Monday 30 September 2019

Join #HistoricalRomance author, Anna Campbell as she explores the trouble with writing a series. Anna is also giving away one Kindle copy of her fabulous book — The Laird’s Willful Lass @AnnaCampbelloz

Series Fever!
By Anna Campbell

If any of you have even a passing acquaintance with romance novels, you’ll know that the series is king. Aussie romance writer Stephanie Laurens really launched the craze with her books featuring the tempestuous Cynster family, starting with Devil’s Bride in 1998. This series is still going strong with 20 bestselling novels so far.

I have a good friend currently doing a PhD on series in genre fiction and he finds romance such an anomaly when it comes to how each story links with the others. In romance fiction, most series are made up of several self-contained love stories, usually at least three, sometimes many more, with a guaranteed happy ending for that story’s principal couple at the end of each book.

How is this a series, you ask. Well, the stories usually take place in a unified world and the characters are linked in some way. Often they’re family members. Sometimes they’re linked as friends or colleagues. In my Sons of Sin series, for example, three of the four heroes are friends from Eton where scandal relating to their births made them targets for bullying.

Romance readers want a satisfying end to their love stories, so each book focuses on a particular couple and their journey to happiness. There may be an overarching issue that links all stories – something like finding a missing heiress, or whether the demons massing against our protagonists conquer the world, or who murdered Mr. X – but each story contains a complete plot arc with a happy ending.

One of the joys of series is that characters who star in other stories wander in and out. Readers love an update on how beloved characters get on after “their” book finishes. When you get involved in a series, reading each book is a bit like going to a party full of great friends you haven’t seen for a while. The party might celebrate Fred and Nora’s engagement, but you also get a chance to catch up with Murgatroyd and Wilhelmina. “How are the kids?” “Where are you living now?” “Did you end up getting that promotion?”

I sold my first book to HarperCollins back in 2006 and even then, very few standalone romance novels were being published. Having said that, my first six books were standalones (although there’s a loose link between Claiming the Courtesan, Tempt the Devil, and My Reckless Surrender). When I moved to Hachette for the Sons of Sin books, my editor was determined that I was going to write a series, although Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed had been submitted to her as another standalone story.

Sons of Sin ended up being accepted as a trilogy, except…

And this is what I want to talk about today. The trouble with series!

Sons of Sin ended up being six books: four full-length historical romances and two novellas. Not the original plan at all! When you spend so long immersed in a series, you keep coming up with great ideas that fit the landscape.  You also meet characters who are screaming out to have their own stories – and readers are screaming for the stories too.

So what is a girl to do but keep writing more books in the series?
When I decided to become an independent author, I knew enough to know that writing series was the way to make a career. So I started out with a trilogy about three Regency widows who decide to put aside the sadness of their past and take society by storm.

Do you note I said trilogy? The Dashing Widows ended up being seven books, with the possibility of future spin-offs featuring the next generation. When I got to the end of the sixth book, I said, “That is quite enough.” Except there was this one character who hadn’t had a happy ending and he really deserved one, not to mention he was hero material. VoilĂ  Lord Garson’s Bride which came out early last year.

Currently I’m working on a series about three roguish Highlanders called The Lairds Most Likely. Again, note I said three! Book 1, The Laird’s Willful Lass, came out as planned and introduced Fergus Mackinnon and his friends Diarmid Mactavish and Hamish Douglas. So far, so good, until I needed to write a Christmas story last year. Suddenly Book 2 wasn’t The Highlander’s Lost Lady, Diarmid’s story, it was The Highlander’s Christmas Kiss featuring a couple of cousins. Lost Lady came out in April as Book 3.

I’m currently finalising Book 4, The Highlander’s Defiant Captive, which I’ll be back to talk about next month. Then there’s this year’s Christmas story, The Highlander’s Christmas Quest. Poor old Hamish will have to wait for his happy ending until 2020 and Book 6, with another book and a Christmas story planned to end the series.

Saying “end the series” provokes a hollow laugh. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that series grow like Topsy! Stay tuned!

The Laird’s Willful Lass
The Lairds Most Likely Book 1
By Anna Campbell

An untamed man as immovable as a Highland mountain…

Fergus Mackinnon, autocratic Laird of Achnasheen, likes to be in charge. When he was little more than a lad, he became master of his Scottish estate, and he’s learned to rely on his own unfailing judgment. So has everyone else in his corner of the world. He sees no reason for his bride—when he finds her—to be any different.

A headstrong woman from the warm and passionate south…

Marina Luchetti knows all about fighting her way through a wall of masculine arrogance. In her native Florence, she’s become a successful artist, no easy feat for a woman. Now a  commission to paint a series of Highland scenes promises to spread her fame far and wide. When a carriage accident strands her at Achnasheen for a few weeks, it’s a mixed blessing. The magnificent landscape offers everything her artistic soul could desire. If only she can resist the impulse to smash her easel across the laird’s obstinate head.

When two fiery souls come together, a conflagration flares.

Marina is Fergus’s worst nightmare—a woman who defies a man’s guidance. Fergus challenges everything Marina believes about a woman’s right to choose her path. No two people could be less suited. But when irresistible passion enters the equation, good sense soon jumps into the loch.

Will the desire between Fergus and Marina blaze hot, then fade to ashes? Or will the imperious laird and his willful lass discover that their differences aren’t insurmountable after all, but the spice that will flavour a lifetime of happiness?


*Giveaway is now closed.

Anna Campbell is giving away one Kindle download copy of her fabulous book

The Laird’s Willful Lass.

All you need to do is answer this question:

Do you have a favourite series, if so, what is it?

Leave your answer in the comments at the bottom of this post.

Giveaway Rules

• Leave your answer in the comments at the bottom of this post.
• Giveaway ends at 11:59pm BST on October 8th .
You must be 18 or older to enter.
• Giveaway is only open Internationally.
•Only one entry per household.
• All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
•Winners will be announced in the comments.
• Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Pick up your copy of
The Laird’s Willful Lass

Anna Campbell

ANNA CAMPBELL has written 10 award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins and her work is published in 22 languages. She has also written 23 bestselling independently published romances. Anna has won numerous awards for her Regency-set stories including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (three times), the Heart of Excellence (twice), the Write Touch, the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance (five times). Anna is currently engaged in writing the Lairds Most Likely series which starts with The Laird’s Willful Lass (2018). When she’s not travelling the world seeking inspiration for her stories, she lives on the beautiful east coast of Australia.

Connect with Anna: Website • FacebookTwitterBookBubGoodreads.

Saturday 28 September 2019

The Coffee Pot Book Club Book Cover of the Month for Septembers is — Sons of the Wolf by Paula Lofting #HistoricalFiction @Paulalofting

The Coffee Pot Book Club

Book Cover of the Month

Goes to...

Sons of the Wolf

By Paula Lofting

"Bloody. Brutal. Brilliant." - Mary Anne Yarde author of the Du Lac Chronicles founder of the Coffee Pot Book awards.

On the battlefield, Wulfhere fights for his life but elsewhere the enemy is closer to home, sinister and shadowy and far more dangerous than any war.

A forbidden love affair rekindles a dangerous ancient bloodfeud and when Lord Harold, Earl of Wessex, demands that Wulfhere, thegn of Horstede, wed his daughter to his sworn enemy, Wulfhere must find a way to save his daughter from a life of certain misery at the hands of the cruel and resentful Helghi without compromising his honour and loyalty to his lord, Harold.

A tale of Battles & Bloodfeud in the years leading up to the Norman Invasion.

"Paula Lofting has woven an excellent story around the sparse records of historical events that are available from the opening years of the second millennium."

Winner of Chill with a Book Award and BRAG Medallion Award.
It is 1054 and King Edward sits on the throne of England.

Pick up your copy of

Sons of Wolf

Paula Lofting

Paula Lofting is the author of two published books in her series set in the Eleventh century: Sons of the Wolfand The Wolf BannerShe is currently working on the third book, Wolf’s Bane. A psychiatric nurse by day, she writes in her spare time and also blogs at 1066: The Road to Hastings and Other Stories.

#BookReview — Dragons in the Clouds by David Blair #mIddlegrade #HistoricalFantasy #Dragons @daveblr77

Dragons in the Clouds
By David Blair

“Dragons in the Clouds’’ is a epic adventure that takes place during a time period when Dragons were alive and freely roamed the land. The people during this time were getting eaten by a vicious species of Dragon. The ruling King finally orders the total annihilation
 of all living dragons. A powerful wizard, named Merlinus, who is a friend to the king, does not agree with the Kings order, for Merlinus knows all Dragons are not what they seem. So he does what he must to protect a family of Dragons that he had befriended. And to protect his Dragon friends, Melinus performs the spell of weightlessness and tells the Dragons to fly up and to hide in the cover of the Clouds. An unforeseen ability of the Dragons weightlessness spell is that a Dragons fire now looks like that of lightning and their roar is like that of thunder. Melinus tells the Dragons to live within the clouds and to only come down at night to eat. An apprentice to the wizard who has grandeur of his own has a plan for Dragons that he has hidden deep within a mountain cavern. Now enters a widowed mother, her young boy, who had also befriended a dragon, though a very young one. They suddenly find themselves caught between the Kings order and a battle that has begun between two species of Dragons. A battle that would determine control of the skies above the Kingdom of Albian. This Apprentice’s plan has consequences that may bring the Kingdom and perhaps the very world we live in today to an devastating end.

“Merlinus might be hiding dragons...”

On the orders of King Arturus, all dragons are to be killed on sight. There have been too many deaths, too many good men devoured by these loathsome beasts. It is time to put an end to the dragons' unchecked reign of terror.

For the powerful sorcerer, Merlinus, Arthurus’ decree is both troublesome and disturbing. Not all dragons, kill. Not all are loathsome. But the King is set upon driving the dragons to extinction and this Merlinus cannot allow. However, to go against the king and the will of the people is a monumental risk. If it is ever discovered that he is hiding dragons, then the consequences will be severe.

Unbeknown to Merlinus, he has an enemy. An enemy who will do anything to discredit the renowned wizard.

Can Merlinus save the dragons in time? And who is this enemy that would destroy everything that Merlinus has worked so hard to achieve?

From a dark and dangerous night in the Albion Forest to the dragons last stand high up in the sky above Merlinus’ castle, Dragons in the Clouds by David Blair is the unforgettable story about one man’s fight to save a species from annihilation and the unbreakable friendship between a young boy and his dragon.

With its easy prose style and a wonderfully compelling narrative, Dragons in the Clouds is a real treat for children of middle grade reading age. The story is compelling, without being overcomplicated, and there is enough action to keep even the most reluctant reader entertained. 

Set within the backdrop of Arthurian legends, Dragons in the Clouds is a thoroughly enchanting story and perfect for children to not only read alone, but it also works as a great bedtime story. I thought the relationship between David, and his best friend, Rago the dragon, was beautiful in its simplicity and enjoyable in the telling. David has more reasons than anyone to hate the dragons, but like Merlinus, he understands that not all dragons are the same. David will defend Rago, no matter what that may cost him. David is a young hero that the reader can really get behind, and his relationship with Rago helps drive this story forward.

I thought the characterisation of Merlinus was terrific. He is everything a wizard should be. He is intelligent, cunning, and above everything else, he is someone who will take a stand against injustice even in the face of considerable opposition. His desire to help the dragons is marred only by the fear that the dragons will be discovered.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had everything an excellent middle-grade book should have. Younger readers of Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon series will be utterly enchanted by David Blair’s Dragon in the Clouds.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

Pick up your copy of
Dragons in the Clouds

David Blair

I am the creator and writer of the original story, ''Dragons in the Clouds'' My most favorite and influential writer would be Rod Sterling, of the fame television show ''The Twilight Zone''. Also Charles Dickens, ''A Christmas Carol'' to this day has a place in my heart. I was captivated watching that show. All my work has a paranormal feel too it. I recently worked as a production supervisor for EnterAktion Studios. I started my story telling at the young age of 14. A student film called ''Destination Destiny''. I am so grateful to have this opportunity.

Connect with David: WebsiteTwitterGoodreads.