We are starting a new feature at the Lachesis Publishing Blog – BOOK OF THE WEEK! Our first BOOK OF THE WEEK is the brand new release: THAT DETERMINED MISTER LATHAM by JoMarie DeGioia. It’s the first book in a brand new series called Shopgirls of Bond Street. We know you are going to LOVE it!
The sign above the door of Elliot’s Fineries on Bond Street states: Where you can find your heart’s desire.
Patrick Latham scoffs at that notion. He let go of those dreams five years ago when the woman he loved betrayed him. But when he meets the shop owner’s niece, Victoria Elliot, he wonders if his heart’s desire is indeed inside that very shop. Though Victoria is a “shopgirl” and certainly not a member of the ton, she is the most beguilingly beautiful and spirited young woman Patrick has ever met. He is determined to get to know the auburn-haired, silver-eyed beauty, even if it means buying every damn pair of riding gloves at Elliot’s Fineries!
Victoria went from sheltered vicar’s daughter to shopgirl in the blink of an eye. When she meets Patrick, she is immediately drawn to his darkly handsome looks and his charming appeal. But life for a shopgirl can be unfair, even cruel, and when a great danger lurks just around the corner from Elliot’s Fineries, can she trust Patrick to keep her safe?
Patrick keeps a truth from Victoria—that he’s the son of a powerful earl as well as a baron in his own right. Will his lie put Victoria at greater risk? And if so, how will he able to save her?
Everyone knows the expression ‘things that go bump in the night’. Things go bump 24-7-365 in my house.
In the early 1960s, my father bought an old carriage house (horse and buggy and later cars) two blocks from where we lived in a house with apartments. He kept the framework of the carriage house and built a whole house from it. I was 12 when we moved, and the house was like a palace. Two floors, 2 bathrooms, attic, cellar. But whenever I was home alone, I felt like I was being watched, and walking in the attic made me uneasy.
Decades passed. Lots of decades passed. My sister and my brother (both older) left home, and finally I left home too. My mom and dad still lived in the house with the 3rd family dog we’d had. Dusty was an overweight, hermaphrodite mini-schnauzer.
My mom passed in 1999. One summer day, I stopped by to visit my dad. Dusty was on the enclosed back porch so I sat on the couch out there and patted him. My dad was upstairs and called out to see who it was. I answered that it was me. I never left the porch. My dad walked downstairs and, passing the first floor bathroom, asked if I had shut the bathroom door. I said no. He was irritated because he wanted the door open and insisted I had closed it. When I went home, I thought about it and realized that my mom always wanted that door closed. I knew then that my mom was still there. I called my sister and said, “Ma is still in the house.” My sister said, “I know.” Apparently something similar had happened to her. We were convinced my mom was still there. As time went on, other little things started to happen.
A few years later, Dusty the dog passed. (Guess who got stuck taking him to be put down. It was one of the saddest days of my life). When I visited my father, I pulled into the driveway and got out of the car. I heard Dusty barking. He sounded as if he was a distance away, but I knew it was him.
Then my father (by that time was in his late 80s) became ill. We needed 24 hour care. The overnight woman didn’t know my mother was still a presence in the house. She saw my mom walking down the stairs and then vanish. She didn’t tell us for a long time because she didn’t want us to think she was doing drugs.
My father finally passed. The house was empty except for the furniture and other stuff everyone had dumped there: my mom’s clothes, my dad’s things, my sister’s and brother’s extra free storage. Since I was getting the house, I had to clean it.
I didn’t move in right away because I wanted it painted. I also had the kitchen renovated. So the house was empty for quite some time.
That’s when things really started to go bump 24-7-365. There were the usual things: footsteps overhead as well as the pitter-patter of little dog’s feet. Yes, Dusty the dog was still there. Doors opened and closed on their own, lights on were that shouldn’t be on, sometimes voices.
I needed to put extra locks on the attic door, the cellar door, doorstops for bedroom doors upstairs. I had cats and didn’t want them to get stuck in a room.
One summer day, I stopped by with a friend. When I unlocked the front door and stepped inside, I called jokingly, “Hello!” From upstairs a voice called, “Hello!” I looked at my friend who said, “That’s your father’s voice.” I thought “Oh, crap, my father’s here too.”
Four or five ghost hunters groups came through. All the psychics who walked upstairs to the attic asked me who the little boy was. (I was being watched when I was 12). Jeremiah, the little boy, died in the carriage house decades earlier and was waiting for his sister (who had most likely died decades earlier). Jeremiah and my mom like to play pranks on me. I’ve heard the sound of a little boy running and a dog running with him.
It would take me a week to write out all the incidents that have happened. For example: The man who installed my new furnace told me I had a ghost in the house.
I’ll leave you with this. I recently called my sister and said, “If you die, don’t come here. There’s no room.”
Patricia Grasso is the author of eighteen historical romances including the Douglas Series which follows the love stories of the amazing Douglas sisters (Angelica, Samantha and Victoria) in Regency London and the Lords of Stratford Series, Regency historical romances with a fairy-tale twist about the aristocratic families in Stratford-on-Avon.
Take us back to when you first discovered romance novels. When did you become a reader? How old were you? And what was the first book that hooked you? Why? How many times have you read that book?
VICKY D: I read my first romance by accident more than a decade ago. I was in the supermarket with my three year old daughter. I saw a book with a pink dress and NYT was emblazoned on it. Then my daughter climbed out of the supermarket cart and took off running. I ran after her and strapped her into the cart. I forgot about the book until I got to the counter and saw a paperback go down the conveyor belt. When I got home and put my daughter down for her nap, I opened the book. To my surprise it was a romance. I’d never read one. Two hours later, my daughter woke up and I realized I’d been so hooked I couldn’t put it down. That gateway book was Judith McNaught’s ALMOST HEAVEN. I read all of McNaught’s books multiple times. I LOVED her books.
Who is/are the book(s) that inspired when you took those first baby steps in your writing career? The books that made you think “Wow, I want to write books like that!”
VICKY D: To be honest, I was an insatiable reader and couldn’t afford my book habit. I’m sure this is familiar to a lot of readers. Anyway, I had nothing to read and I’d spent all my book money, so I turned on the computer and started writing for fun. Then something unbelievable happened. A friend called and said she’d signed up for a class at the local branch of the university. I confessed my secret writing hobby. My friend said something that changed my life. My friend said she’d seen a sign up for how to write a romance. She gave me the phone number and I signed up! Pretty wild, right?
Tell us about the kind of romance you write and why you love to write it.
VICKY D: My first romance love has always been historical romance. I like some contemporaries such as Jill Shalvis, but historical romance remains my favorite.
What is one of your favourite Vicky Dreiling books and why?
VICKY D: I love all of my books and the characters as well. I have a special place in my heart for my first book HOW TO MARRY A DUKE. It was so much fun and it was also a Triple RITA finalist.
Tell us about a book that you’ve read recently (past year) that you love love love.
VICKY D: This is actually a Young Adult called IF I STAY by Gayle Forman. It grabs you immediately, and the writing is excellent. I highly recommend it.
Name three of your all-time favourite romance authors and why.
List three qualities that make a “keeper” romance novel and why.
VICKY D: A hero to die for, seemingly impossible odds, and a strong heroine.
What is the sweetest/coolest thing a reader has said to you/done for you?
VICKY D: I love talking to readers. Every time one of them tells me they loved one of my books, I’m so grateful that the reader enjoyed it.
Tell us about your latest release
VICKY D: WHAT A DEVILISH DUKE DESIRES is the story of a couple from two different worlds. She is a maid and he is a duke. It seems impossible, but Harry, the hero refuses to let the ton keep them apart.
What’s coming down the road?
VICKY D: Well, I just turned in a new proposal, so I can’t tell you yet!
BONUS QUESTION: Sweet tooth or salty snack lover? What do you love to nosh on when writing?
VICKY D: Are you kidding me? I want both! LOL.
Vicky Dreiling is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the UK allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places. She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle. That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her “Trouble.” When she’s not writing, Vicky enjoys reading, films, concerts, and most of all, long lunches with friends. A native Texan, she holds degrees in English literature and marketing.
What was your first book that hit a bestseller list? What was the list, where did the book rank when it first hit, and how high did your book get?
VL: Winning Miss Wakefield(Wallflower Weddings, book 2) hit the USA TODAY Bestsellers List at #120. I was so surprised that I didn’t really believe my editor when she called. I started to hyperventilate and I think I might have asked her “Are you kidding me?” about three or four times. The great thing was, she wasn’t kidding. WMW stayed on the list for one glorious week of ear-to-ear grins and random squeals of delight. Then, poof it went away. Shortly thereafter, Finding Miss McFarland hit the list at the same number, for one week, and then poof. Coincidence or magic fairy dust?
When something awesome happens in your career do you celebrate with food, flowers, or fun? Details please.
VL: Life is short, so I celebrate as often as I can. When I begin a new book, I shop for office supplies—there’s just something about a new pack of Post-it’s, pens, and pencils that adds to the excitement. And since I’m out anyway, I might stop by Starbucks for a grande chai with whip.
When I finish a particularly tough chapter, or write a scene that makes me happy, I’ll do a little victory dance—though I try to steer clear of the windows so I don’t scare the neighbors. And since I’m already in motion, I might slip on my shoes, go for a drive, and grab a grande chai with whip.
When something BIG happens, like a book release or signing a contract for a new series, I usually buy myself flowers (roses or daisies), and maybe . . . just maybe . . . stop by Starbucks.
What advice can you give authors who really want to hit a bestseller list but haven’t yet?
VL: I don’t think there’s a secret formula for hitting a bestseller list. If there were, I would have figured out how to stay on one, or how to hit the top 100. But I think having a support-team helps. I’ve been blessed with an incredibly supportive editor and publishing house, not to mention the amazing art department. In addition, it helps to write the book you want to read. After all, if you believe in your book, chances are that other people will too. From there, good things will happen. At the very least, you’ll be proud of the pages between the covers. That means a lot.
Promotion is an important part of every author’s work routine. Tell us one promotional approach that has worked well for you.
VL: Facebook is a wonderful way to keep in touch with your fan base—a quick note about the writing process, a picture of your latest hero or heroine, motivational phrases that inspire you, and random/whacky posts all work to make a personal connection to the people who support your career. Hosting rafflecopter contests on your page also helps. It’s important to give back and spread the love whenever possible.
What is one thing you absolutely LOVE about being an author and one thing that makes you BONKERS?
VL: I love writing. The act of touching the keyboard and watching the pictures in my head transform into words is pretty cool. Of course, there are days when that doesn’t happen easily and/or the words don’t quite match the pictures in my head. But those are the days when it’s time to fill up the writer’s well, and usually that’s a fun process.
Interruptions drive me bonkers. When I’m writing a scene, and my mind is traveling back to the Regency period, it’s difficult to tune out the lawn mowers, barking dogs, and the daily screaming contests in the neighborhood. Over the years, I’ve used different methods, from wearing gun-range earmuffs to buying a noise-cancelling machine. Then, there are the interruptions that happen within the walls of my writing domain. It’s harder to ignore “I don’t mean to interrupt, but . . .” The questions could be anything from “Have you seen my glasses?” to “Can you do me a favor and . . .” For years, I would stop what I was doing, help find the glasses, fix dinner, or run errands for anyone who asked. But then, I learned to say no. Not just a hem hawing no, either. A definite I’m-working-and-my-time-is-valuable no. It’s liberating. I highly recommend it.
What is the coolest/nicest thing a fan/reader has done for you or said to you?
VL: I received a personal email from a reader one day. She’d written me after spending a night in the hospital with her child. And while reassuring me that her son was fine, she also took a moment out of her life to tell me that my book had helped her through the night. I cried instantly, amazed and awed by this woman. With everything going on in her life, she chose to reach out to me. And I’m thankful each and every day that, in some small way, my book provided the distraction she needed.
Tell us about your latest release and what do you have coming down the road?
VL: My latest release, The Maddening Lord Montwood, came out in paperback on August 18th. Yay! I’m so excited about this book! TMLM is the third and final book in The Rakes of Fallow Hall Series. In the beginning, Lucan Montwood pulled his friends into a high-stakes wager, each of them vowing to be the last bachelor standing. Then one after the other, they started to find love. To me, it seemed fitting that the charming, manipulative Lucan would ultimately fall for a strong-willed woman who could see through his tricks. I loved writing Lucan and Frances’ story.
My novella takes place during a Christmas house party. To the Duke of Vale, science is everything. He has invited all the right people in order to reveal a formula designed to generate a suitable marriage partner without engaging in the messy procedure of courting . . . (think of it as a Match.com in the Regency era). North’s method is clean and flawless. That is, until the impulsive Ivy Sutherland crosses his path. She makes him question all of his data, forcing him to admit that he failed to catalog one vital element for a perfect match . . . love.
In your daily work routine what do you do first and why? A. write/plot/creative B. social media/promotion C. email/admin
VL: Most of the time, a. I like to start writing with a fresh brain. Umm . . . that sort of makes me sound like a zombie. Mmm . . . fresh brains! Then again, that’s usually how I feel until I’ve had my first cup of tea.
What would I find on your desk at this very moment?
VL: A lot of Post-its, pens, and papers. I’m in new-series-mode right now, so it’s kind of a mess. I have family trees, character sketches, and a calendar that serves as a ticking clock for each deadline. Beside my desk hangs a huge whiteboard full of story notes. Above my desk, I also keep a slew of notes, reminding myself to focus and to write the book I want to read, among other things. My office can be described as organized chaos.
BONUS: Finish this sentence: I’m a writer because . . .
VL: I’m a writer because that’s the line I stood in when they were handing out souls.
Thanks for having me here today! This was fun and I loved your questions!
We all have a Keeper Shelf. Home to books that we have read and re-read many times over. Books that we would never part with. Books that will forever have a special place in a our hearts. Historical romance author JoMarie DeGioia shares her Top 5 favourite historical romance books – and what a list!
When heiress Hastings Trent is joined with warrior Severin Langthorne in marriage, she must uncover the mystery surrounding a secluded estate known as Rosehaven.
Come back to England in the year 1277 and meet Hastings of Trent and Severin of Langthorne, two strangers joined in marriage. Hastings is an heiress and Severin is the warrior whom the dying Earl of Oxborough has selected to assume his title, properties, possessions, and his daughter. It is Severin’s duty to sire children, to bring strong new blood to the line, and keep Oxborough powerful. Hastings thinks he’s cold-blooded, severe, merciless. Severin doesn’t smile, he looks capable of cruelty, he inspires fear. As for Hastings, Severin believes she should be obedient, submissive, malleable. She should speak softly and do whatever he wants, immediately. Both are in for a surprise.
Gabriel Fairchild’s valor during battle earns him the reputation of hero, but costs him both his sight and his hope for the future. Abandoned by the fiancée he adored, the man who once walked like a prince among London’s elite secludes himself in his family’s mansion, cursing his way through dark days and darker nights.
Prim nurse Samantha Wickersham arrives at Fairchild Park to find her new charge behaving more like a beast than a man. Determined to do her duty, she engages the arrogant earl in a battle of both wit and wills. Although he claims she doesn’t possess an ounce of womanly softness, she can feel his heart racing at her slightest touch. As Samantha begins to let the light back into Gabriel’s life and his heart, they both discover that some secrets — and some pleasures — are best explored in the dark …
Justin Tolbert was a war hero and the new Earl of Wynfield, but he was not the same man Lady Sarah Spense once knew . . .
Suddenly, too vividly, Sarah remembered the night he had first asked her to dance. The London ballroom had been overcrowded, its heat stifling. Justin had been wearing his uniform, the handsome regimentals setting off the perfection of his strong body and his still-boyish face. She had thought then that there was no man more handsome in the room. She had stepped willingly into his arms, and when the music had begun, she had drifted, following his lead. They had moved together without conscious thought. As if the two of them had been created to dance together….Would they ever do that again . . . ?
Only her beloved grandmother, Lady Esther, knew how devastated Taylor Stapleton had been when her fiancé eloped with Taylor’s cousin. Now dear Esther — one of London’s richest and most formidable matriarchs — lies dying. But first she was going to help Taylor pull off the scam of the season.
To escape becoming a ward of her unscrupulous uncle, Taylor would wed Lucas Ross, a rugged American rancher. Lady Esther’s money would enable Ross to return home to Montana. Taylor had her own urgent reason to go to America…a precious legacy she hadn’t revealed to Ross, for they had agreed to part ways once they reached Boston. But as her handsome new husband spoke of life in Montana, Taylor began planning a new future. To Taylor, the wide-open spaces of Montana sounded like paradise . . .
Lady Saura of Roget lives a lonely life of servitude–her fortune controlled by her cruel stepfather. Yet it is she who has been called upon to brighten the days of Sir William of Miraval, a proud and noble knight who once swore to live or perish by the sword . . . until his world was engulfed in agonizing darkness. Summoned to Sir William’s castle, the raven-haired innocent is overcome by desire and love for the magnificent, golden warrior who has laid siege to her heart.
But there is grave danger awaiting them both just beyond the castle walls . . . and a deadly price to be paid for surrendering to a fiery, all-consuming love.
To make this list I went to my keeper shelf, where real estate is pretty exclusive. It was tough picking one particular favorite by some of my favorite authors! A couple of these happen to also be the very first book I’d ever read by that author. I discovered Catherine Coulter on a pharmacy bookshelf. Gayle Wilson and Christina Dodd were new to me when I read their titles as well. As for Teresa Medieros and Julie Garwood, it was even tougher picking a favorite out of their titles on my keeper shelf. Julie Garwood takes up quite a bit of space all by herself!
The author voices are different in every one of these. The settings and situations also vary. There is one very important thing all of these titles have in common, however. These are all stories that gripped me when I first read them. When I reread them. And even now, years after I’ve read them, I can remember not only the stories but the feelings they evoked.
I hope to create emotion in my readers with my own Historical Romance series. To make readers care about my story people as much as I do as I’m writing them. And long after, just like the feelings I carry after reading my own favorites!
We continue our spotlight week on JoMarie DeGioia with a Q and A. JoMarie writes sensual historical romances with a touch of mystery for Lachesis Publishing. Her Dashing Nobles series follows the love lives of four male friends in Regency London.
What do you love about writing? And what do you hate about it?
I love creating story people and making them do what I want them to. Although I hate when they decide to have minds of their own!
If you could meet any character from a book – who would it be and why?
Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. I just think Lizzy and I would hit it off!
Happy endings or cliff-hangers? Why?
Happy endings all the time, please! There’s enough uncertainty in life. I want to know that the characters I fell in love with will be happy after I close the book!
What is the best/coolest/funniest/sweetest thing a reader/fan ever said/wrote to you or did for you?
A reader emailed me and told me she’d been sick for some time. She read all of my Dashing Nobles books one right after another, even staying up much later than she’d been able to do before discovering my series! She said that even her husband was happily surprised to see her up and reading. She also compared the series to Stephanie Laurens’s Cynster series, which thrilled me to my toes!
Which book or series by another author do you think would make a great movie or TV series? Why?
OUR QUESTION OF THE WEEK IS: WHAT BOOK INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR WRITING OR PERSONAL LIFE? A BOOK THAT MADE YOU GO AH-HA!
This week we’ve been featuring historical romance author Patricia Grasso. The book that inspired Patricia to pursue historical romance writing was Skye O’Malley by Beatrice Small. So what book did that for you? Tell us all about it!
Today’s Q and A is with historical romance author Patricia Grasso is the author of eighteen historical romances including the Douglas Series which follows the love stories of the amazing Douglas sisters (Angelica, Samantha and Victoria) in Regency London and the Lords of Stratford Series, Regency historical romances with a fairy-tale twist about the aristocratic families in Stratford-on-Avon.
Why are you a writer?
That’s a good question. Why does anyone drop into any job/ profession? For me, I can’t not write. Yes, that’s a double negative, but a double negative equals a positive.
What do you love to read in your spare time?
That question assumes I have spare time. My reading taste is eclectic. I read both non-fiction, mainly historical or craft, and all genres of fiction.
What is your favourite first line ever from a novel?
Actually, my favorite first line comes from the mystery I’m five chapters short of finishing. The line reads: “My biggest fear is dying a formaldehyde-scented spinister.” If I had to pick another first line it would be from the only Charles Dickens book I liked, A TALE OF TWO CITIES. The line reads: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
What are three of your top goals in your writing career?
My number one goal is to keep writing books that readers buy and enjoy. Reaching that goal would mean I could achieve my other 2 goals: make tons of money and sail the Mediterranean with my newly-acquired boy toy. I’m old, not dead.
What are three things that you do that are important to your career as a writer (aside from actually writing the book)?
I read and observe. I regularly watch the History Channel and FBI Files type of shows. (Okay, I admit I’m addicted to Revenge, Scandal, and The Walking Dead.) I’m also learning (slowly) about promotion and social media. The problem is my computer frightens me.
What is your go-to power energy snack when writing?
Coffee, soy milk, no sugar. I also like peanut butter on crisp apple slices. My favorite foods are peanut butter and pizza, but not together.
What was a book that made you go “aha!” and why? (fiction or non fiction)
There are many books I’ve liked, but no book ever made me go “aha”. If forced to pick something I admire greatly, I’d say Shakespeare’s tragedies. I love William Shakespeare.
How do you cope with bad or nasty reviews?
There’s a big difference between bad and nasty. “Bad” is constructive because the reviewer is telling the reason the story didn’t work for him/ her. “Nasty” is different. Nasty is a reviewer spewing hatred and anger directed at the author, making it personal. The truth is this: No author is as good as her best review or as bad as her worst review.
What do you listen to when you write?
Cats or dogs?
I’m a dog person who lives with cats. Need I say more?