Beguiling the Earl – a sneak peak

I know it’s been a while, and I know that Beguiling the Earl is very overdue… The good news, though, is that the book is now finished and I sent it off to my editor last week! She’s going to try to squeeze me onto her schedule later this month. I’ll have a better idea of when exactly it will be released when she tells me that she’s started edited it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that will be soon.

Why did it take me so long to finish this book? Two words – performance pressure. I discovered that it is very different writing a book for myself that I hoped others would like when it was released and writing a book that others were waiting for. What if I disappointed all those lovely readers who were sending me emails telling me how much they were looking forward to Kerrick and Catherine’s story? I received so much wonderful support last year with the books I released that I froze when it came time to write the sequel to Loving the Marquess.

But I pushed through and finally finished the book. I also learned some things, especially in the last couple of months, that I think I can use to help me in future when I’m feeling that self-doubt start to creep in. I definitely have no intention of taking so long to write the next book!

Anyway, as a thank you for your patience, I’m sharing the opening scene of Beguiling the Earl below. I hope you enjoy it!  (The scene may change slightly after my editor looks at it.)

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1807        

Catherine Evans shouldn’t have been bored. She was in London at a crowded ball and was dancing with a handsome man. Heaven knew she’d been anticipating her first season for months—ever since she’d learned the previous fall that her sister would soon be marrying the Marquess of Overlea. That event had completely changed their lives for the better. Until the day her sister had made the announcement, she’d never thought she would actually find herself in Town, attending all manner of balls and other evening entertainments. She’d been looking forward to spring with increasing excitement ever since.

Now, less than one month into the season, she was already tired of the endless social demands. Balls at least once a week, musicales, routs, and visits to the theater. She’d imagined the whole experience would be more exciting. Knew it would have been if one man was present, a man who’d promised to be here to dance with her when she’d met him last fall.

She smiled politely at her partner, Viscount Thornton, as their gloved hands meet briefly while moving through the figures of the country dance. He was only a few years older than her and she had to admit he was very handsome with his blond hair and blue eyes. She couldn’t help but measure him against the man she still looked for at every ball, and in comparison he seemed little more than an eager boy.

When the dance was over, he led her back to her sister. She accepted his compliments on her grace of movement with cool reserve and redirected the conversation back to the much safer subject of the weather. Thornton made no secret of his admiration for her and she suspected he would become a nuisance if she encouraged him even slightly.

It was with relief that she spotted Louisa and Nicholas a few feet away. He stood with his broad back to the dance floor and it was only as she neared that she remembered her brother-in-law had worn a coat of deep blue, while this man wore black. A fluttering sensation started low in her belly.

When Louisa spotted her, she said something to her companion and he turned to greet her. The fluttering sensation blossomed into a full riot of butterflies and she was powerless to stop the smile that spread across her face.

“Kerrick,” she exclaimed.

She managed a quick smile of dismissal in Thornton’s direction before hurrying across the last few feet that separated her from the man she’d been waiting to see again. She stopped just short, her breath far too uneven to have been caused by the light exercise of the country dance. She almost reached for his hands, but resisted the impulse. She’d learned enough during her time in London to realize such a display of affection would cause raised eyebrows and not a small amount of gossip.

“Miss Evans. It is so nice to see you again.”

He smiled down at her, his blue eyes crinkling in the corners, and joy unfurled within her. He was just as handsome as she remembered.

“You devil, you promised to dance with me during my season. And here we are, a full three weeks in, and you haven’t attended even one of the balls.”

He affected an expression of exaggerated dismay. “You wound me to accuse me of such negligence. Unfortunately, I had pressing matters to attend to which kept me from Town.”

She pretended to give his words careful consideration before replying. “I’ll forgive you. But just this once.”

His eyes shone with amusement. “Wretch.”

She could only beam in reply. He turned back to Louisa and Catherine had to be careful not to let her disappointment show.

“Have you received word from your brother?”

After learning the previous fall that Louisa had accepted Nicholas Manning, the Marquess of Overlea’s, marriage proposal, their brother John had been furious. Nicholas’s uncle had ruined their father and he couldn’t believe that Louisa would align herself with the family. Louisa had hoped their brother would come around to accepting the marriage in time, but instead John had run off, leaving behind a note that stated he’d enlisted the help of a family friend in purchasing a commission in the army.

“No,” Louisa said. “I’ve written to him, but have heard nothing after his first reply. Her voice faltered before she continued. “I am so worried about him. He was never one to be so reckless.”

Annoyance swept through Catherine when Kerrick took hold of her sister’s hand and gave it a quick, reassuring squeeze. “Most young men are rash, but fortunately we eventually outgrow it. I am sure John is well.”

Before Catherine could remind the pair that she was still present, they were interrupted by an older couple that approached their small group. The man was of average height and build, his thinning hair liberally sprinkled with gray. His wife, however, was a striking woman whose dark hair was only starting to show signs of grey around the temples. Kerrick introduced them as Lord and Lady Worthington.

“We wondered when you would return to Town,” Lord Worthington said, turning his attention to Kerrick. “Rose has been quite put out by your negligence.”

Kerrick lifted a brow and replied with cool equanimity. “One wouldn’t surmise that from her behavior.”

Catherine followed his gaze and spotted a young woman, about her own age, who stood several feet away. She was surrounded by a group of young men who vied for her attention. Catherine wasn’t surprised given the girl’s almost radiant beauty. Rich chestnut curls framed a fair face that was uncommonly pretty. Her eyes sparkled, her lips pouted, and her cheeks bloomed with a rosy glow. With her pale hair and coloring, Catherine felt dull and lifeless by comparison.

Worthington shrugged. “She’s young. Did you expect her to just stand in the corner and pine away for you?”

Lady Worthington was quick to add, “She merely flirts with those boys. She knows with whom her future rests.”

Shock rolled through Catherine at the older woman’s words and her gaze swung back to Kerrick. His expression hadn’t changed, but he didn’t deny Lady Worthington’s assertion.

“She seems to be enjoying herself quite well without my attention.”

“Nonsense,” Worthington said. “That’s because she doesn’t know you’re here. We only just spotted you ourselves. Though I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t have sent word to us before now.”

“I only just arrived last night,” he said.

Worthington nodded, but it was clear Kerrick’s reply hadn’t satisfied him. He turned back to Catherine and Louisa. “Lady Overlea, Miss Evans, if you will excuse us?”

Catherine merely nodded in reply. She looked, again, at Rose Worthington, her thoughts full of the implication of the older man’s words. She refused to believe there was an understanding between her and Kerrick. The fates wouldn’t be so cruel.

Determined to learn the truth, she turned to question him but Kerrick had stepped away to speak to the older couple in private. Her dismay grew when they turned, as one, to approach Rose Worthington. The group of men dispersed at her father’s presence, but a few hovered close by in case they were given another opportunity with her.

Her dismay turned to outright disbelief as she watched Kerrick bow over the young woman’s hand and lead her out onto the ballroom floor.

 

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Beguiling the Earl in Spring!

First, I want to thank everyone for their patience. I’ve received emails and comments here and on my Facebook author page asking when the next book in my Landing a Lord series will be out. Unfortunately, I had to deal with some personal issues last year that delayed the release of the book. But I now have good news – I’ve finished writing the book and am currently working on self-edits. I’ve also spoken to my editor and she will be able to squeeze me onto her schedule for March … that means Beguiling the Earl – Catherine and Kerrick’s book – will be out in early spring!

Below is a teaser for the book. I’ll probably also be posting an excerpt soon. :)

Quote - stay away

 

 

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Self-Publishing … One Year Later

I released my first indie title on December 17, 2012. One year later, I can say, without question, that deciding to self-publish my books, instead of waiting one-two years to sell to New York and then waiting for the book to be released, has been one of the best decisions of my life.

I posted my sales numbers on a private forum I belong to and was on the fence about whether I should make a blog post on this subject. It was brought to my attention, however, that someone left a comment on Laura Kaye’s blog post (her response to the Steven Zacharius article entitled “Self-Publishing: The Myth and the Reality”) and included my name in a list of other authors who’d earned a six-figure income in 2013. That comment was accurate. After Amazon sends out their payments at the end of December, 2013, I will have just squeaked past the six-figure-income threshold.

I decided to go ahead and share my numbers so that others can see that you don’t have to be a big-name author to actually do well self-publishing. I made the leap into indie publishing because of all those authors before me who were generous in sharing their own sales numbers and what they’d learned. Knowledge is power.

Other than a handful of blog hops, I have done zero advertising. No Bookbub ads (no point until I have more books out), no $0.99 fire sales for my full-length novel, and no boxed sets.

As of December 1, 2013*:

Dancing with the Duke (short novella)
Sales @ $0.99 – 16,546
Number of free downloads – 414,299**

Loving the Marquess (novel)
Sales –  35,932
(Mostly @ $3.99, but it was on sale for $2.99 for a couple of months in the summer.)

Lady Hathaway’s Indecent Proposal (novella)
Sales @ $0.99 – 13,739

In contrast, my sales numbers for the one title published through an epublisher:

Dear Stranger (novella with Total-e-Bound)
Sales – 2,116
The majority of these sales occurred after people found my self-published work.

*These are minus the numbers for Apple for the last two months. The Apple sales reports won’t input into TrackerBox now that I’m on a Windows 8 computer. I did report the glitch to the creator of the software and hopefully he’ll get a fix out soon. But my Apple sales numbers aren’t staggering so their absence won’t affect the final numbers by that much.

**This number is low because at least two retailers haven’t reported the number of free downloads this title has received on their site.

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Fall Into Winter Romance Giveaway Hop

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We all have a favorite season – for me that season is fall. The moment temperatures start to drop in September my energy increases. And when it’s cool enough that there’s a slight nip in the air and we need to start wearing sweaters – heaven! I think part of it may be due to the fact that I’ve always loved school. Growing up, September heralded a new school year and with it new opportunities. Some people like to make New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve always been partial to reassessing my goals in the fall.

I have to be careful when writing that I don’t set all my books during the fall. Fortunately, when writing historical romances there’s plenty of opportunity to set stories during the Season in spring. I have yet to set a story during the summer or the winter, though.

Do you have a favorite season? Please share what you love about it if you do.

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Grand Prize for the blog hop – a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate.

In addition, I will be giving away an ebook (in your format of choice) of my novel Loving the Marquess.

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the grand prize drawing. To enter my giveaway, simply leave a comment on this blog post.

To visit other blogs in this blog hop, please click on the button below. You’ll also have the opportunity to win prizes at the various blogs along the way.

Happy hopping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Winners of my two gift card giveaways

11970917161615154558carlitos_Balloons.svg.medThank you to everyone who took the time to enter my giveaway on Facebook or subscribe to my mailing list.

The Facebook winner of a $25 gift card is:

Sandi M.

The member of my newsletter list who also won a $25 gift card is:

Esther C.

Congratulations! (Winners have been notified via email.)

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Gift Card Giveaways

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If you’ve signed up for my new release mailing list or follow me on Facebook, you already know that I’m currently doing two giveaways. One person signed up for my mailing list and one person who likes my Facebook author page will each win a $25 gift card to their choice of Amazon, B&N or Kobo.

Lady Hathaway’s Indecent Proposal had a very successful launch, reaching as high as #354 in the entire Amazon Kindle store! It’s still doing very well, as is Loving the Marquess. These giveaways are my way of saying thank you to everyone who has purchased one of my books.

If this is the first you’re hearing about my giveaways, you can sign up for my newsletter here and like me on Facebook here.

The number of likes on my Facebook page is much less than the number of people who have signed up for my mailing list, so you have a better chance of winning if you like me on Facebook and look under the “giveaway” tab to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. If you’re genuinely interested in learning about my new releases, though, you’ll want to sign up for my mailing list as well. If you do, you’ll receive a newsletter as soon as Beguiling the Earl is available. Facebook is a great venue for interacting, but I know it doesn’t always display an author’s posts to all their followers.

The contests end at midnight tomorrow, Friday August 23. Good luck!

Suzanna

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Winner – Hot Summer Romance Giveaway Hop

11970917161615154558carlitos_Balloons.svg.medUsing random.org to choose a number between 1 and 38 (the number of lovely people who commented on my blog hop post), the winner of a signed paperback copy of Loving the Marquess is:

Ann C.

Congratulations, Ann! I’ll be contacting you shortly!

The grand prize winners were contacted by Malia Mallory, the organizer of this blog hop. They are:

Kindle Fire – Lisa Anderson (From Lissa Mathews’ blog)
$50 Amazon Gift Card – Jennifer Mathis (From Adriana Kraft’s Blog)

 

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Hot Summer Romance Giveaway Hop

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Lady Hathaway Cover-SM.final.200

Earlier this week I released my latest book, Lady Hathaway’s Indecent Proposal. At its heart, this is a story about two people who’d had a romance in the past but been separated. Now, twelve years later, Miranda – Lady Hathaway – has been recently widowed and she conceives a desperate plan that will allow her to spend a few nights in the bed of the man she had to give up all those years before.

How about you? Do you enjoy reading reunion stories? And if so, do you have any favorites? I am a big fan of reunion stories. I’m also a big fan of steamy historical romances. Lady Hathaway’s Indecent Proposal is both of those things.

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Grand Prizes - The organizers of this blog hop have two grand prizes.

#1 – A Kindle Fire.
#2 – A $50 Amazon.com gift certificate.

In addition, I will be giving away a signed paperback copy of my novel Loving the Marquess.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post. Please remember to leave your email address as well so you can be contacted if you are chosen as a winner.

To visit other blogs in this blog hop, please click on the button below. The more comments you leave on various blogs, the more times you’re entered to win one of the two grand prizes.

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New release and an upcoming giveaway

I’m very happy to announce that Lady Hathaway’s Indecent Proposal is now available for sale! You can read more about it and find sale links on the book’s website page here.

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Also, between July 18-21 I will be participating in the Hot Summer Romance Giveaway blog hop. There are two grand prizes for the overall blog hop – #1 is a Kindle Fire and #2 is a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate.

In addition, I will be hosting my own giveaway. At the end of the blog hop I will be giving away an autographed trade paperback copy of Loving the Marquess. Many other participants in the blog hop will also be giving away prizes.

Drop by my blog between July 18-21 to participate!

 

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