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1228June 2014 Newsletter
- Lynne ConnollyJun 5, 2013
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Half way through the year! This has been a turning point year for me, when I’m stopping to take stock. What I see above everything else is the prevalence of the self-publishing phenomenon. I’ve even joined it myself, and I’m seriously considering taking all my historicals self-published. It’s a lot more work, but the rewards are great, both in money terms and in satisfaction.
This month I’ve revamped some of my titles. I’ve split Black Leather, White Lace into its original two novellas, and dropped the price of each one, to see how they do that way. The Haunting of Belle Sauvage has a new cover, as has Irresistible You, and I’ve taken one Department 57 book indie, “Treasure Laid Bare,” one of the first ones I wrote. Department 57 has been rather a jewel in my crown, and I’d love to write some more, so depending how “Treasure Laid Bare” does, I can take the series independent. My lovely publishers, Loose-Id, have no objection, and I think they’re waiting to see how it does. I’ve sent them a trilogy that will form the first books in a spin-off series, so I’m waiting to see if they like it. But I might write them anyway! That’s the joy of having the self-publishing option. I can test the market, and see what the people who buy my books like to read, and I can offer the books at a lower price, since I only have myself to feed and clothe! Covers and editing are done as one-off fees. But I can’t see myself abandoning the publishers I’m active with right now.
Later on this month, I’ll probably publish the new Regency, which still doesn’t have a title! It’s about a widow who discovers she’s not a widow when her husband unexpectedly returns. He never knew he had a wife, either. Although he claims amnesia, he’s playing for time, because he knows he doesn’t have a wife. So why is the seemingly respectable Faith posing as his widow? He knows her from when she was the wife of one of the officers in his company (he was a soldier), and he’s wanted her for years, but honour has kept him away.
So, what do you think? “Coming Home To Love”? or “Whatever the Price”? This is proving really hard to title, and it’ll probably be the last thing. Some titles, like “Brutally Beautiful” just appear out of nowhere. I had the title before I started to write the book. Others are stubborn, and take some teasing out.
Last month, May, was amazing. I described my adventures at RT over on my blog and on “The Good, The Bad and The Unread,” but my American adventure was more than that. I finished off my time there by visiting one of my besties, writer Desiree Holt, who is having a wonderful time appearing on TV as “the granny who writes sexy books.” If you know Des, you’ll know there’s a lot more to her than that! Then I stayed with Kathryn Falk, at her ranch in Texas, which is a bit of Paradise. It feels that way, too, very tranquil, and wandering around feeding and playing with the animals is something I will never tire of. Kathryn has a pet deer who follows her everywhere, so I’ve included a photo of Kathryn and Bambi.
If Sorcerer Garon Rothwell has sex, he loses his powers--and also the rigid control he has over his life. But when he meets bookstore owner and ex-army intelligence officer Tara Carlisle, he desperately wants to give in to the passion she evokes in him. But he's stopped by his own fears and a woman four hundred years dead.
Tara wants Garon, too, but until they catch the evil stalking her little town, she can't give in to the desire she knows they both feel. The frustration is killing her...
But Erzsébet Báthory murdered over six hundred women the last time she walked the earth. Now Tara has inadvertently brought her back, and if they don't stop her, she might just beat that record.
So my release this month is a book that is still in edits. How about a section from the revamped “Treasure Laid Bare,” which is a heavily rewritten version of “Eternal Beauty, Eternal Darkness”? with its spiffy new cover!
The shop bell tinkled, but Tara didn’t look up immediately. A low, very masculine baritone voice struck through the sudden silence. “Now what would you be doing with that?”
The girls stared, mesmerized, and Tara’s tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. The man was gorgeous. Long, dark hair rippled to his broad shoulders, dark eyes met hers, set in a face with the high, slanted cheekbones of the Slav. He must be at least six feet four inches, and his mouth was positively sinful.
Tara found her voice. “May I help you?” She sounded so prissy, so schoolmarm-ish that she hated herself. Why could she never appear at her best in front of a sexy man?
He smiled, and it made things worse. Butterflies were doing positive somersaults in her stomach. “I understand you have a book for Cristos.” The slight roll of the ‘r’ indicated a foreign influence, but apart from that, his English was perfect.
“I may have. Mr. Cristos is a client of mine.” She wasn’t so bemused that she didn’t remember her priorities. This man could be a con artist. That book was valuable.
His smile broadened. “I have a letter from him, and you may call him to assure yourself I am who I say I am.”
“You haven’t said who you are.”
He took a step forward. The girls recoiled at the onset of his presence, the tide in retreat. “Indeed. I am Garon Rothwell.” He held out his hand, and Tara placed her own in it.
Shock. A thrill joined them with a sizzling line of connection, a feeling unknown to Tara, but linked with something she knew – physical attraction. He showed no sign of the connection between them, other than allowing his eyelids to briefly drop half way over his eyes. It might have been a blink, but she wasn’t sure. “I thought to save you a journey.”
“That’s very kind of you,” she said coolly. She still didn’t trust him so she didn’t tell him his journey was a wasted one. She wouldn’t let that book out of her sight until she’d placed it in Cristos’s hands.
Someone cleared her throat and Tara glanced down at the large table. The girls were more than expectant. Some had their mouths half open. Rothwell took them in with one lazy sweep of his eyes and paused at one face. “Do I know you?”
Tara had never seen Angel outclassed before, but the ice in his words chilled even her, after his warmth of a moment before. “No,” said the girl, her voice quavering. “No, but I’d like to.”
“I daresay you would.” He turned to Tara. “It seems a little formal, but would you mind introducing us?”
Tara began to feel like the elderly mentor the girls thought she was. “This is class from Witney Ladies’ College. They are studying the history of witchcraft. Their teacher is in the back room, taking a break.” Quickly she rattled through the names. All the girls got a brief nod of acknowledgement from Mr. Rothwell and a slight smile.
“You will not find any history of witchcraft in this,” he said, twitching the Crowley book out of Angel’s nerveless fingers. “You had better look for the Malleus Maleficarum or the edicts from the Vatican for your project.” He handed the book to Tara with a smile. “Yours, I presume.”
“Yes, it is. Thank you. I’m not sure the book is suitable for their studies.”
“Good. Then you know your stock, Miss Carlisle.” His voice warmed slightly.
“I know what I need to know.” She moved away from the disturbing warmth of his presence.
The girls giggled, as though she had made a double entendre. Perhaps they were nervous.
Had Garon Rothwell confronted her when she had been their age, she would have turned into a damp puddle on the floor. However, she was not eighteen, and she had once been used to working with men. And she never judged people by appearances alone, although in this case she was sorely tempted to make an exception.
Garon Rothwell raised a dark eyebrow. “The book?”
He bowed his head and reached into the inside pocket of his long black coat, to withdraw a prosaic piece of white notepaper. “You know Cristos’s writing?”
“Do you know him well?”
“Why do you ask that?” He paused in the act of handing her the paper.
“You use no honorific.”
He smiled in understanding. “Ah. Cristos prefers to use his surname, pure and simple. In his work, he is Assistant Director Cristos. Mister Cristos sounds too alliterative for his liking.”
She smiled back, the first friendly smile she had yet given him and took the paper before she realized what he had just said. Something froze inside her. “Assistant Director Cristos?”
He quirked a black eyebrow. “You didn’t know? He works for the CIA.” He paused. “And a few other agencies.”
Cold gripped her stomach.
Excited gasps and giggles came from the table as the girls exchanged unspoken comments about the stranger.
Rothwell took no notice of them. “Is something wrong?”
“No,” she said, too quickly and turned away, the note clutched in her hand. She hadn’t known. Her dealings had all been with the citizen, and despite what Mr. Rothwell had said, she always addressed her letters to Mr. Cristos. Too close. Her hand trembled when she opened the note, but she deliberately covered it with a clumsy fumble.
It was as he had said. She knew the writing and the signature. Still, it could be a good forgery. That old spell book was worth a lot of money. The note read:
The bearer of this note is Garon Rothwell. He is known to me. He has dark brown, long hair, dark brown eyes, about six foot four. He speaks with a slight Hungarian accent. You may call me on the number I have given you if you have any doubts. He is authorized to deal on my behalf. Cristos.
She would trust Rothwell so far. “Won’t you come into the office?”
More giggles. The girls should know Helen was there. Perhaps they were imagining something more lurid. Putting the Crowley book aside, Tara kept the note and headed for her office.
Without warning, a scream echoed through the still air, shockingly loud in the near silence of the bookshop.
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Lynne Connolly, author of sexy, sophisticated romance