Thursday, August 25, 2016

Grace - Chapter 1 (or Prologue)

Because of Julia's comment below, I'm adding a warning: This story is being told in "drabbles",  short pieces of exactly 100 words. It's a writing challenge just for fun. Each chapter might sound vague, but this is to be an outline. I welcome your input, suggestions, critiques, etc.

Three girls huddled together in a most unladylike fashion as the other boarding school students rushed past out the door.

“Promise me we will always be friends,” Constance whimpered.

“Of course we will,” Violet snapped.

“We are soul mates, destined to have found one another in our time of need,” Grace said.

“Ever the writer.” Violet murmured.

“What do you expect from the daughter of a publisher.”

“Better that than a gentleman farmer. I’m little more than a brood mare to him.”

“Has he found you a husband?” Grace asked.


“But The Season is still upon us,” Constance reminded.

Continue reading this outline on my Wattpad account. 

That Story Prompt Has Sparked Something

That story prompt sparked an idea in me. I have always loved wallflowers and bluestockings and young women who fight against their forced gender roles. Gabriella has become Grace (my daughter liked the name better) and she and her friends are wallflowers bent on revenge.

I recently learned about drabbles, short stories that consist of exactly 100 words. Since I love writing flash fiction it sounded perfect for me! I am going to write the entire story out in drabble size chapters. If I get enough feedback I hope to embellish it and turn it into a series.

I will post the entire outline on and Wattpad.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Story Prompt: Less Than a Second

I was given a story prompt in a recent RWA thread and decided to go for it.

Story prompt: It was less than a second, but it changed everything. 

I had finally done it. I had gotten my heart's desire to notice me. I had been swooning over Charles Lancaster for years, spying on him across the room from my regular position at the wall. Other girls would pass by and giggle at those of us who congregated there. Some were even cruel enough to offer their unsolicited advice when they noticed where my gaze wandered.

"Oh, Gabriella, you are positively deluded if you think to set you sights on Lancaster!"
"Gabby, you haven't got a prayer!"
"YOU? And Charles Lancaster? Ha!"

So what if I fancied myself as the belle of the ball one day? Charles might notice me. I could dream. I certainly had no wish to become Mrs. Francis Cole or Mrs. Harry Knight. Those were my mother's choices for me. She had no faith in my abilities to attract a man of importance, such as the heir to the Lancaster fortune. No, she thought I could do no better than a merchant or solicitor. Frankly, I thought the same. I stood there in quiet desolation.

But then something happened. Charles was heading in my direction! We locked eyes and he smiled. I smiled back and was planning to be very forward by offering my hand and introducing myself. I stepped into his path and he stopped. I opened my mouth, took in a fortifying breath...and burped.

His friends, the ones I hadn't noticed, roared with laughter. Charles bit his lip and did his best not to. My face flamed, but I stood tall, trying not to cry. Then he did something most unexpected.

He winked at me.

I watched him walk away, feeling my heart swell a little bit more. I gasped when he turned his head and looked back at me.

In less than a second (plus eight years, four days and two hours) I, Gabriella Huntington, had finally gotten Charles Lancaster, to notice me.

Time would tell if that was a good thing or a bad thing.


Hope you all enjoyed this. Thank you for the prompt, Hannah! I needed a nudge tonight.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Blog Background Flash Fiction, Story 3 - The Wrong Ship

Johanna lay still with her eyes closed becoming aware of  a rolling motion. In a dreamlike stupor she wondered briefly if there was an earthquake, but it didn't stop. She thought maybe she had drunk too much champagne the night before and was just dizzy. She vaguely remembered toasting her best friend at her wedding. Then toasting the groom, the parents of the bride, the parents of the groom and so on. She needed to avoid alcohol altogether in the future. Not only did she usually wake up in a fog the next day, but it stuffed up her nose. Allergies sucked. Wait. How could she be dizzy while lying still? She sat up quickly and blinked a few times, trying to focus. A shaft of light came down through a lone round window.

A window she did not recognize.

Where the hell was she? This was not her room. She glanced around at the dark wood antique furniture. It was the most beautifully ornate stuff she had ever seen, but again not hers. She climbed out of the railed wooden cot. Her long bridesmaid dress weighing her down a bit. Great. She had slept in her expensive silk gown. That was ruined forever, not that she would ever have cause to wear it again. She noticed a pitcher and bowl on a table and walked over to pour some water out and splash her face. As she patted her cheeks she thought it strange that there was a pitcher and bowl rather than a sink. Fortunately she knew what it was from all the historical romance books she read. On another table were some crystal decanters. She hoped one of them was just water. She pulled out the stopper on a bottle of clear liquid and sniffed. Thank goodness. She found a pewter mug and filled it, taking small sips as she tried to get her bearings.

Had she gone home with one of the groomsmen? Well, to his stateroom or whatever? It was obvious she was on a boat. And the furnishings in the room were all secured so they wouldn't fall over or slide off surfaces. That made sense since the wedding had been at the marina. This just didn't look like any yacht she'd ever seen. It reminded her of that old pirate-looking ship docked in San Diego's harbor. Star of India? Whatever. She needed to get out of here. How embarrassing would it be if her date walked in and she couldn't remember his name?

She got her sea legs and stepped into the corridor. The walls were dark wood here too. Mr. no-name date sure had done a spectacular job on this. It looked almost new. She ran her fingers along the smooth wall as she walked. Upon hearing voices she made her way up some steps into a bright sunny day. She closed her eyes and smiled as the beams caressed her face. She didn't have a hangover after all. She felt great.

She took a deep breath of fresh clean air and opened her eyes to see a bunch of strange men staring at her. They must be doing some sort of historical reenactment. Their clothing was definitely not of this time. Oh, crap! What if they were filming a movie and she had just ruined the shot? She smiled sheepishly. She was the only woman here, obviously having just come from someone's room.

"Hey," she said with a little wave, trying to act casual. "I'll just be going now." They all gave her an odd look. She had to get out of here. She turned to look for the exit to the dock and froze. She felt the blood drain from her face. There was no exit. She turned and glanced around in every direction, thinking she must be seeing things. There was nothing for miles but water.

"And how is milady this morning?" A deep voice with a sexy Scottish lilt rolled over her. She shook her head and steeled herself to demand answers. She couldn't let a sexy voice get to her. She turned to face her host and was struck dumb by the bluest eyes she had ever seen. The eyes glinted with humor along with a dimple and full smiling lips. She exhaled in a gasp ending in a whimper. "Cat got yer tongue, luv?"

"I'm sorry. I'm just really confused. I don't know how I got here or where here is. Did I sign up for some historical cruise?" Or had she gone home with this gorgeous creature? No. She would've remembered. "Who are you?"

"I could ask the same of you."

"Excuse me?"

"Who are you and how did you get on my ship?"

Good question.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Blog Background Flash Fiction, Story 2

Here is the second flash fiction related to my blog image.

Night Ship

Jenny walked along the shore, wiping the tears from her face. They fell aster than she could swipe them away. She wasn't even sure how she made it down to the beach. She tried to focus on the feel of the sand slipping between her toes. Where were her shoes? She glanced down to see her nightgown fluttering in the sea breeze. Strange that she would wander around in her sleepwear. She looked back toward the way she had come. The lights from Castle Montague glowed brightly in the windows. Did anyone miss her or even notice she had left the grounds? Not that she cared, having no intention of marrying the Duke of Rutherford. She would run away before she would endure than horrible man's touch. It was the twentieth century for God's sake! Who arranged marriages anymore?


Jenny froze. She recognized that deep sexy baritone, but hadn't heard it in so long. Or was it from a dream? She took a shaky breath and turned to face the man who had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. It was dark and she couldn't see him clearly. "Do I know you, sir?"

"Know me? I am wounded." He sounded sad.

"You called me Geneva. My name is Jenny."

"You don't remember do you, my love?"


The clouds parted and the full moon shone down on her mystery man. She gasped. He had the most handsome face she had ever seen, rugged but gentle. He was tall and broad, lean and muscular. His dark wavy hair just brushed the collar of his shirt. She couldn't tell the color of his eyes, but they were smoldering, like he was trying to see inside her soul. His style of dress seemed out of place, like a costume. There was something familiar about him, but she just couldn't place him.

He held out his hand to her. "Come. You will remember in a moment."

She felt no fear and reached out. The moment their hands touched she was assaulted by memories of their life together. Not just one life, but many lives. They had been together over and over throughout time. She gasped and would have collapsed from the shock if he hadn't caught her in his arms. "Christoph," she breathed. "How are you here?" She feared the answer even as she recognized the truth.

"I'm dead."

He nodded. "You were running away and fell." He pointed toward the castle. No, not to the castle itself, but the cliffs. She saw a bit of white fabric rustling over the edge of an outcropping.

Sadness consumed her, but then she realized something. "Why were we not together in this lifetime?"

He smiled. "My time on this earth had been played out. I have been patiently waiting for you. I am a guide, here to help you cross over."

"So we will never be together again?"

"Actually, we can be together for eternity if you so desire." He directed her gaze out over the ocean. A beautiful ship appeared, its sails billowing in the wind. "You can be my helpmate. Our purpose will be to assist other souls cross this ocean to their new life. It is not always easy, as some do not wish to leave. Perhaps it will be easier if we share the burden."

There was no hesitation. "Yes," she said and was wrapped tightly in his embrace. She squeezed her eyes shut and when she opened them again they were on his ship staring back at her old home. As they sailed away and her old life grew smaller she felt nothing but hope and joy. She looked forward to helping lost souls.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Learn to Write a Story a Week

How to Write a Story a WeekI don't remember how I found this article, but I thought it sounded like a great idea! Write a story a week to improve your craft. The website The Write Practice gives you a daily plan on how to accomplish this feat.

In a nutshell:
Monday - Settle on your story idea.
Tuesday - Write your opening act.
Wednesday - Write the climax.
Thursday - Resolve the plot.
Friday - Revise your story.

There are much more detailed instructions at their site, so go check it out and let me know how you did. If I attempt this massive undertaking I will post my stories here and on Wattpad.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Nocturne by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

First let me start off by saying I love sexy steamy romance novels, the steamier the better. This book was not one of them. Nocturne is a gentle love story about two lonely people who find each other through their passion for music.

Young governess Ella Montgomery is still grieving the death of her beloved father when she is hired at Blackheath Manor. The earl and his countess are not very welcoming, but their five year old twin daughters are adorable, making the job bearable. Ella is utterly alone since she is unable to befriend any servants--and the housekeeper seems to despise her.

When Ella discovers a mystery man playing piano late one night she befriends him. He turns out to be the earl's brother Thomas who has been kept hidden away due to his crippling wounds from the war. Their love of music bring them together, while finding a friend each so desperately needs. Their falling in love was believable and not rushed at all, despite this being a novella.

This was a sweet story with a happy ending full of hope and new beginnings.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Blog Background Flash Fiction, Story 1

As a writing challenge I have decided to come up with flash fiction stories about my blog background image. It's an image I found online. I completely fell in love with it and bought the rights to use it commercially. It will most likely end up on the cover of my first historical romance.

Here we go! Flash fiction, story #1...

Sailing Away

The full moon hung low in the sky, illuminating the rippling waves in the wake of the ship. Unable to sleep, Darcy leaned his chin in his hands and stared out at the water. Had it really been less than a day since his elder brother had sold him into service aboard this vessel? How would he survive among such a tough crew? The most physical pursuit he had ever engaged in was climbing apple trees on his family's estate. He sighed. That was another lifetime, another boy. Now he would have to become someone new, someone harder. Glancing up at the masts, he pondered. "They are not so different from apple trees." For the first time since stepping aboard, Darcy smiled.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Taken by the Duke by Jess Michaels

Romeo and Juliet meets Beauty and the Beast.

In Taken by the Duke we first learn there is an age old feud between two families.The story starts off with a heartbreaking fatal accident. (I was crying over the prologue!)

To avenge his sister's death, Christian Rothcastle kidnaps Lady Ava Windbury, the sister of his enemy. A simple abduction turns into a sinful bargain. Ava agrees to stay with Christian for three weeks as his mistress if he promises not to hurt her brother. The only problem is once they start neither wants it to end.

This is a highly erotic historical romance. There are a lot of graphic sex scenes, but they are exquisitely written and emotionally charged.

I enjoyed watching Christan and Ava fall in love. I only wish there had been an epilogue.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Listen to the Moon by Rose Lerner

It's rare for me to find historical romance novels that are not about people in the gentry or royalty or marrying into the gentry or royalty. This book is about the servants who support them and I loved it!

Listen to the Moon is about Suki Grimes, a young maid-of-all-work who is content with her lot in life. She has no dreams or aspirations other than to avoid marriage. Her father had abandoned her and her mother when she was a child, even though her mother was in love with the man. Apparently love doesn't mean anything.

John Toogood (no puns please) was the valet to the main character in Rose Lerner's previous book, Sweet Disorder. When John finds himself out of a job, through no fault of his own, he is led to a new position: butler to the local vicar. The only catch is the job will only go to a married man. The job seems a good fit for John, but when he is offered a high paying position with his previous employers, he has to decide if he wants the fancy home with more money or the simple quiet life.

John and Suki are attracted to each other, but it's not love when they get married. It's financial need and lust. Love builds over time and is very believable. This story was a breath of fresh air. The characters in this book are poor, but happy. They appreciate the little things in life. We also get to learn about the different classes in the servant world.

Listen to the Moon was sweet, charming and fascinating. The love scenes were sexy and there were plenty of them.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

I Joined RWA

After chatting with a several authors over the past few months I was told repeatedly to join RWA (Romance Writers of America). These published authors told me how much that group has helped them, from meeting other writers in the forums to joining local chapters to the online classes.

Well, a few weeks ago I decided to do it. After all, the annual fee is a business expense. I also joined the local chapter which happens to be very close to me. Yay!

Already I have made a few connections, taken a workshop and joined an online class! Sure there are lots of free resources online, but it's nice to have access to all of it in one place, meet other serious writers and learn from them. It's also nice to have them think of me as a colleague, rather than some random person on the internet.

I will let you know about my experiences as they happen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

An Indecent Invitation and A Brazen Bargain by Laura Trentham

An Indecent Invitation was my first book by author Laura Trentham.  It is the story of Lily Drummond, a young woman who is searching for her missing father. Her brother's best friend Gray Masterson has known Lily her entire life, but had been away for several years spying for The Crown with Lily's brother. When he returns to England he is stunned by the charming beauty Lily has become, but fights the attraction because he feels unworthy. He is untitled and Lily is the daughter of an Earl. Of course, Lily feels the opposite. Gray is her ideal man. She's been in love with him since they were children. When she asks Gray to let her help in the search for her missing father, he knows she will do it on her own, so he reluctantly agrees. 

I was worried I wouldn't enjoy this book because the series is called Spies and Lovers. I'm not much into spy stories. Fortunately the spying was not excessive and I found myself on the edge of my seat, worrying about Lily's undercover adventures and wondering who the villain was. There were some very satisfying love scenes, too. 

The theme of the brother's sister and best friend falling in love is my favorite!

Because I enjoyed the first book so much I had to read the sequel. The tables are turned in this story! A Brazen Bargain is about Lily's brother Rafe Drummond and her best friend Minerva Bellingham.

Rafe is recovering from a traumatic event that happened on his last spy mission. It has left him feeling unworthy of love. Minerva is an independent woman, planning never to marry. She has been running her younger brother's ducal estate until he comes of age. Unfortunately that has led to his spoiled nature. She does the work and he just goofs off.

After a drunken night of gambling leaves her brother in debt to Rafe, she goes to her friend's brother in the hopes of having the debt waved. No such luck. Rafe blames Minerva for his sister's inappropriate behavior in the first book. Secretly he longs for her. He tells Minerva he will forgive the debt if she and her brother come work for him for three months. He thinks she needs to be taken down a peg or two, not really knowing her character at all. Her brother is in need of some tough love and an education in estate management. It's a good education for all.

This exciting romantic story had some very HOT sex scenes that left me fanning myself.

I know there are at least two more books in the works and I eagerly await them!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Fair Lily by Meara Platt

This was my first book by Meara Platt and I enjoyed it very much! My Fair Lily is a delightful story with lots of humor. 

Lily is charming, hopeful and very intelligent. She is a scientist currently studying animal behavior. She has plans to marry a fellow scientist so they can be partners in all things. That is until she meets Ewan, her neighbor's Scottish friend. She starts to question her feelings for both men. 

Ewan is a gruff and unrefined Scottish Laird. He has no plans to marry an Englishwoman, especially because it's what his estranged English grandfather desires. Ewen befriends Lily, but fights his feelings every step of the way.

Apparently there is a love curse on the street where they meet, so destiny is going to happen no matter what.

There are some love scenes, but they happen later in the book. I prefer a little more steam, and at least by the halfway point; however, that won't stop me from reading the others in the series. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

His Wicked Seduction by Lauren Smith

I just discovered Lauren Smith a few months ago and have already read a bunch of her books. His Wicked Seduction is my favorite so far. It's the second installment in her League of Rogues series.

The League is a group of friends who met in school. They consider themselves a bit wild and reckless, but they are now growing and maturing. Each will be swept away by love, much to their dismay.

In this story Lucien has feelings for his best friend's sister Horatia and has been avoiding her for years because of it. 

Horatia has been in love with Lucien since she was a young girl, but now she intends to get her man by any means necessary. 

Stopping them is a League rule about "no sisters", as well as Lucien's own negative feelings about himself. He thinks he is sexually perverted just because he enjoys a bit of bondage. 

One of my favorite romantic storylines is the brother's best friend. This did not disappoint. Lauren Smith writes with so much humor and affection for all her characters. I look forward to watching the other "rogues" fall in love.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Dark Angel & Lord Carew's Bride by Mary Balogh

I have started a mission to read something by every author on the Historical Romance Retreat guest list. There are many I had never read before!

The second author on the list is Mary Balogh and I picked up a compilation of Dark Angel and Lord Carew's Bride.

Dark Angel is the story of Jennifer, a young woman who has been waiting five years to marry Lionel, a handsome man who turns out to be an ugly villain. In the meantime our hero Gabriel is setting out to destroy said villain for impregnating and deserting his stepmother. Gossips think Gabriel was the villain in that melodrama. He attempts to break up the betrothal and humiliate Lionel, but the tables are turned when Gabriel finds himself the one now betrothed to Jennifer.

Lord Carew's Bride follows Jennifer's cousin Samantha, who had secretly been in love with Lionel the villain. He had been merely toying with a young girl's affections. It's five years later and she has vowed never to love because it only brings heartache. When she meets the landscape gardener at her cousin's neighboring estate, she strikes up a friendship, unaware that he is actually the owner. Hartley Wade, Lord Carew falls instantly in love with Samantha, but hides his identity, wanting to know if her feelings are for him, rather than his title. Due to his physical disabilities, he dubs himself the beast to her beauty. I adore beauty and the beast themed stories.

Both of these books came out in 1995.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloisa James

Here is my first book review (since I have nothing of my own to share... YET). This book came out in 2014, just in case you think it's something new.

FYI, I will only post about books I like and want to recommend.

Three Weeks with Lady X is a continuation of the Desperate Duchesses series. This is book 7. The main character, Tobias Dautry (aka Thorn), is the illegitimate son of The Duke of Villiers (my favorite character from the entire series!). In order to make himself appear more respectable towards his intended bride's family, he hires Lady Xenobia India St. Clair to renovate his country estate.

Lady X, or India to her friends, is an independent career woman who has decided to quit and find a husband. This is to be her final project, but she has her hands full trying to turn a rundown estate into a palace fit for a princess. She works hard to make Thorn the perfect husband for another woman, while he intends to set her up with his best friend. Both realize the error of their ways, when it becomes obvious they are perfect for each other.