How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy

Second chances. We all want them, right? The chance to say we’re sorry to someone we hurt, the chance to take a risk that we’d said no to out of fear, the chance to go back and spend time with a dear friend or family member no longer with us.

And, sometimes, we’d like a do-over in love, the chance to take that leap into the unknown with that special someone—someone we walked away from years ago for reasons that no longer seem to make sense.

How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy, my new historical romance out this week, is about that second chance at love. Captain Will Endicott, soldier, spy, and illegitimate son of a royal duke, walked away from his childhood sweetheart in order to please his father and to pursue a career in the military. In doing so, he broke Evie Whitney’s heart, and she’s never quite gotten over it. Oh, she’s moved on, but the pain is still there—and so is the love, which actually frustrates Evie no end. She’s certain she should be over Will by now, so she has no intention of throwing herself in his path.

But now Will has a second chance at love with Evie, and he’s determined to take it. There’s just one problem—his former sweetheart is suspected of involvement in a criminal conspiracy and Will’s father has ordered him to spy on her. Needless to say, they’re going to have an interesting courtship!

 Second chance

Here’s a snippet from the book:

He moved one hand to her jaw, cupping it while tilting her head back. Her mouth opened, whether in protest or shock, he couldn’t tell. But it didn’t matter, because he finally gave in to the desire he’d been battling from that first moment he’d seen her on the lawn behind Maywood Manor. Bastard that he was, he took ruthless advantage of those parted lips to slip inside, taking her mouth captive. She made an odd, squeaky noise before freezing in his grip.

Her paralysis lasted but a few moments as he desperately searched for the girl who’d never shut him out before. Who’d once kissed him with a shy, innocent fervor he now realized he’d never forgotten. And when she finally responded relief flooded through him, as honest and true as what he’d felt on the battlefield when he realized he lived to fight another day.

As her arms stole up around his neck and she trembled within his embrace, the echo of their sweet, youthful kisses faded in the clamor of blood pounding through his veins and his heart hammering against his ribcage. Because it wasn’t a girl he pulled close—it was a woman. And it wasn’t just the feel of her generous breasts pressing against him that inflamed his senses, it was the way she opened up to him, responding to his invasion with an enthusiasm that both startled and thrilled him.

If he’d ever needed confirmation that Evie was not the young girl he’d once known and that she was all grown up, this was it. Anything that had ever happened between them in the past couldn’t begin to compare with this moment.

As you can see, Will is quite happy to leap for his second chance at love!

How about you? Are there any second chances you wish would come your way? One person who comments will win a copy of the first book in my Renegade Royals series, Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard.

You can buy How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy at bookstores and other stores where books are sold, and on-line.

Kindle

Nook 

iTunes  

SECRETS, SEDUCING,BODYGUARD 


We all have vices. Henry Flynn, the Viscount of Chesham, has a few more than the average person.  Don’t believe me? Here’s an introduction.

He was going to hell. Shame, Flynn thought, dangling from the third-floor window of a town house in exclusive Grosvenor Square. It was his birthday tomorrow, too. Actually, given the time of night, he’d already attained his twenty-seventh year.

His hand slipped, and he felt the moisture gathering on his fingers. He could not hold on much longer. Perhaps his death was for the best. It wasn’t as though anyone would mourn him. It wasn’t as though he had anything to live for.

Still, it seemed harsh even for one such as Beelzebub to claim him when he was hanging naked from the window of one of the most prestigious addresses in Mayfair.

I must admit, Flynn was a lot of fun to write. There’s something about indulging all of your vices–vicariously–that’s quite liberating. Flynn’s vices tend toward spirits, women, and making dangerous choices. My vices lean toward chocolate, like this yummy cake from Lemon Sugar.

10897814_863259183714283_4422149350837437945_n

I also love fashion and clothes. I buy far too many for Princess Galen and love the chance to dress up myself!

10904555_863264297047105_6329002744710142394_o

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t share my inspiration for Flynn. Handsome men are something of a vice too…

10896913_863262590380609_8160052809480365662_n

What’s your vice?

One person who comments will receive an advance copy of Earls Just Want to Have Fun, the next in the series.

You can buy Viscount of Vice today for only $2.99!
Kindle: http://amzn.to/1HCtqZM
Nook: http://bit.ly/14r7GlM

The Viscount of Vice

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1y6M0ou

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1y6M0ou

And hopefully on iBooks by the end of the day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A Celebration Christmas larger cover

Lily Palmer is in for the Christmas of a lifetime! When the nanny signs up to watch Dr. Cullen Dunlevy’s four foster kids, she’s got her hands full. The Thomas clan is the most mischievous group of youngsters she’s ever had to wrangle, but Lily loves the job. After all, what girl wouldn’t adore spending the holidays with a warmhearted new family—and their irresistibly handsome foster dad?

Cullen doesn’t mind Christmas, but his Scrooge-like facade is there for a reason—to protect himself. His tough childhood caused him to hide behind his work and avoid entanglements at all costs. That includes avoiding falling for the deliciously tempting new nanny that Santa left for him this year… 

Where did you get the idea for A CELEBRATION CHRISTMAS

The Sound of Music has always been one of my favorite movies. I saw it for the first time when I was very young. Later, I shared it with my daughter. I hope someday she’ll continue the chain. In the meantime, I wanted to write a book that was a nod to that classic story that shows that with love and family you can overcome just about anything.

Of course, I changed it up enough to make it my own. First, it’s set during the holidays. Cullen, the hero, is a doctor rather than a wealthy navy captain; and Lily, the heroine, is a teacher rather than an aspiring nun. There are four kids rather than seven. Actually, in the first incarnation of this book, I gave Cullen seven foster children, but then I came to my senses. He and Lily were grateful because as it turned out, four feisty Thomas children were more than enough.

 * Tell us about the hero and heroine of the book? Why will we want them to fall in love?

 We met both Cullen and Lily in previous books. I introduced you to Lily inCELEBRATION’S BRIDE (she was the woman who won the wedding of her dreams, only to have her fiancé back out on national television). Cullen first appeared inCELEBRATION’S FAMILY. He was the stern chief of staff at Celebration Memorial, who insisted that the hero of that book participate in the bachelor auction that raised money for the hospital’s pediatric wing.

 Lily’s nurturing, never-give-up-on-love spirit softens Cullen’s hard exterior and together they realize that through love and family they can heal hurts of the past.

 * Is there any particular significance in the setting?

 I think Debbie Haupt of RT Book Reviews said it best, “Thompson takes us back to Celebration, Texas to check in on old friends and create new memories.”

 * What was your favorite scene to write?

 This book was so much fun to write, that it’s difficult to pick just one scene, but I guess the scenes with the kids were my favorite…or maybe the scenes at the Holiday market…or maybe when the hero and heroine go to the Christmas ball… Wow! Choosing is kind of like naming my favorite child.

 

stollenWere there any real-life inspirations for a particular scene or character in the book?

 I infused several personal details into the book. Like Lily, I lost my mother and was exceptionally close to my grandmother. My grandmother’s recipes are very special to me. I cook her food when I’m missing her.

 My father remarried a wonderful woman, who was first generation German American and my lovely step-mother shared her mother’s recipe for a German Christmas bread called stollen, a confection filled with dried fruits and marzipan. In the book, the stollen recipe came from Lily’s grandmother and to bring some holiday cheer into the house, she teaches the kids how to make it.

 * Do any beloved characters from your previous books show up in this one?

 Oh, yes! Sydney and Miles from CELEBRATION’S BRIDE and Pepper and A.J. from Celebrations, Inc. Catering Company among others. It was fun revisiting everyone.

  * Any interesting tidbits of information you discovered while researching this book?

 I wanted Lily to tell the children the story of Christmas stollen and when I was researching it, not only did I learn all about where stollen came from (Lily will tell you all about it in the book), I learned there used to be an annual stollen festival in Germany. They’ve recently revived it and now it’s called Stollenfest.

 That makes me wonder about your holiday traditions. I know it’s a little early for some of you to talk about Christmas and Hanukkah, but we are getting close to Halloween and Thanksgiving. What are some of your fall/winter traditions?

 I will give away an ARC of CELEBRATION CHRISTMAS to one person who posts on this blog.

 If you’d like another chance to win, I’ve joined with a group of authors from Tule and we’re a prize package worth $500 in the Great Thanksgiving Giveaway. Follow the link for details on how you can win. 

I can’t wait to hear about your fall/winter traditions!


For the most part, authors work alone. We spend hours upon hours inside our heads, crafting worlds of our own making. Even when we work with others–web designers, publicists, or assistants—our interactions with our co-workers are confined mainly to email.

That’s why it’s so much fun to occasionally step out of my self-imposed solitude to work with others. Last year I worked with Anna Campbell, Kate Noble, and Jaunty Quill Vanessa Kelly to write A Grosvenor Square Christmas (which is still free, by the way!).

 ShanaGalen_ChristmasinGrosvernorSquare_800

This year I had to opportunity to work with Grace Burrowes, Carolyn Jewel, and Miranda Neville to write connected novellas for an anthology titled Christmas in the Duke’s Arms.

 Christmas in the Duke's Arms

The Duke’s Arms is a cozy inn in the Nottinghamshire countryside. A duke lives nearby as do several other interesting characters, which Neville, Burrowes, and Jewel bring to life.

For my part, I wanted to bring a little action to the sleepy village of Hopewell-on-Lyft. I introduced the idea of a highwayman who’d stylized himself The New Sheriff of Nottingham. He’s been attacking the post coaches and the locals, and it’s up to fledgling spies Pierce Moneypence and Miss Qwillen to capture him.

 Love and Let Spy

If you read my recent release, Love and Let Spy, you’ll recognize Moneypence and Q and hopefully enjoy a more in-depth look at their relationship.

Tell me, readers, with 71 days before Christmas, are you thinking about the holidays at all or aren’t they on your radar yet? Two readers who comment will win copies of Christmas in the Duke’s Arms (print or ebook). Winners randomly chosen and announced Sunday. Print books mailed out after October 27.

An anthology of Regency novellas by Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen, Carolyn Jewel and Miranda Neville.

These yuletide tales are set in rural Nottinghamshire and feature couples who dream of holidays filled with true love, however unlikely that might be. A highwayman, a cozy country inn, a Christmas assembly and copious bundles of mistletoe contribute to merry, romantic holiday happily ever afters.

A Knight Before Christmas by Grace Burrowes
Sir Leviticus Sparrow is a man of business who means business when it comes to offering Penelope Carrington marriage under the mistletoe.

In The Duke’s Arms by Carolyn Jewel
What’s a Duke to do when he’s made an awful impression on the love of his life?

Licensed to Wed by Miranda Neville
If Lord Carbury could learn to take no for an answer, his marriage proposal might earn him a yes.

The Spy Beneath the Mistletoe by Shana Galen
Fledgling spies Q and Moneypence pursue love and a highwayman in The Duke’s Arms.

Buy It Now (only $3.99)!

Amazon (print): http://amzn.to/1vZMLP3
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/ZpXPt4
BN: http://bit.ly/1sLLLyv
iBooks: http://goo.gl/uc9Oz4
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1D97Hqd


 A Celebration Christmas cover

Shortly after my first book hit the shelves, an acquaintance confided that she almost couldn’t finish reading it because she felt as if she were prying into my life. “It was just so… intimate!” she’d said.  I was equal parts astonished that she actually thought it was autobiographical and flattered that she thought I lived (or once lived) such an exciting life. I mean, I love my life, but it’s vastly different from the fictional worlds I create for my heroines.

After I thought about it, I could see where she might have drawn that conclusion. While I’m a bit older than most of my heroines, I do tend to lend them characteristics and features similar to my own. Still, my heroines are not me. I don’t write about myself as much as I write about observations and what I find interesting.

 

Take, for example, my first book, REINVENTING OLIVIA. It was born one night when my husband and I were out to dinner at a trendy downtown restaurant. As we approached, I heard dance music pulsing from the loft condos above the restaurant. When I looked up, I saw a hand holding a drink over the balcony rail. I thought, wow, if I were young and single that’s where I’d live… and the story took off on its own. So, while Olivia was most decidedly not me, she was definitely a child of my imagination, born out of what-ifs and shades of possibility.

 

I’ll confess that within the pages of my twenty-five (and counting) books I’ve drawn strongly on my own life experiences (because the first rule of writing is write what you know).  I’ve borrowed characteristics from real-life villains (uhh-hmm - bosses) and given them their comeuppance on the page, or rewritten an unsatisfying true-to-life experience so that it ended happily, but the majority of my plots and characters come from the most unexpected places.  That was the case with my book WITH VIOLETS (HarperCollins) – written under my historical nom de plume, Elizabeth Robards.

 

I’ve always been infatuated with the French Impressionists. So when my husband and I went to Paris, I was anticipating a daytrip to Giverny, Claude Monet’s home and famous gardens. Before we boarded a train at the Gare Saint-Lazare, to make our way to Giverny, we stopped at the Musée Marmottan to see Monet’s famous ‘Impression, Sunrise’ (Impression: Soleil Levant), the painting that launched the French Impressionist movement.

 

Little did I know, but I was about to meet painter Berthe Morisot on the second floor of the Musée Marmottan. Not literally, of course, because she died in 1895.  However, I saw her work for the first time and a photograph of her with her family. Something about the photo haunted me and urged me to research her life. In doing so, I discovered the tale of a deeply complex, richly talented woman who bucked nineteenth century convention to become one of the world’s greatest artists and the heroine of WITH VIOLETS.

 

The research and the story were labors of love. And while the Berthe Morisot I wrote is not really like me – well, except for her strong, independent streak and a great passion for what she loved – I think there’s a little bit of every woman in her.

In my next release A CELEBRATION CHRISTMAS (Harlequin Special Edition, November 2014). I  drew inspiration from one of my favorite movies THE SOUND OF MUSIC. To make it my own, I gave it a Christmas twist. Here’s the back cover copy:

THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL 

Lily Palmer is in for the Christmas of a lifetime! When the nanny signs up to watch Dr. Cullen Dunlevy’s four foster kids, she’s got her hands full. The Thomas clan is the most mischievous group of youngsters she’s ever had to wrangle, but Lily loves the job. After all, what girl wouldn’t adore spending the holidays with a warmhearted new family—and their irresistibly handsome foster dad? 

Cullen doesn’t mind Christmas, but his Scrooge-like facade is there for a reason—to protect himself. His tough childhood caused him to hide behind his work and avoid entanglements at all costs. That includes avoiding falling for the deliciously tempting new nanny that Santa left for him this year…

Anyhow, when a fertile imagination has its way with an interesting subject… Well, that’s how stories are born. Whether or not the plot is autobiographical, a writer can’t help but infuse a little of herself and the things she loves into the story.

Have you ever related to a fictional character so much that she seemed real?  Who was it and what about her grabbed you?

One person who comments will win the book of her (his) choice from my backlist… Can’t wait to hear from you!

 


Keep in contact through the following social networks or via RSS feed:

  • Follow on Facebook
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Subscribe