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Not long now…
Thursday, June 19th, 2014

The Wickedest Lord AliveThe third instalment in the Westruther series, THE WICKEDEST LORD ALIVE, will be in stores on 1 July in the United States. In Australia, the e-book will be available on 1 July and the print book will be on sale on August 27.

This is Xavier, Marquis of Steyne’s story. He’s the sarcastic, cool, enigmatic one.

His attitude to love is uncompromisingly cynical, as you can see from this conversation with his cousin Cyprian, the poet:

“I’m writing a poem about thwarted love,” Cyprian announced. “I’m having the Devil of a time with it, if you must know, Coz.”

“My heart bleeds,” said Xavier.

The boy slapped his knee and sat up with sudden energy. “That’s just it. The heart. The organ of amour. The receptacle of tender emotions in a man’s breast. I have never been thwarted in love, so how am I to write about it?”

Xavier snorted. “Romantic love is a pretty concept dreamed up by people who need some noble justification for slaking their lust.”

Cyprian stared at him as if he’d just killed a puppy. The young man swallowed, then his widened gaze strayed to his work.

Mercilessly, Xavier added, “Given the entire concept is a construct, you need only use your imagination if you want to write about it. Make it up, why don’t you? Just as so many deluded idiots have done before you.”

Before Cyprian could frame a response, Lydgate strolled into the room. “Ah,” he said, taking in the situation in a swift glance. “Pricking the bubble of love’s young dream again, Xavier?”

Xavier snorted. “Merely stating facts.”

“Don’t listen to him, Cyprian,” said Lydgate. “A more cynical man you will never meet.”

Cyprian had been staring at Xavier with blank horror. Now, he shook himself and laughed. “Oh, I have learned by now not to regard anything my cousin says about tender emotions. It is well known he has an icicle for a heart.”

The boy hadn’t meant to wound him. He certainly hadn’t succeeded.

“I wonder,” said Lydgate with a gleam of speculation in his eye.

“My heart is an organ which pumps blood, nothing more,” said Xavier.

For a while, it seems as if Xavier has spoken the truth:

Lizzie tried to contain it, but her true objection came out. “You are so cold and unfeeling. You do not care for me at all. You do not even try to—to woo me, or…”

…Cold and unfeeling, was he? The blood in his veins pumped hot and hard when he thought about bedding her. He intended to feel every bloody inch of her.

But of course, after a shaky start to their arranged marriage, Lizzie begins to hold her own against Xavier:

“Behold, my esteemed family,” murmured Xavier to Lizzie when he judged she’d grown a little calmer and more settled.

“They are most congenial,” she said. “Are you sure they are related to you, my lord?”

He deserved that, no doubt. He turned to look at her. “Why, Miss Allbright. I’d no notion you could dish out irony with the best of them.”

“I am learning from a master,” she replied.

By the end of the book, Xavier’s attitude to love has undergone a shift:

There was not enough poetry in the world to describe this feeling. He certainly couldn’t find the phrases to do it justice.

You can read more about Xavier’s story here.

New Year rings in THE GREATEST LOVER EVER
Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Greatest Lover Ever, the (revised)Well, I’m home from holidays but there’s still cause for celebration in the Brooke household: THE GREATEST LOVER EVER is in stores now!

I’m thrilled that my long-term readers are saying this is my best book yet. It’s had a nice review in Publisher’s Weekly and received a Top Pick from RT Magazine.

For me, January releases always come in a blaze of summer glory. I’m usually at the beach when my book comes out. This year the release of THE GREATEST LOVER EVER saw me smearing the keys of my laptop with sunscreen as I chatted to everyone about Marcus, Earl of Beckenham’s second chance at love with the fiery Georgie Black… in between trips to the beach with my husband and two sons.

We had a heat wave while I was away and also some windy weather that made going to the beach unsuitable, but we managed to clock a lot of hours in the surf.

Christmas January 2012 036

When we swim in the ocean, we always make sure we check the blackboard the Lifesavers put out to tell us whether there are any hidden dangers, rips, strong currents, etc. in the water.

This year, there weren’t any bluebottles (nasty little stingers) but there were massive jellyfish beached here and there. They looked exactly like what comes out of those old-fashioned jelly moulds your gran used to have. I doubt they taste as nice, though!

July-dec 2013 024

When the weather was too wild for the surf to be an option, we went to Australia Zoo, the Go-Kart track and the waterslide. My husband took the boys fishing while I had a blissful couple of hours at the hairdresser. I’d been looking a little witchy after being horribly sick first with flu then with chicken pox for over a month before Christmas–while on deadline, I might add!

So, I’m home again, shaking the sand out of my keyboard and crossing fingers my tan doesn’t fade too soon. I hope that wherever you are, whether in the freezing zone of the north or in some hot hot hot climate like me, you have a healthy, happy and successful New Year!

Thank you to Readers & Update
Thursday, September 5th, 2013

book-signing-11jpgI wanted to thank everyone who has reviewed LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL or written to me directly to tell me they enjoyed Davenport’s and Hilary’s story.

The book was a lot of fun to write and I’ve enjoyed sharing laughter over the incorrigible Davenport and the prim Miss deVere with you.

To answer some questions I’ve been getting a lot, Beckenham’s book, THE GREATEST LOVER EVER is out on December 31 in the States (not entirely sure what date in Australia but it might be January). Then Xavier’s book THE WICKEDEST LORD ALIVE is out in July 2014. There is a blurb up on Goodreads but as I’m writing this story as we speak, that is — ahem! — subject to change.

Also, Lydgate is due to get a book after that, but it might be that his book kicks off a new series. I don’t want to say too much about that yet but that’s a little tidbit even my editor doesn’t know ;)

And finally, the Duke of Montford and Lady Arden’s story is percolating in my mind and will be told one day. Stay tuned for news on that front.

So that’s it for now! Back to the writing cave…

Beckenham’s Book
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Here it is! The cover for Beckenham’s book THE GREATEST LOVER EVER, out in December 2013!
Greatest Lover Ever, the (revised)

Great Deal for Australian Readers
Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Ausebooksale

I’m thrilled that Australian readers will now be able to buy all three of my Ministry of Marriage books in e-format for the price of one mass market paperback ($4.99 each). This is for a limited time, so hurry!

And don’t forget that LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL is available on ebook for the bargain price of $6.99!

The Next Big Thing
Thursday, December 6th, 2012
The delightful Charlotte Nash tagged me to answer a few questions on The Next Big Thing, a sort of chain letter blog-style, in which authors answer a few questions about their books and tag a few more authors. Here are my answers:
1) What is the working title of your next book?
LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
Strangely, the idea originated with the title, which my editor at St. Martin’s Press chose. This has never happened before but I found it an interesting challenge to write a book inspired by the title.  A scoundrel had just appeared in the last book in my Ministry of Marriage series as a secondary character, so it seemed natural to write him as the hero for this book.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Regency Historical Romance
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
My hero would be played by a big man with buckets of wicked charm. Gerard Butler, perhaps? Or Brendan Fraser (if he can do the English accent) Heroine… hmm. Maybe Kate Winslet. Someone pretty with a will of iron who doesn’t tolerate fools.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A scoundrel on the brink of ruin, Jonathon, Earl of Davenport is bent on seducing Hilary deVere but when an enemy from his past returns to threaten Hilary, he must protect her at all costs.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The book is under contract with St. Martin’s Press, represented by an agency.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Two months.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I love Loretta Chase’s MR. IMPOSSIBLE and the dynamic between my hero and heroine is very similar to the principal characters in that romance. Davenport is wicked and incorrigible while Hilary is very single-minded in pursuit of her goal and doesn’t let him get away with anything.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by the longing we all have to belong–whether it’s to a family or to society at large.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
My hero has an excellent pair of buttocks:) The book releases on June 2013.
Now it’s my turn to tag!
Denise Rossetti
Amy Andrews
Cathryn Hein
Romance Writers of Australia Conference
Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Yes, this was back in August and I’m only writing it up now. I’ve had a book to write (LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL, YAY!) and very little time to do it, so I’ve been underground, much like this Tasmanian Devil here.

Why are there various forms of Australian fauna in a blog post about the RWA conference, I hear you ask? Well, I was lucky enough to receive a visit from my St. Martin’s editor, Monique Patterson here in Brisbane. Monique hails from New York and had never visited Oz before so of course I took her to Lone Pine wildlife sanctuary.

I warned Monique of the possibility of, um, accident when holding a koala, so she wore her trusty leather jacket in anticipation. No such accident occurred, thankfully!

Monique held a koala, fed the wallabies, avoided the emu. Emus are quite bossy birds and very keen to get in on the action when it comes to feeding time. They also have sharp, strong beaks, and I’ve been afraid of them since I was a child and one completely shredded the feed bag I was holding and (unintentionally, I’m sure) pecked my hand.

Monique was no fool and gave the big bird a wide berth.

Then, on to the Gold Coast, with Monique and my trusty critique partner, Denise Rossetti. She and I have very, very bad senses of direction, so it was a miracle we got there in good time and in one piece. (Actually, Denise’s sense of direction is better than mine, but we did once end up at Redcliffe when we wanted to go to Bribie Island–for those SE Queenslanders among you, you’ll know what I mean!)

I met Helen Breitwieser, my lovely agent  who had flown in from LA via Sydney, and she and Monique and I went to dinner at Shuck on Tedder Avenue, where I persuaded Helen to try the creepy-sounding but utterly delicious Moreton Bay Bugs. She loved them!

Helen is an amazing woman. She discovered all the best places to go without any help from the resident Aussie and we dined in style at Omeros the next evening.

I’m on a fitness kick at the moment, so each morning at 5am I was up before sunrise, down at the gym. Except the morning after the Awards dinner. I found it difficult to get out of bed for that one!

The weather was absolute magic while we were there. Unseasonably warm for August. The QT hotel was superb and so funky and fun with its retro-style everything. Food was great, and you receive a kit with lemons, a muddler, sparkling water and sugar syrup with instructions to make your own lemonade upon arrival. So refreshing! This was a wonderful start to our stay.

Penguin Australia held a welcome cocktail function, in which they featured the wonderful authors who are heading up their Destiny digital romance line. There were wonderful readings by Kelly Hunter, Anne Gracie, Jennifer St George (pictured below) and others and much fun and frivolity. I caught up with my lovely Penguin Australia editor, Sarah Fairhall, whose gorgeous clothes I covet. If she finds a certain Alannah Hill coat missing, she will certainly know where to come looking!

On Friday, I went to one of the best workshops I’ve ever attended: Alexandra Sokoloff’s Screenwriting Tricks for Authors. Alex took us step by step through the 3 Act 8 Sequence structure she used when she was screenwriting for Hollywood movies and showed us how this and other screenwriting techniques can be adapted for novel writing.

Alex is such a vibrant, intelligent writer, up for any kind of fun that’s going. You can read all about her on her blog and I highly recommend her books on structure, too.

I had to leave early from this workshop to be gussied up (full hair and makeup) for a photo shoot for Penguin. (Pictured left is Jennifer St George, a Destiny author, waiting for her video interview)

If you haven’t been to one before, photo shoots involve a lot of waiting around. As I tried to force some emotion into my tired eyes while shot after shot was taken, I gained new respect for those chicks on Australia’s Next Top Model. Sadly, my photo didn’t look quite as good as theirs do!

On to the Australian Romance Readers Association book signing, where I met many  lovely readers, one of whom already had all my books on Kindle but bought paper copies at the conference for me to sign. Amazing! Here’s Vicki and me posing together. Vicki is a former barrister so we have a lot in common.

Friday night was the Harlequin cocktail party, where the theme was 1950s Hollywood. I went as myself, as usual. I never seem to have the time or the inclination to find a costume for these affairs–I’m usually on deadline when I’m at a conference. However, Jennifer Kloester (Georgette Heyer’s biographer) wore full Queen Elizabeth Jubilee costume. The struggle to transport the big indigo satin gown from Melbourne was justified, however. Jennifer took first prize.

On Saturday, I had the amazing experience of doing a Google hangout with Eloisa James, Anne Gracie, Kat from BookThingo, another reader and Louise Sherwin-Stark from Google. You can see the hangout on my gallery page.

The Awards night was one of the snappiest and best I’ve ever attended–congratulations to all the winners!

Afterwards, I sat up late into the night (um, morning?) drinking wine and talking with Amy Andrews/Ali Ahearn and Anna Valdinger, editor from HarperCollins. Anna is hilarious, so witty in that English style I find so appealing. I love catching up with her at RWA. And Amy/Ali is a former RWA president and one of the best people I know. The woman could run the country, never mind RWA.

Meeting Eloisa James again was such a highlight for me. I’ve read and loved all of her books and she has been very generous to me over the course of my career. I introduced Eloisa’s speech on the Sunday morning. She made a rousing call to authors to take charge of their careers and be professionals. It was a timely reminder, because sometimes we are too immersed in the work itself to look at the broader picture.

And of course, RWA is always the time I get to see my wonderful friends and critique partners, Anna Campbell and Denise Rossetti. I love that shot of us and it certainly reflects how much we enjoyed the conference.
This year had so many highlights, it was probably the best conference I’ve attended. I love going to Romance Writers of Australia conferences. They always feel like coming home.

Roll on Perth!

Romance Lovers in Europe
Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Forum Meeting
The lovely Stefanie from the forum of Chasing Dreams sent me this photo of a recent Forum meeting. Chasing Dreams is one of the leading romance reader sites in The Netherlands and Belgium and members of its forum meet annually to share their love of romance novels.

*Waving* to you all, ladies, with special hugs to Hannie! It sounds like you had a wonderful time. Hope you enjoy the books!

D-Day for Duchess!
Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The champagne is popping in the Brooke household for the release of A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER, out today in the United States!

If you’d like to help me celebrate, I’m over at Romance Bandits with my release day twin, Susan Sey, whose fabulous contemporary romance KISS THE GIRL launches today also. We are giving away books galore and chatting about the inspiration for our novels.

Here’s a peek at my inspiration board for A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER:

You can read more about A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER here.

Oscar Wilde Said it Best
Monday, May 14th, 2012

Pink Wallpaper blog

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