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Friday, January 31, 2014

Sometimes you just have to believe in yourself.

A well-known mystery writer who lives in Cleveland once said to me ‘writing a book and having it published for all the world to see is like walking around Public Square in the nude.’  What he meant, of course, was that the writer puts him or herself ‘out there’ as a target for the slings and arrows of the entire world. It’s scary. And it’s even more scary now that we have the internet with which to contend.

Still, writers write. What else can we do? There are times when, if you believe in yourself and your creations, you just have to put yourself out there, and then wait and see what happens. Sometimes, you submit your ‘baby’ to an editor. Or editorS. (as in – many). Occasionally, we get lucky and an editor actually professes to like what we sent. And then they want to change it! More often than not, however, ‘baby’ comes back home again, complete with ‘pink slip’. (Although sometimes there’s a letter, rather than just a pink slip.) The more persistent among us send baby back out again, time after time after time.

There are wonderful stories out there about really famous authors who suffered through hundreds of rejections before finally hitting upon the right editor, who truly ‘loved’ the manuscript under consideration, and from then on, the poor author couldn’t write fast enough to keep up with the demand. We should all be so lucky! And believe me, it is LUCK that determines such things.  As hard as it is to believe now, even Steven King and J. K. Rowling collected rejections before achieving their successes!

In 1989, when I first discovered Romance Writers of America and went to my first ever conference (in Boston that year) I was overjoyed to be surrounded (sort of) by my favorite Regency authors, and the editors who supported them. I determined I was going to become one of those select authors! Didn’t happen. I wrote and sent out, and everything came back. I did achieve limited success a couple of years later in historical romance, but not Regency.

I was so determined that I’d even written a Christmas novella, not realizing that those books were a closed deal, available only to the current list of published authors. But still, I really liked my story, even if seeming no one else did! “It’s not a romance, Kelly.” To me, it was. Actually it was a love story, but there’s a world of difference between the two! It did have a happy ever after ending, sort of, but the couple were already married – to each other, I hasten to add. And it wasn’t set in society – but at the country estate of the Duke. Well, my poor Duke (who was very much the main character in the novella) languished in the filing cabinet for a good many years, in spite of all the rejections.

Then, along came the e-book readers and new publishers – same old story. Still not the right thing, but I couldn’t change it – there would be no story if I did that. And – most important – I still liked it as it was. So, last summer (June 2013) I made a decision. I had several unchosen (I like that word better than rejected, don’t you?) Christmas novellas hanging around, and I decided to publish them myself as Kindle e-books. (And later in print, both regular and large print.)

My Duke’s Christmas Gift was first published on October 1, and about a week later, (when formatting it for the print version) I discovered what was to me an egregious boo-boo! Quelle horreur! (That’s Regency for ‘Oh, no!’ or something like that.) So, I resubmitted the entire (corrected) manuscript, and this version was made available on Oct. 22.  In the meantime, I’d also published the other two novellas (A Castle Cramlye Christmas and Pongo Guthridge Finds Love.) They are vastly different from each other.

But whoa! Hang on to my hat! I was totally astonished to discover that other readers liked my Duke! I mean, they really liked him! The first time I really paid attention was October 27, when this novella was listed on the Amazon Best-seller Regency list* at #49! I nearly fell off my chair. Believe me, I then started paying attention. This previously unloved novella spent all of November and December and part of January somewhere on that top 100 list. The highest place of which I am aware was on Dec 15, when it hit #19! Talk about excited! And now it’s January, and there have been a few days when it was still there on the list, although it was #100 on January 18. Trust me. I am thrilled out of my mind by this achievement!
 (* #49 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > Regency)

 The other two haven’t reached this same pinnacle of success, but that’s okay. They’re not going anywhere, they’ll stay right where they are, and will be joined sometime this summer by their triplet cousins. They don’t know this yet, and neither do the cousins, but that’s okay. One lives in hope. Right?

If you are one of the persons who read this novella, my gratitude is endless. Thank you for taking the chance on a previously mostly-unknown author. Trust me – I do know these numbers are mostly insignificant in the big picture, but they provided an enormous thrill for this writer. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


By the way, in case you’re interested in trying this for yourself, the Cotillion (Regency) imprint of Ellora’s Cave is accepting submissions for the 2014 anthology. Theme is Christmas Feasts. Word count ranges from 12K to 25K and the deadline is May 15, 2014. (Earlier is better.) I’ll post more information about this on March 31.  And with a little bit of luck --  my progress, as well.    In the meantime . . . 

Happy Regency! And Happy Writing!


Hetty St. James  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

GIVING BACK

My daughter Tami and I are finally watching American Idol for the first time EVER this year. (I know, I know - get the shocked gasps out of the way.) It's become our Wednesday and Thursday night "thing" we do together. I confess I watch it b/c I'm a huge Keith Urban fan - saw him when he was just getting started with his debut album, playing in a small dinner theater in Milwaukee, WI. He walked right past our table, playing and singing like an old-fashioned troubador. Pretty cool.

And now he's a big-time headliner playing stadiums...and judging on American Idol. It's the initial city-to-city preliminary competition stage, choosing the (so-far) 193 people (w/one city to go yet tonight) to go to Hollywood for the show. Trying to weed through the nerves and amateur inconsistencies to find the diamonds in the rough to go on, and be the industry gatekeepers to kindly tell tens of thousands of others "you're not quite there/ready yet." It's been fascinating to me to watch Keith interacting with the other two judges, the chemistry and byplays. Because they've all three made it, that perilous journey from obscure dreamers to stardom, but they all seem to remember what it's like for those just starting out. Most of the contestants are just babies, high school kids. Others are single parents, waitresses, farm hands - all with the same dream to sing in something bigger than the church choir.

Watching the judges work together was eye-opening. Harry's the tough one, the technician. JLo's the "nice" one who says yes to way to many people. Keith more often than not ends up as the tie-breaker, b/c two out of three yeses gets you a gold ticket. Tough position to be in, but he handles it with grace and humor. What I love the most is that every rejection gets feedback - useful info that the contestant would be insane not to take to heart and use to improve (and possibly return in the future, better than ever). Feedback from an expert who's BEEN THERE is priceless. And it really bugs me when the person blows them off with a "you don't know what you're talking about" attitude. Because, umm, yeah they kinda do. Now Keith was the first to admit on camera "it's just my opinion" and that the very thing that Harry LOVES might be a deal-breaker for HIM (and vice versa) but I really loved when they told a contestant "they might be better players than you, and there might be better singers than you, but you're a whole package together - the sum is greater than the parts" and gave the guy a gold ticket.

Industry professionals giving back. Whatever the profession, experts everywhere work as judges, teachers, mentors, contest coordinators, critique partners, and so on. It goes for writing, too. It's like the in-person "pitch" sessions at conferences. You go in front of an agent or editor and tell them how wonderful your baby is, why your unique baby is so much cooler than everyone else's baby. And they have to get past the stuttering and rambling (and the dropping the cue cards under the table - yes I did that in New Jersey!) and imagine what you're talking about. The request for a partial or full manuscript is the golden ticket, their "there's something there, I want to see more of you."

Once upon a time, we were all on the outside looking in. I slogged through 22 RWA contest finals and 34 rejections before Duality sold in 2007. And people want to know "How'd you do it?" Now everyone's journey is different, but "what worked for me" can strike a chord in others, and if you can reach that one person, then it's worth it. Encouraging someone who's trying really hard, appreciating and celebrating what they do WELL as well as pointing out the weaknesses or inconsistencies that might be making it harder for them to achieve their goals, THAT'S what it's about.

So don't be shy. I think it's important to offer your services, say yes when someone asks you for help. Step up and be a "good guy." Judge or coordinate a contest, put together a class or two about something you're particularly interested in or good at, offer to look at something for someone in your writer's group who's not at far along as you are. Remember to give positive feedback as well as negative feedback. Not only can you help others learn and grow and develop, but it also helps YOU become stronger, more confident, develop a better eye and ear for the craft. We all have something to offer, strengths to play on and weaknesses to improve.You are also networking - an utter necessity in any business.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Here's What Happens When An Author Falls In Love...

When I started working on Rebound, a sexy short novella I planned to give away for free on my first anniversary as a published author, I had no intention of writing a whole series. But as I plugged way at the story, I fell in love. With the island, with the friends, with the stories. And one by one, they came to me (yeah, usually in the middle of the night) and whispered their pleas for their own books.

The end result was a total of 10 books sketched out on napkins (although there may be more because I cannot resist a dare.)

Five books are finished and out, some of them available in print as you read this. Reviews have been glowing.

Read on to learn more about the series and check out the Tryst Island Trailer: http://youtu.be/uJ1rhyeLkAM

***CONTEST ALERT***
Comment below on whose story you want to read next for a chance to win a limited edition Tryst Island T-Shirt and the book of your choice.

the SCORCHING Tryst Island Series
Fall in Love on Tryst Island...When a group of friends share a vacation house, wild hijinks, unexpected hook-ups and steamy sex ensue.

Now Available on Amazon


REBOUND—Book 1
A Smoldering Longtime Crush and a Hero on a Mission to Win His Kiss...


Kristi Cross has had the hots for her friend, Cameron Jackson as long as she can remember, but she knows she's not his type. She's nothing like the women he dates. So when he suggests they play for a kiss over a game of Hearts, Kristi can't resist. Even if she loses, she wins. Because she's finally going to taste him.

Of course, one kiss can quickly become something altogether steamier, especially when both parties are on the rebound...
#1 Amazon Erotic Romance Bestseller

PRAISE FOR REBOUND:

"You can't go wrong with a Sabrina York story. You'll want to take the
hero home with you and keep him forever. And the sex? More than you ever dreamed. Get this book today." –Desiree Holt
"Rebound had some serious SIZZLE to it. I LOVED it!" –Insightful
Minds Reviews
"Scorching hot." –You Gotta Read Reviews

DRAGONFLY KISSES—Book 2
A Scorching Obsession, A Desperate Hope


Dylan Deveney has no interest in a wild fling. He simply wants a quiet place where he can try to forget a painful past and, barring that, drink himself to death. But when he catches a glimpse of his exquisite neighbor--in the buff--his passion for life reignites.

Cassie French can't resist Dylan's allure. From his scruffy beard to his earring to his intriguing
dragonfly tattoo, she's crazy about him. And sex between them is scorching. It all seems perfect...until a tragedy from Dylan's past threatens to ruin everything.

PRAISE FOR DRAGONFLY KISSES:
TOP PICK! –Night Owl Reviews
5 STARS –The Jeep Diva
"Sweet, steamy, and heartbreaking all at the same time."—The Book Chick

SMOKING HOLT—Book 3
A Simmering Attraction, An Irresistible Challenge


Bella Cross has had a thing for Holt Lamm since college, but his scorching dominant energy scares her to death. And his list of conquests annoys her. But when Holt catches her smoking, and offers her something else to fixate on--if only for a night—she simply cannot resist.

Before long, they are both lost in an erotic exploration that will last longer than one night. Perhaps forever...

Praise for Smoking Holt
5 STARS "Smoking Holt is...SMOKING!" –Three Girls and a Book Obsession
5 STARS –The Jeep Diva
"I love this series and it just keeps getting better and
better!" –Goodreads Reviewer

HEART OF ASH—Book 4
A Steamy One Night Stand, A Passion that Could Last Forever
When Emily Donahue sets eyes on Ash Bristol, she is convinced he’s the one she’d been waiting for, her Prince Charming. But wealthy playboy Ash Bristol’ has been burned. He’s sworn off relationships, vowing to have nothing more than a series of steamy one night stands. So when he meets Emily, the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen, he resolves to seduce her, possess her…and walk away.

The passion that ignites between them has him questioning his decision. He begins to suspect he just tossed away the best thing that’s ever happened to him…and vows to win her back.

Can he survive the erotic punishment she—and her friends—devise? 

PRAISE FOR HEART OF ASH:
“I have enjoyed all the books in the Tryst Island series thus far. But, Heart of Ash is my absolute favorite.” –The Book Chick
“In true Sabrina York fashion the story was smoking hot and intelligently written.” – Tina Reiter, Riverina Romantics
“Heart of Ash is the first book I’ve read in the Tryst Island series. It certainly will not be the last.” –The Jeep Diva
“These characters are people who could be friends and neighbors…” Gaele, Top 1000 Amazon Reviewer
 

DEVLIN’S DARE—Book 5 (Out Soon!)
A No-Strings Fling Becomes Something For Which He Will Risk All
Devlin Fox has always been a player. A horny bee flitting from flower to flower. He has no idea why the sexy minx he meets on the way to Tryst Island affects him the way she does. Arousal—for her—hits him like a fist to the gut and he can’t stop thinking about her.

But Tara Romano doesn’t “do” commitments. For good reason. When she proposes they be “friends with benefits,” Devlin can’t figure out why the idea annoys him so much. It should be the perfect scenario. A gorgeous, alluring woman who only wants him for his body… He wants, needs, more from Tara, so he hits upon a plan to turn their no-strings-fling into something lasting. A series of tantalizing dares—dares Tara cannot resist.


Tryst Island Series: Now Available on Amazon



About Sabrina York
Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, is the award winning author of over twenty hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers, her titles range from sweet & steamy erotic romance to scorching BDSM. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

CURRENT PROMOS
 Enter to win a signed print copy of scorching Regency romance, Dark Fancy on Goodreads!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17409083-dark-fancy

FOLLOW SABRINA
Like my Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaYorkBooks
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Monday, January 27, 2014

RX: Read a book, recover from depression, improve critical thinking…and your vocabulary! Bring it on!

knew that sooner or later someone would discover that reading a book actually was good for you.
FICTION, especially!
Now in the USA where the average college graduate reads one book per year, (shoot me, please) reading anything is akin to revolutionary. But latest findings by different groups show us that reading:
  • stimulates nerve endings in the brain in that area which focuses on creativity;
  • fiction inspires a sense of identification with the protagonist and therefore, a compassion for his/her challenges;
  • is what doctors are now prescribing for depression because reading inspires a sense of orderliness and offers hope. This new prescription has a name/term too: bibliotherapy.
WOW.  I really like these findings.
They give me hope that:
  • Shock Treatment for the brain will end and be supplanted by Reading Treatment;
  • not only reading but writing fiction will become a means to heightened empathy for others;
  • fewer people will wind up depressed because they learned how to read and write about their personal issues and they developed a sense of objectivity about their Human Condition;
  • appreciation for memoirs and diary writing will take on new value and meaning to many who may have  negated their value in recuperating from PTSD or head injuries, even addictions to alcohol and or drugs.

I could go on, jumping up and down in my glee that so many people are advocating reading, dear sweet reading and ever so important writing as viable, useful activities.

Just imagine a world in which people are more articulate! They wish to discuss issues freely. (Yes, do see my 2 previous posts on The Art of Conversation and All I Want for Christmas.) They have a useful and colorful vocabulary which replaces the 4 letter words they use now liberally, along with the ever-so-ridiculous word, awesome.
They would speak with purpose, listen with purpose, perhaps even give up an hour of TV each day so that they could have a conversation over the dinner table!
Miraculous!
I am so ready for that.
Aren't you?
And oh, by the way, what is the book you are currently reading?
ME?
I am into LONE SURVIVOR. Had it for awhile and now must hurry so that I am well prepared for the movie.
Yes, that's me. Read THE HELP yet? Do.
GONE WITH THE WIND? Better read it first for the historical background.
How about TEAM OF RIVALS? Yep. That one, too, can rock your world.
Read and WRITE in 2014. My new mantra everywhere!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Scrivener: My New Best Friend

Actually, Jer's Novel Writer is the first novel writing software I tried. I used it several years ago for a novel that had a lot of details—mainly names—to keep track of. It was mentioned on the web as being top of the line at the time, and it had a lot of features I really liked. However, support was spotty and I don't think it's been updated for a long time.

Word is the industry standard, but it drives me crazy, so I started using OpenOffice for my initial drafts. Based on rave reviews, I bought Scrivener last year, but was too busy at the time to learn how to use it. At one point, I took the time to do a few of the lessons in the tutorial, but then I got busy doing something else, and weeks passed. The truth is, I really hate reading manuals, and tutorials are only one step up from there. But I had enough to start with, so when I ran into trouble with OpenOffice (don't you hate it when you hit a key that makes something happen you don't want and have no idea how to undo it?), it was early enough in the project to transfer it to Scrivener.

While it did take some time to get set up, much of that time was spent doing research or filling in holes of character sketches and things I'd have to be doing anyway. Taking that extra time has made my writing time that much smoother and more efficient. Let me tell you why.

Character Sketches

Each character has a page with important information such as name, role in story, occupation, background, internal and external conflicts, etc. The templates can be customized to your specifications. You can also add a photo of the character, if you have one from the web. For the major characters, I do most of this research as prep work, but for some of the secondary characters, or those that get added later—these descriptions get done while I'm writing, and afterward I add them to the character sketch in case I need to refer to it later. For some of the really minor characters, in one case I allotted them a single page just to keep track of them.

Character sketch


This feature is what I loved about Jer's Novel Writer. It's so annoying to have to hunt through my manuscript for information I've forgotten about a character. Especially toward the end when you have 20,000 words or more to go through. And then when you find it, you've lost your train of thought and it takes even more time to get it back. With this feature, all I have to do is click on the character sketch, note the information I'm seeking, and get back to my writing tout de suite.

Setting Sketches

Each location has a similar template. Even better, you can make a folder for each setting and place any number of photos or websites you might want to consult later in it. It saves having to google sites repeatedly to find information you didn't note the first time. I use this for photos of buildings and landscapes, maps, and informational sites such as Wikipedia and blogs.

Place Sketch, text view

Place Sketch, corkboard view



Manuscript Format

A manuscript is divided into separate chapters, which in turn can be divided into scenes, if you wish. A summary of the chapter events can be written on the note card in the upper right corner in case you are flipping through trying to find a particular scene. You can add labels for whatever you wish. I use it primarily to keep track of Point of View, but you can create labels for whatever you wish. There is also plenty of space for notes or reminders about things you want to get back to later.

Exporting to Word

I've only done this once, when I wanted to send a chapter to my critique partner, but it was easy-peasy.

Other Features

Scrivener has a lot of features I have not yet explored, such as Outline mode. I had my outline done prior to transferring to this software, and saw no need to redo it. What I did do was create chapters and transfer the plot summary to the note section of each chapter. I'm a plotter, but things do get changed along the way. I just like to have a roadmap before I start to make sure I'm heading in the right direction, even though sometimes a detour or two may seem propitious as things progress.

Should You Start Using Scrivener?

Maybe. Maybe not.

If you are a Word whiz and you've found it meets your needs and don't want to bother learning a new software program, then perhaps not. Especially if you have a photographic memory and/or have another way of keeping track of minutia.

If you are like me and Word makes you want to tear your hair out…and/or your memory frequently fails you, you might want to try out Scrivener with your next project. There is a learning curve, but you don't have to learn to use every feature from the get-go. Take it slow and enjoy the process!

Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a Scrivener expert by any stretch of the imagination. I know enough to be able to use it easily, and by doing so, I discover bits of the more advanced features as I go.

Susana's Releases




She's a country lady. He's a London swell. They have nothing in common. Or have they?




A wounded soldier and the girl next door find peace and love 
amidst a backdrop of rural Christmas traditions. 

About Susana

A former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, but historical—Regency in particular—is her favorite. There’s just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination.

In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around the UK and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley, Central Florida and Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.

Web site • Email • Facebook • Twitter • Linked In • Pinterest • Google+

Susana’s Parlour (Regency Blog) • Susana’s Morning Room (Romance Blog)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A writer's life ain't easy...

A few weeks ago I started major revisions on two manuscripts—one a political romantic suspense, the other a futuristic erotic romance. I then handed off my new first chapters to my critique partners and focused on rewriting the second book. I stopped because a major plot change left me uncertain as to where to go next.

Okay. I could live with that, but I still wanted to write or revise or… So I printed out the entire first book, intending to work on it.

I had input from one critique partner, but not the other. I stopped again, telling myself I wanted to compare their input before going on.

The muse is silent on any new projects, although I have many handwritten manuscripts I could transcribe. Have I mentioned how much I hate to type? Plus, my dictation system refuses to let me train it, resulting in major frustration and swearing on my part.

And another bout of “do-nothing” with anything.

I do a round of self-inflicted butt kicking and register for two conferences. As usual, I have difficulty with one registration and have to call for help. (Thank you, Tiffany, for getting me through it!)

All right! My decks are cleared. Primed to get to work, I realize it’s almost tax prep time. All I have is a box of receipts, comingled with (handwritten) notes for works-in-progress and printed research information. I sort it all into file folders and give myself numerous back pats for being such a goddess of organization.

DH is working on an erotic novella with a Feb 1, 2014 submission date. Of course, as the experience writer in the house, I feel obligated to help him with the process. I’m also extremely proud of him and am keeping all crossable body parts crossed for both of us. (I sent my manuscript in last month, so now both of us are in “hurry-up and wait” modes.)

And now I’m working on this blog so I can get back to work on my stories tomorrow.

But tomorrow is critique day and dinner with my RWA chapter’s board on our guest speaker. Saturday is the chapter meeting and Sunday…

Oh well. February 1 isn’t that far away. The first of anything is always a good day to begin anew. Isn’t it?


Happy writing!



Dee
 
Dee Brice Erotic Fantasies Where Nothing is Forbidden
Available Now from Ellora's Cave: IT TAKES A THIEF
Available October 5, 2012 from Ellora's Cave: TEMPTRESS OF TIME
For all Dee's books go to: deebrice.com
deesdites.blogspot.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dee-Brice/230424546974171?v=wall
twitter.com/deebrice

Friday, January 24, 2014

In Command of An Empire: Self Publishing by Kayelle Allen

For several years, I've wanted to write a series about five young men who were members of the Thieves' Guild. They had been sponsored by the Harbinger, the former head of the guild, known now as Luc Saint-Cyr. (Surrender Love, Tales of the Chosen trilogy, and other books). However, my current publisher did not want more than three books. Rather than decide who to leave out, or who to lump into another character's story, I decided to wait out the contract. It's finally expired, and I the entire Tarthian Empire series will be out of regular print by the end of the summer.

Tales of the Chosen
In Jan, I released the Tales of the Chosen trilogy. I get Surrender Love back in Feb, and At the Mercy of Her Pleasure in March. For Women Only comes back in June. The only book not returning to me is Forbid My Heart, which is Luc and Rah's short story. However, I have the rights to the other stories and can publish what I want from my worlds, on my own. I am in command of the empire.
Pietas

Other books I plan to write tell the story of half a million immortal warriors who were isolated on the planet Sempervia. Thousands of years later, under the leadership of Pietas, 101 were then Terran Crescent and escape. There is a group of immortals who fled the Crescent who have not joined him, but have banded together. They are called the Risen, and they have a group of followers (like the Chosen) called the Light.
exiled from there. Since then, Pietas has gathered about 800+ of those who had managed to
flee the

In addition, a group of immortals from Sempervia watch over Pietas to keep him from carrying out his plan of destroying humanity. They are the Reborn, and their followers are the Elite. One of my new series will feature the original immortals who were never captured and never fled -- they disguised themselves as mortals and remained among humans. Their followers want to bring them back to power, and are called the Ch'thon (a bastardized version of the word chthonian, who were creatures of the underworld). The new book I'm working on (hopefully out next year) is Rings of the Ch'thon. 

So while it feels great to be in control of the empire, there is a lot of work left to do. I'd better go get busy!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Scottish Romance Novels



Many historical romance readers count stories set in Scotland among their favorites, usually with handsome , muscular heroes and feisty heroines.  Most of these books are well researched with a good deal of historical accuracy.  People unfamiliar with historical romance would probably be surprised how much history romance readers learn from reading their favorite novels.

I did a great deal of historical research for my dark age romance, The Scottish Selkie, and my Iron Age Romance, Druid Bride. I love men in kilts. However, in the books above the settings are 1st century and  9th century AD , time periods prior to kilts. The research in my contemporary Scottish romances, my Dancing Vampire series, involved research more in Celtic mythology and Scottish folklore. I did put one of my heroes in a kilt, in Vampire Highland Fling. Cameron is a piper and when he plays bag pipes, at weddings and such, he wears a kilt.

My Dancing Vampire series is based on the baobhan sith, creatures of Scottish folklore, Celtic Vampiric fey. They roam the Scottish highlands in packs and all of them are women, no men. Voluptuous and enticing, these beauties are always wear green gowns. Also, they have talons. No fangs. Like other vampires, they drink human blood and fry in the sunlight. In some tales, they have hooves for feet. Often referred to as dancing vampires, they target young men coming from pubs at night. The baobhan sith dance with them until the men grow exhausted. Then the vampiric temptresses transform their long nails into talons and rake them across the men’s backs. Clawing at their victim’s skin, draining their blood, then drinking it. So the baobhan sith are always female and their victims are always men. 

Druid Bride is set in first century Scotland when the Romans fought the Picts. Two recent movies, The Eagle and Centurion, are set in the same time period as Druid Bride. My hero, Brude, is the son of a Pict chieftain and my heroine, Sulwen, is a British druidess, the granddaughter of Boudica. To put it a simply as possible, the Picts were the inhabitants of Caledonia (Scotland) when the Scots came from Ireland in the fifth century AD.  

The Scottish Selkie is set against Kenneth Mac Alpin’s rise to power. He is known as the first king of the Scotts for uniting the Picts and the Scots. He's my favorite king. My heroine, Bethoc, is a Pict princess, and my hero, Malcolm, is Kenneth Mac Alpin’s cousin and a selkie. 

Here are short blurbs for my Scottish romances: 

Druid Bride: 
The ghost of her ancestor sent Druidess Tanwen from Britannia to the strange foreign tribe of the Caledonii to wed Brude, son of the chief. But Brude is not about to marry a druidess, even though she has the most beautiful body he’s ever seen. Never mind if his blood boils and he can’t stop thinking of her. He will not wed her. Yet the fate of Caledonia rests in the hands of the Warrior and the Druidess. Will they put their differences aside to fulfill their destiny?

The Sottish Selkie: From ancient druid lore, springs the tale of a mysterious, dark warrior, a fiery Pict Princess, and the shadowy secret standing between them. 

Dance Of The Vampires: (1st in the Dancing Vampire series):  One of Ian’s six brothers kicks over the stones of an ancient cairn, unknowingly freeing Sorcha and her six sisters from underhill. The seven handsome Scots are enchanted by the voluptuous temptresses until they turn on the men. Ian captures Sorcha, giving his brothers a chance to escape. With the dark fey woman still in his grasp, Ian is saved by the rising sun.

Her sisters vanish with the light of dawn and Sorcha is trapped in the mortal realm. The seductress can’t resist Ian’s attentions as he stirs throbbing urges she’s never felt before. Ian is bewitched by the wild delights offered by this vampire siren. He can’t get enough of her. Still, her wicked sisters and his highland brothers want nothing more than to attack and kill each other. Will Sorcha and Ian’s sizzling passion prove strong enough to overcome the differences between the dark fey and humans?


Vampire Highland Fling: (2nd in the Dancing Vampire series): Murdina, a dark vampiric fey, hunts the Scottish Highlands for a man, but not for blood—Murdina wants love. She spots Cameron playing the bagpipes, and when a strong wind lifts his kilt, she takes a good look and decides he’s the one.

When Cameron meets a beautiful, mysterious woman who dances the Highland fling for him, his blood boils for her. Soon Murdina and Cameron are doing more than dancing. Wrapped in each other’s arms, they discover true love, but their time together is limited before Murdina’s fey sisters cross the portal to steal her back and probably kill him. Is their love strong enough to overcome the threat her sisters pose to Murdina’s heart and to Cameron’s life?

Ever So Bonnie A Vampire:  (3rd in the Dancing Vampire series): Calin has fantasized about Ever’s warm, curvaceous body since dancing with the vampiric fey woman a year ago. When they meet again, he wastes no time in claiming and capturing her. Once the sun rises, Ever can’t leave the earthly realm and is bound by fey lore to Calin. His lovemaking excites her like no fey man’s ever has, but she’s consumed by the vow she made to her sisters—that she would never leave them for a mortal. Fighting her feelings for Calin, Ever seeks help from goddess Morrigan.

The goddess might like to claim the handsome mortal for herself, so she frees Ever to return underhill. It isn’t until Ever is back with her sisters that she realizes her heart is still held captive by Calin. But Calin has spurned a goddess’s attentions…and now Morrigan’s lust has turned to vengeance.

One Dance With A Vampire: (4th in the Dancing Vampire series): Angus, a sexy Scottish
highlander, is consumed with dreams of a fiery vampiric fey, Charlak..Their dancing steps came to a stop a year ago when they each almost died. Angus comes upon the alluring woman again and despite the danger, he has to have one dance with the vampire. Charlak dances across a field of heather as Angus’ muscular arms clasp her body tightly to his. An insatiable hunger rises in her and it isn’t for his blood. From different worlds, fey and human, with her sisters and his brothers threatening at every turn  to keep them apart, is there any hope of happiness for Charlak and Angus or any future for their forbidden love?  

And here is the cover reveal for Valkyrie Vampire Ball (the 5th book  in the Dancing Vampire series):
I'm working on the 6th and last book in the series now. 


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Cornelia Amiri, who also writes as Maeve Alpin, writes stories with kilts and corsets, fantasy and happy endings.  She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus. Please visit her website and FB page.