In This Month’s Issue
- Monthly Chatter
- Lady Quicksilver’s Tidbits
- Monthly Giveaway
- New Venture
- Monica’s Chocolate Cake
- New-to-you Authors
Greetings from Richmond!
At least I think I live in Virginia. I tell you, I’m getting so confused with the weather going from 32 to 75 every other day. I’m completely discombobulated. Is it the same way in your neck of the woods? I wear shorts everyday to work. I mean I walk out of my bedroom and into my office. I never wear shoes, and I’m always dressed in shorts.
Comfort is essential to me. I can’t concentrate if I’m tugging and pulling at my clothes. And I have to face facts. I can no longer wear skinny jeans, because I am FAR from skinny. Ahhh, I miss the days when dropping a few pounds was easy. Not so much anymore. I don’t diet though. That’s setting myself up to fail. BIG time. In fact, I was extremely pleased with myself tonight.
I had to run out to Walgreens, and when I left the store, I was thinking, oh man, a Krispy Kreme donut would taste wonderful right about now. So I hopped into the car and headed down the road. I got to the light just before the all-night store, and I realized my clothes were feeling snug. It was like my body knew exactly where I was going, and it was silently screaming at me, which became this elaborate conversation in my head.
Body: You’re showing your crazy again, honey. You need that donut like you need a hole in your head.
Mind: Don’t listen to her, she’s just trying to deny you. You know it’s just a few hundred calories. Those things are nothing but sugar-spun air!
Body: Oh please, don’t lie to her. You know good and well one donut equals one inch added to the thigh. Speak the truth for a change.
Mind: Oh shut up, you never want her to have anything good. All you want her to eat is turkey, carrots, apples, strawberries.
Body: They’re good for her.
Mind: Booorrrrring!! Monica sweetie, they have those three packs now. It’s not like you’re going to eat a whole dozen like you did when you were younger. What harm will it do?
Body: Don’t listen to her honey. She’s all about gratification. Trust me. Keep on driving. You’ll thank me in the morning.
For once, I listened to my Body. She won the victory and I took the back route home. My body was right. I thanked her when I got home! LOL
Rochester Sisterhood #1
Lincoln and Jane
I’m still hard at work on Book 1 of the Rochester Sisterhood. Thanks to my awesome friend, Viviana, I got the whole book plotted out last week. It was the result of desperation on my part actually.
The two of us were chatting on the phone a couple of weeks ago, and I told her the whole story of the book. I outlined how Lincoln was going to do this and Jane would do that, and then this would happen, and it was beautiful. Just one problem. I didn’t take notes. So a week later I was completely at a loss as to any of the details that I’d outlined to Vivi, and I was stalled on the book.
So I told Viviana we were going to have another phone conference, and this time I was going to record our conversation. Which is exactly what I did, and I wound up getting the whole book plotted out. It’s amazing how much faster the book is going as a result. I’m not meandering.
While writing the book, I’ve been visualizing what Lincoln and Jane look like. Lincoln looks a great deal like Jude Law, who has the most amazing steel-blue eyes, just like Lincoln. So it’s easy to imagine him when he’s with Jane.
Now as far as Jane goes, she’s been much more difficult to pin down. She’s pretty, but not beautiful in the Elizabeth Taylor sort of beautiful. Although Lincoln thinks she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever met. But that’s the way it’s supposed to be, right? LOL So I’m still finding it hard to see her as someone I can post a picture of and say, here—this is Jane. Sometimes I never find the right celebrity to use as an example of what a character looks like. Sometimes they’re just there in my head, so real that I can’t make them look like anyone other than themselves. *grin*
Speaking of Jane, I wrote this great scene where all of the Rochester sisters are gathered at Jane’s home getting her ready for a date with Lincoln. It was loads of fun and reminded me of when my sisters and I get together and go out shopping or something. Do you have sisters or brothers you do things with? I don’t see my sisters often. The baby in the family is three hours away, and my middle sister lives 18 hours from me in Wisconsin. I’m lucky if I see her once a year. This new series is sort of like going home when I was a kid. You don’t appreciate what you have until you don’t get it very often. Does that make sense?
When The End Is Near
As you may remember from last month, I talked about my father-in-law moving in with us. Breaking his shoulder has caused him to decline a lot faster than we expected. He did fairly well the first week he was here in spite of the broken arm.
But he started to deteriorate as the days went by. He has gone days at a time without eating, and when I do get him to eat, I feel like I’ve won the lottery. I’m fortunate that we have a great hospice care group. His nurse Tammy, and his assigned caregiver, Melissa, who comes in an bathes him three times a week are awesome individuals. I’m so glad we have them.
Tom is aware most days, but he’s becoming more difficult to understand as his speech becomes slurred. Last week, he apologized for putting me to so much trouble. I said I was happy to do what I could to make him comfortable. He’s a really good patient. He doesn’t get cantankerous, and he’s pretty easy going, so it could be much worse.
The other day, he called for me, and when I asked what he needed, he just took my hand and said he didn’t need anything. He just wanted to say I love you. That was a stunner for me because as I’ve said, my mother-in-law didn’t like me at all, and so I assumed Tom felt the same way.
I can’t find the right word for it, but the whole experience has given me great admiration and respect for my aunt who cared for my paternal grandparents up until their deaths. It also gave me an insight as to what my baby sister had to deal with when she moved in with my mom to take care of her at the end of her battle with leukemia.
I feel fortunate that Tom really is easy to care for. I don’t mind taking care of him except for a couple of the bodily function things. He’s my father-in-law, so there’s that embarrassment and discomfort that comes with that. But I’ve surprised myself at how I’ve managed to overcome the embarrassment factor to ensure he’s comfortable. I know he gets frustrated by not being able to get up and about on his own.
But like so many things in life, we do what we have too. Even the most difficult of tasks has its own rewards, and I know that what I’m doing is a good thing, even if it has it’s moments of hardship. I’m just glad I can care for him as opposed to having to put him in a facility where he wouldn’t get the excellent kind of care we give him.
So that’s the story of my life this month. I have great admiration for caregivers who do this as a full-time occupation. It’s not an easy job, and I make sure Tammy and Melissa know how awesome they are. I’m lucky to have their support. I have no idea how long Tom has in this world, but I’m glad I can be here for him now until the end. For all of you who’ve cared for a dying loved one, you have my heart-felt admiration.
Lady Quicksilver’s Society Tidbits
Oh my dears, I have suffered from the most terrible cough. I do not know what came over me, but I did not feel well for almost a week. The doctor said there was nothing to be concerned about, although Hugh has been quite worried.
The dear man even offered to buy me several new gowns when I am fully recovered. That offer is a definite indication of his concern, and he has been most attentive since I became ill. Fortunately, I am now on the mend.
Hugh tried his best to keep my spirits up when I was unable to leave my bed for several days. He surprised me with a beautiful new mantel clock for my boudoir. It’s a French Sevres clock that chimes the hour prettily. I think perhaps I should become sick more often if Hugh is to indulge me so.
As you can imagine my illness has prevented me venturing out over the past few days. Therefore, my gossip will be quite light in substance. Although I did have the most painful visit from my dear friend, the Countess Hailstock earlier today. My heart is breaking for her, and I am at a loss as to how to help her.
Emily has been married to the earl for more than ten years now. Unlike my Hugh and I, Emily’s and the earl’s marriage was a business arrangement. Sometimes those type of marriages result in affection between the married couple, but sadly, in Emily’s case, this has not happened.
While the Queen disapproves most heartily of the members of the Marlborough Set being indiscreet, it’s not uncommon for married couples such as Emily and the earl to enter into liaisons. The Earl of Hailstock is well-known for his many mistresses who are either actresses or widows within our social sphere. It is something Emily has loathed from the moment she took her marriage vows. She had hoped for a loving marriage as Hugh and I have, but it was not to be.
To make matters worse, she was unable to produce an heir to the Hailstock title. It was thought she was barren, and has been a point the earl has always used to belittle Emily, particularly if she is within hearing distance. All of this makes her current situation most distressful and tragic. She has taken a lover, and Hailstock has discovered the fact.
Not only has she taken a lover, she’s fallen in love with him. Perhaps worst of all, she is with child. She is overjoyed that she is not barren, but she is terrified as to what Hailstock will do. Her lover has asked her to go to America with him, and Emily is taking her lover’s request under serious consideration. She asked for my advice as to what she should do, but I was ill-prepared to offer any recommendations as to her next step.
I find it sad when two people either never loved one another or have stopped loving each other. It is such a sad state of affairs. I can only hope that whatever decision Emily makes is the right one for her. When I said goodbye to her today, I felt that I will not see my friend again. Although she did not say so, I’m convinced she will go to America with her lover. I can only hope it is the right thing for her to do. The scandal alone will prevent her from ever returning to her place in society, and I have no doubt Hailstock will divorce her posthaste.
That is all the society gossip I have for this month. I shall be well soon, and I am confident I shall have a great deal of news to share with you next month. Until then, I remain your faithful servant,
This month, I’m giving away an old favorite. One digital copy of LOVE’S PORTRAIT to one winner.
January Giveaway Winners
Congrats to nursetam XXX and bookreader xxx. Congratulations ladies, emails have been sent to you with instructions. Be sure to check your inboxes.
I have a new venture I’m doing in partnership with the amazing Viviana Izzo from Enchantress Design & Promo. My writing will always come first, but this seems a natural progression for me as there are so many authors wishing to be added into my newsletter. I’m about paying it forward, and I love helping others. This seems the best way to do that.
Vivi and I want to connect readers and authors in a way that’s becoming more and more difficult on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, and other sites. So we’ve created MyForeverHEA.com.
This is NOT a review site. We will select books that we believe represent quality romance writing, strong covers and great prices. While you can always visit the site, if you sign up for the special alert email, you’ll receive a nice reminder when the site has been updated. Additionally, there will be a giveaway inside the alert email that is open exclusively to subscribers of the alert.
We’re excited about this venture, because our goal is to make it easier for readers to find new authors at budget prices without constant emails from all over the place. We have bigger plans down the road, but it will always be ALL about the reader and her My Forever HEA. If you missed the original email about this exclusive list and are interested in signing up, click on the link.
Two of my favorite recipes here for download.
Technically three *grin*
Monica’s Quiche Lorraine
I love quiche, and this recipe is a family favorite. Serve it up with either a Caesar’s salad or a simple salad, and you’ve got a feast for a king. I highly recommend this recipe.
Monica’s Fast Fudge Frosting
I don’t know about you, but I love licking the spool or spatula. I wasn’t allowed to do that growing up, but now that I’m queen in my own kitchen, I don’t hesitate to enjoy frosting straight out of the bowl! LOL
Monica: What is the one story you wish you’d written? Why?
Callie: I have been chomping at the bit to write a dark romantic suspense set in Victorian England. My publisher and I came to an agreement that if I gave her two more regencies, I could write my romantic suspense. She has her two more regencies and I am about to start The Pursuit of Mrs. Pennyworth. Watch for that later this year. I’m excited.
Callie Hutton is my guest this month. She’s a USA Today Bestselling author of Regencies, and the Q/A with her is terrific! Enjoy!
Monica: Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?
Callie: I was born and raised in a major city in New Jersey. It was also the time in our history when most mothers were at home, and there were tons of kids to play with. No video games or internet. We were sent outside to play first thing in the morning and except for lunch we were not expected back home until dinner time. In the summer time if you weren’t in when the street lights went on you were in big trouble. We all had chores and the only sports we played were with neighbourhood kids. No shuffling to dance lessons, baseball practice or piano lessons
Monica: If your friends were asked to describe you in one word what would it be?
Monica: Who are your favorite literary characters and Why?
Callie: I have always been madly in love with Jesse Cochran from my book, A Run For Love. The series has six books and he appears in five of them. I also love Drake, the Duke of Manchester from my Marriage Mart Mayhem series. That series has 7 books, and he’s in most of them, too. It seems once I settle on a character in a series, he makes it into a lot of the books. Strong, alphas.
Monica: If you could co-write with another author (any genre) who would it be and why?
Callie: I could never co-write. I tried it once and it did not work out. I am a lone wolf, lol
Monica: How much research do you have to do for your books and what’s the one thing you love about it and the one thing you loathe about it?
Callie: What I love about research is that I write historical, and I was a history major in college, so to me it’s a lot of fun. What I find frustrating is when I find something absolutely fascinating and have to put it aside because I always seem to be under a deadline.
If your friends were asked to describe you in one word what would it be?
Who are your favorite literary characters and Why?
My favorite story of all time is Alice in Wonderland. I love everything about it, even though Alice has always gotten on my nerves a bit. The characters in Wonderland are amazing. The Cheshire Cat is my favorite though I’ve always loved Caterpillar as well.
As for mine, Calder has always been very dear to me. He’s made an appearance in every book I’ve written and my readers absolutely adore him. I knew his story would be difficult to tell considering the time period and what he has to deal with, but his story has ended up being one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever had the honor of telling.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be and why?
Oh wow, that’s difficult. I’ve never thought about co-authoring and when I consider it I think of everything behind it, like writing style and technical habits and all the things we, as readers, don’t know about writers going in. I think I would say my friend Tiffany Reisz because her writing is so rave and genuine and beautiful and I mostly just want to learn from her. I do know that she’s a pantser, like me, so at least there’s that.
Monica: How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?
Callie: Easy going
Monica: If you were able to afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose?
Callie: Probably a cottage in the English countryside
Monica: What is next for you book wise in 2017?
Callie: A continuation of my Lords and Ladies in Love series, and a new (Regency) Matchmaker series
Monica: What are some other hobbies and interests you like to do when you’re not writing?
Callie: I like to cook; try new recipes, or create new ones.
Monica: When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?
Monica: Do you find it harder to write a full-length novel or novellas?
Callie: I like writing both. Novellas, of course, go quicker.
Monica: What’s the first line of a book that has stuck with you?
Callie: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it.”
Monica: Do you have a favorite memory of meeting a reader(s)?
Callie: I didn’t actually ‘meet’ this reader, but she sent me an email and told me that my Oklahoma Lovers series got her through chemo. Will never forget that.
Monica: Do you listen to music when you write? Favorite genre of music to write by?
Callie: Yes, usually romantic instrumental
Monica: Tell us about your featured book.
Richard, Marquess of Devon, and his wife, Eugenia, have been married five months. They have the perfect ton marriage. Respect and affection, with no messy entanglement such as love. Soon after Devon’s mistress dies, Eugenia stumbles onto a naughty book in a bookstore. A book that explains all the things proper ladies of the ton are unaware of, and would never consent to do with their husbands.
Once Eugenia acquires the book—scandalously—she begins a campaign to make sure her husband has no reason to replace his mistress.
Although Devon has continued to visit his paramour since his marriage, all they’ve done is play cards. Devon’s rigid upbringing impressed upon him that gentlemen slake their baser needs on a mistress, not their gently bred wives. However, once married, he was no longer comfortable bedding a woman other than Eugenia.
As bored matrons and eager widows toss him veiled invitations while he wrestles with this dilemma, his wife has begun to change. No longer the prim and proper woman he courted and married her behavior leads him to an alarming conclusion. . .
Monica: What did you enjoy most about writing this story?
Callie: Making up the lines from the book that start each chapter off. They had to be naughty and I had to use that line as a scene in that chapter.
Monica: What are you working on now? What else can readers look forward to from you this year?
Callie: Marrying the Wrong Earl is the next book in my Marriage Mart Mayhem series. That will be out on April 17th. The first book in my Matchmaker series, For the Love of the Viscount will be out in March.
Monica: If you could share one lesser known fact about yourself to our readers, what will it be?
Callie: I was an extra in the movie “Jinxed” with Bette Midler
Monica: What inspired you to write this new book/series?
Callie: I thought it would be fun to take two very staid, proper people and show them how passionate they could be.
Monica: When did you know that writing was something you wanted to do as a career?
Callie: When I read my first book.
London, 1819. Richard, Marquess of Devon is satisfied with his ton marriage. His wife of five months, Lady Eugenia Devon, thought she was, too, until she found the book. Their marriage is one of respect and affection, with no messy entanglements such as love. Devon’s upbringing impressed upon him that gentlemen slake their baser needs on a mistress, not their gently bred wives. However, once married, he was no longer comfortable bedding a woman other Eugenia. When she stumbles onto a naughty book, she begins a campaign to change the rules.
Lady Eugenia wants her very proper husband to fall in love with her. But her much changed and undeniably wicked behavior might inadvertently drive her confused husband to ponder the unthinkable—his perfect Lady has taken a lover. But the only man Eugenia only wants is her husband. The book can bring sizzling desire to the marriage or it might cause an explosion.
4.5 Stars | 4 Flames
As always I found some books from other authors you might not know. All of these books have at least a 3.5 Star rating with 25 or more reviews on Amazon or Goodreads OR I happen to know the quality of the author’s work. NOTE: Just remember!! Unless otherwise stated, I’ve NOT read these books, so I can’t recommend them one way or another.
Lords and Ladies in Love #1
Lord and Lady Devon have a perfectly proper and good ton marriage. Devon is satisfied. And Eugenia was. Until she found the book . . .
Word of Honor
Merryn and Geoffrey loved each other since childhood. Once betrothed, Geoffrey leaves for the wars in France. Upon his return, they marry and spend one blissful night consummating their love.
But her new husband vanishes the next day without a trace. Merryn grieves for years—and then Geoffrey returns to her—changed from the boy and man she knew and worshipped. This stranger refuses to reveal where he has been and why he stayed away for so long.
Will her husband’s silence create a rift too large to heal, or can Merryn and Geoffrey recapture the love they once shared?
Sweet Historical Romance
A Home For Helena
Lady P Chronicles, Book 2
Believing that she has been misplaced in time, Helena Lloyd travels back two hundred years in an attempt to find out where she belongs.
Widowed father James Walker has no intention of remarrying until he makes the acquaintance of his daughter’s lovely new governess.
Lady Pendleton, a time-traveling Regency lady herself, suspects that these two belong together. First, however, she must help Helena discover her true origins—and hopefully, a home where she belongs.