarely claim to have control of her tongue, but she hesitated for a moment. Perhaps because the stakes were so high. Her heart throbbed painfully as if to remind her exactly what was at stake. It would be so very easy to fall for him. But a kiss? Maybe more? Would that be so bad?

“I want you,” she replied.


August Avery, a renowned civil engineer, has found himself the sole custodian of his cousin’s six month old daughter and he needs assistance—fast. He understands how to build railways, to construct bridges and to save the railway tycoons thousands of pounds. 
He doesn’t understand, however, how to care for a child When Ivy Davis turns up at his door looking for work, he believes his prayers are answered. If only the exotic, exuberant young woman did not prove to be such a distraction from his busy workload. 

Unsure if she is even up to the task of looking after a baby, Ivy finds herself swayed by the handsome and slightly desperate August into working for him. With her singing career failing before it even started and no other talents, she decides looking after a young child cannot be so hard... surely? 
But the child may turn out to be the least of her worries. Her handsome, brooding master seems to keep her awake more than the baby. Add to that her desire to achieve her dreams of singing on stage and the machinations of the indomitable Mrs Pepperwhite who sees her as competition for August’s hand, Ivy finds this simple job growing harder by the day—as does her desire for her master... 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Book Spotlight: La Contessa and The Marquis by Lindsay Downs

La Contessa and The Marquis

Thank you very much for having me visit you and your blog to introduce my newest regency cozy mystery series, Rogues and Rakehells Mystery. The first book in the series, La Contessa and The Marquis is currently available for preorder with its release set for Monday, Jan 19, 2015.
As I’m not sure where you, the readers of this post, live in the world I’ve included all the Amazon buy link for your convenience.

Blurb-
When Bianca Maria Ledford Goretti, La Contessa de Massa, flees back to her homeland and the safety of her godmother, The Duchess of Gorham, little does she realize who’s arms she lands in.
Lord Rainer Cross, Marquis of Hathaway, is a well-known and dangerous rakehell within the ton. Little does he suspect his godmother has set him up to halt his skirt chasing days.
Over time the reason for Bianca’s return comes to light which has Rainer deeply concerned. Not sure who he can trust Rainer turns to has several of his more interesting staff. He has them use their talents to ferret out the truth.
Everything get more complicated when they learn a friend might not be who he claims to be. Not sure who to trust, except Rainer and the duchess, Bianca learns several startling facts which could protect her from harm.
Once everything is revealed the duchess steps in with a surprise, something neither could have ever seen coming.

Excerpt-
Rainer Cross, Marquis of Hathaway, settled his shoulder against a pillar where he’d ensconced himself so he could overlook the ballroom. A warning glare to several want to be rakes was all that was needed to send them scurrying back to their mommas.
With a renewed resolve, to search down one particular individual, his piercing blue eyes studied the throng of ladies. Some too old but searching for a lover, even if for a brief tryst. Others on the hunt for a husband of which he had no interest, at least with them, as he already had his sights set on one person in particular.
Granted, he’d not seen her, except from a distance, but if the reports were to be believed she was, without a doubt the most beautiful lady, the truest diamond, to ever grace the ton.
Then, as if Venus rising from the ocean, she appeared at the top of the grand ballroom vestibule. He could feel the air rush from his lungs, something he’d never experienced before, as he fixed his gaze on her.
Seeing her in the flesh, as it were, he knew all the whispers circulating about had been true. Without a doubt she was the most beautifully, enchanting and mysterious woman he ever set his eyes upon.
He was pleased to see she was conversing animatedly with an elderly, heavily bejewelled woman. From where he was standing and the angle of the matron, Rainer wasn’t able to see her face.
“As long as she’s not my godmother, then I most assuredly will gain an introduction to the Contessa,” he mumbled to himself.
Due to the loud voices, so everyone could be heard over the musicians, he didn’t hear their presentation. His only concern was the woman accompanying the contessa as he already knew her name- Bianca Maria Ledford Goretti, La Contessa de Massa. Levering himself off the pillar he started toward them, still unable to see who her chaperone was when a friend, another fellow rake, stopped him.
“Rain, I do hope you’re not going after that delicate morsel, as I’ve it on excellent authority she’s eaten up and spit out several lords,” Tony, or more precisely Anthony Fuller, Earl of Wyatt, his friend from their days at Eton then university, informed him.
“My dear friend if she does, then I’ll die a happy man for la Contessa is a gem whom I wish to possess.”
“Ah, and that’s the rub. After she dismisses you she’ll then tread over your heart leaving nothing but a shell of a man. Trust me on this for I’m sure you’ve heard the rumour her first husband died mysteriously.”
“Tony, the only lady I fear is my godmother. If you’ll excuse me I’m going to attempt an introduction,” Rainer told him. With a pat on Tony’s shoulder he stepped around his friend and started for the divan where both ladies had settled.
As he made his way forward he wasn’t surprised to see both women had already collected a small group of young ladies around them. What he found amusing were several swains on the outskirts, all trying to be noticed by either lady.
Upon seeing a frontal assault was out of the question Rainer selected to attack from the rear. Stepping into an adjourning, but linked, alcove he easily approached them and came to a halt within feet of his object.
“Damn. I thought she wasn’t in town,” he mumbled on spying his nemesis, best known as his godmother, The Duchess of Gorham.


Buy Links-

Trailer-

Bio-
I’ve been an avid readers ever since I was old enough to hold a red leather bound first edition copy of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake in my lap.
So it only seemed natural at some point in my life I take up pen and paper to start writing. Over time my skills slightly improved which I attribute to my English teachers.
My breakthrough came about in the mid 1970’s when I read a historical romance written by Sergeanne Golon, Angelique. This French husband and wife team opened my eyes to the real world of fiction. Stories about romance, beautiful damsels, handsome heroes and plots which kept me hooked. Of course, being a man, I had to keep my reading hidden from others as that wasn’t appropriate reading for men.
With this new found appreciation of the written word I took up other books and devoured them as a starving person would a plate of food. I them attempted to write again. I still wasn’t satisfied so I put it aside for years as other events entered my life.
Finally, in the early years of the new millennium I tried again to write and once again met with limited success. At least now I was able to get past the first page or two. Then, in 2006 a life changing event brought me back to my love, I took a job as a security officer. This allowed me plenty of time to read different genres.
My favourite was regency. As I poured through everyone I could get my hands on I knew this could be something I wanted to attempt.
Since 2012 when my debut regency romantic suspense released I was hooked and have, except for a few contemporaries, focused on this genre.
Since 2012 I’ve lived in central Texas. I’m also a member of Romance Writers of America and their local chapter.

Where you can find me-
Twitter- @ldowns2966
Lindsay Downs-Romance Author- http://lindsaydowns-romanceauthor.weebly.com/