Monday, 17 December 2012

Advent Giveaway Winner!

The winner of my competition for 10th December is Alaine Batty. She correctly posted that the twin heroes of my books "Beneath the Major's Scars" and "Behind the Rake's Wicked Wager" are Dominic and Jasper Coale.

Congratulations, Alaine - a copy of "Behind the Rake's Wicked Wager" will be with you shortly - and probably before it reached the shops!

Monday, 10 December 2012

The Harlequin Historical Holiday Giveaway



Harlequin Historical Calendar


The Harlequin Historical Holiday Giveaway is back!

We are giving away daily prizes, plus a Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire HD (or equivalent, depending on your location). Each participating author has activites planned for their blog or website on their day - CLICK HERE to link to the main calendar and full details of the giveaway.





 
My Giveaway day is 10th December 2012,  so welcome.  I am Sarah Mallory, author of historical romantic adventures for Harlequin Mills & Boon.  and I am giving away a copy of my January release, Behind The Rake's Wicked Wager. This is the second in a duo of books about the Notorious Coale twins - the talk of the ton! The first (Beneath the Major's Scars) featured Major Dominic Coale,  scarred hero of the Peninsula War while Behind the Rake's Wicked Wager follows the fortunes of his older brother. Jasper Coale, Viscount Markham, has left a trail of broken hearts in his wake, but has he met his match in the beautiful Susannah Prentess?


I have been very busy recently, with two books out in December and another in January. Phew!

 The two December releases, Beneath the Major's Scars and The Illegitimate Montague, are very different. The first is a "Beauty and the Beast" story of a scarred soldier hiding himself away, until circumstances- and of course our heroine - bring him back into the world.  The second book is number five in the Castonbury Park Series, a sort of Regency Upstairs Downstairs, or Downton Abbey.  Eight authors collaborated on the series, following the fortunes of the ancient and noble Montague famil as they struggle with the financial and social upheavals after Waterloo.  Boy, we had fun! Eight gorgeous heroes and delicious heroines all in one series, and although the stories are linked, you can also read them as stand-alone books.You can find more details on my website

WINNING A COPY of Behind The Rake's Wicked Wager is easy, just visit my website from  10th December and answer the following question  via the "Contact me" page, putting "Christmas Giveaway" in the subject heading:-

** What are the names of the twin heroes featured in my two books about the Notorious Coale Brothers? **

  I shall draw a winner on Monday 17th December. And remember, all entrants will be entered for the Grand Prize Draw for a Kindle Fire HD

Good luck! 

Sarah 

Participating Authors

marguerite kaye annie burrows michelle stylesmichelle willingham diane gaston lucy ashford joanna fulford amanda mccabe sarah mallory barbara monajem julia justiss terri brisbin louise allen jeannie lin blythe gifford ann lethbridgebronwyn scott elizabeth beacon grand prize drawing

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Harlequin Historical Authors Giveaway



Harlequin Historical Calendar


The Harlequin Historical Holiday Giveaway is back!

We are giving away daily prizes, plus a Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire HD (or equivalent, depending on your location). Each participating author has activites planned for their blog or website on their day - CLICK HERE to link to the main calendar and full details of the giveaway.





 
My Giveaway day is 10th December 2012,  so welcome.  I am Sarah Mallory, author of historical romantic adventures for Harlequin Mills & Boon.  and I am giving away a copy of my January release, Behind The Rake's Wicked Wager. This is the second in a duo of books about the Notorious Coale twins - the talk of the ton! The first (Beneath the Major's Scars) featured Major Dominic Coale,  scarred hero of the Peninsula War while Behind the Rake's Wicked Wager follows the fortunes of his older brother. Jasper Coale, Viscount Markham, has left a trail of broken hearts in his wake, but has he met his match in the beautiful Susannah Prentess?


I have been very busy recently, with two books out in December and another in January. Phew!

 The two December releases, Beneath the Major's Scars and The Illegitimate Montague, are very different. The first is a "Beauty and the Beast" story of a scarred soldier hiding himself away, until circumstances- and of course our heroine - bring him back into the world.  The second book is number five in the Castonbury Park Series, a sort of Regency Upstairs Downstairs, or Downton Abbey.  Eight authors collaborated on the series, following the fortunes of the ancient and noble Montague famil as they struggle with the financial and social upheavals after Waterloo.  Boy, we had fun! Eight gorgeous heroes and delicious heroines all in one series, and although the stories are linked, you can also read them as stand-alone books.You can find more details on my website

WINNING A COPY of Behind The Rake's Wicked Wager is easy, just visit my website from  10th December and answer the following question  via the "Contact me" page, putting "Christmas Giveaway" in the subject heading:-

** What are the names of the twin heroes featured in my two books about the Notorious Coale Brothers? **

  I shall draw a winner on Monday 17th December. And remember, all entrants will be entered for the Grand Prize Draw for a Kindle Fire HD

Good luck! 

Sarah 

Participating Authors


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

THE NEXT BIG THING




Gwen Kirkwood (
http://www.gwenkirkwood.blogspot.co.uk) has invited me to take part in a blog event entitled THE NEXT BIG THING - a series of questions and answers about what’s happening next in my writing life – thanks Gwen, and here goes!

What is the title of your book?
Beneath the Major's Scars
How did you come by the idea?
I wanted to write about twins as heroes – Dominic is the younger twin – his brother Jasper features in Behind the Rake's Wicked Wager, which is published in January 2013
What genre does your book fall under?
Historical Romance
Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?
Oh heavens, when I visualise my heroes they are always a mixture of lots of different actors, but maybe to play Dominic Coale, the scarred Major of this book it could be Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Avengers Assemble) or Hugh Jackman. 

Zelah is dark and petite but with an inner strength – she could be played by Madeleine Stowe, perhaps, or Anne Hathaway…
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Beauty and the Beast scenario, set on Exmoor
Will your book be self-published or traditional?
Traditional, published my Harlequin Mills & Boon in December 2012
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I have been toying with this idea for a long time, and since I have been researching and reading about the Regency period for decades now, I was able to write the first draft in three months, then another month to polish.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
In the wider context this is a romantic adventure story, like Lorna Doone, but within the genre of historical romance, I suppose it might be comparable to the dark brooding heroes of  Annie Burrows (Devilish Lord, Mysterious Miss or A Countess By Christmas).
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
First of all, the scenery of Exmoor. A holiday there one autumn sent me home with dozens of ideas (one of which was published in December 2011 as "Snowbound with the Notorious Rake"). Also, having twins myself, I have always wanted to write about twins – two identical men with very different personalities.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
This is a story of two damaged people coming together and learning to love and to trust again. It is a romance, but with a dash of adventure, too, with scenes set on the wilds of Exmoor and on the dramatic north Devon coast.

So thanks for dropping by!  The following authors will pick up THE NEXT BIG THING baton next Tuesday, 4th December:-

Barbara Monajem




Look out for two more Sarah Mallory books - 

No 5 in the Castonbury Park Series - "The Illegitimate Montague" is out now  and "Behind the Rake's Wicked Wager" - out January 2013

Monday, 24 September 2012

Drama and Inspiration in Devon

I am not a great fan of holiday snaps, but I have just come back from a week staying on one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in England.  In Tudor times Hartland Quay in Devon was a bustling port but with the arrival of the railway at Bideford in 1855 there was  less need to transport heavy goods in and out of the area by sea. When a storm destroyed the pierhead in 1887 it was not rebuilt and the harbour fell into disuse.

I only discovered Hartland Quay a few years ago when I was researching for Snowbound with the Notorious Rake and wanted somewhere remote for the purposes of my story.  One visit was enough for me to fall in love with this desolate place so this year I returned to stay at the Hartland Quay Hotel - the first picture here is the view that greets any visitor making the descent to the promontory which is just big enough to hold the small hotel, one  shop and a tiny but fascinating museum.

The coastline here is so very dramatic and with the light constantly changing the view is always different - these next two photos show the small beach where the harbour used to be - the one above is the view from the Quay just as the tide is coming in. The rock strata show very clearly here, and the picture below is a close up of a small cave on the far left of the beach - I say small, but if you look very closely at the picture below you can just see me standing to one side of the opening!

We were very lucky with our hotel room, too, which overlooks this glorious coast. The last photo is a view from the window just as the evening tide was coming in.  I went to sleep and awoke to the sound of the sea crashing over the rocks - although this is Devon, not Cornwall, it reminded me very much of the Daphne Du Maurier stories or those old tales of pirates and shipwrecks, so look out for dramatic scenes in future books!















Sarah
Coming soon - The Illegitimate Montague - book 5 in the Castonbury Park Series

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Regency Day at Kedleston Hall

The Beautiful Kedleston Hall was the inspiration for Castonbury Park in the continuity. in August 2010 I visited Kedleston, and it happened to be their Regency Day  - most fitting, what do you think?


August 2010

Novelists need to relax, too, so today I took a trip to Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, one of the National Trust's beautiful old houses, and enjoyed their display of Regency pastimes in the pleasure gardens.  Kedleston Hall is the first of Robert Adam's great houses and set him on his career as one of the foremost architects and designers of his day.  the house has often been used for costume dramas, recent films include Pride & prejudice Film and The Duchess. The main entrance was built before Adam took over as architect, but he designed the magnificent South Front, which looks out over the pleasure gardens.

 
Today visitors had a chance to enjoy some real Regency entertainments. There were the redcoats giving a display of drill and exercise, including firing their muskets and explaining how they routed the French at Waterloo), plus we could wander through their encampment and talk to the soldiers (eat your heart out, Lydia Bennett!). There was a re-enactment of the Battle of the Nile, with a life-size figure of Nelson watching on as model ships were moved over a blue cloth to act out the famous victory.

We listened to a hurdy-gurdy man playing popular songs of the day such as The Lass of Richmond Hill and other hits from Vauxhall pleasure gardens.  He was accompanied by a very accomplished young lady who sang, played the harp and the trumpet for some of the military songs!




Then we wandered over to see Mr  Punch getting the better of the dastardly Napoleon Bonaparte: it was such a treat to see a modern day audience of children enjoying Punch's antics – shouts of "wake up, Punch!" and "He's there behind you!" showed that Punch's pantomime comedy has not lost its appeal.  It may not have been politically correct - Punch had started by burying his wife in the garden - but it was great fun (and just to reassure you, Punch's wife dug her way out of her grave).






The weather was lovely, so we could wander through the pleasure gardens and see Regency ladies and gentlemen taking refreshments in the orangery – and I think I even spotted one couple heading off for a tryst in the summer house!

This is all grist to the historical novelist's mill and even the weather was kind and a beautifully warm, sunny day showed the gardens at their best.  All novelists need inspiration, and while the Regency Day didn't fire my imagination with any plots, it did help to bring the settings alive – and showed the difficulties for ladies of trying to walk up a flight of stairs whilst carrying a fan and a reticule, holding up a parasol and lifting ones' skirts enough to clear the steps without exposing more than a glimpse of an ankle!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Castonbury Park - Regency Series with a difference


Take eight Regency authors from three countries and ask them to come up with an upstairs/downstairs-themed series and what do you get? CASTONBURY PARK.  The first of this Regency "Upstairs/Downstairs" series is published in August 2012 (with a bonus prequel available online in June).  This was a new and exciting project and I am so pleased and proud to be a part of it.

We spent some time discussing just what we wanted to do. We decided that the house would be pivotal to the series.  It was to be a ducal seat, and the beautiful Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire was quite perfect for our stories. We studied floorplans, some of us even visited the house and reported back, so that we could all visualise the setting.






We decided to set our series soon after Waterloo. The Montague family is in turmoil, the old duke is ailing, his eldest son missing, another killed at Waterloo and the rest of the family struggling to hold the family together and contain the mounting debts.
In between searching for the missing heir, the sons and daughters have their own problems to cope with, including scandalous relationships. We had great fun planning out the lives of this wonderful family and their servants. We had to keep in close contact as we worked on our stories, sharing information, double checking dates and places. The house and its servants feature in every book, although the stories take us as far afield as Spain and India.
So here is the complete list of books – in order:-
Flirting with Ruin (Undone! Prequel) - Marguerite Kaye
 The Wicked Lord Montague - Carole Mortimer
Lady of Shame - Ann Lethbridge
The Illegitimate Montague - Sarah Mallory
Unbefitting a Lady - Bronwyn Scott
A Stranger at Castonbury - Amanda McCabe


My own book - The Illegitimate Montague, is published in December 2012, so watch out for news of this on my website or here on the blog later in the year.

This was a whole new way of working – usually we create our own characters and stories, constrained only by history and our own imagination, here we worked together, bounced ideas around, brainstormed and came up with a whole new Regency world.  We think it is a pretty amazing place – we hope you agree!

Sarah Mallory
www.sarahmallory.com

Friday, 25 May 2012

A sneak preview

Today I went exploring.... well not exploring exactly, not pith helmet and machete and fight through the jungle type of exploring, more a gentle stroll to see an old house that I had glimpsed many times from the car.  It is inspiration for my latest novel.

I have never before shared information about a book before it is finished, but I am taking a chance that this won't put a jinx on the story for me...only time will tell.

For my current story I have drawn on two places close to my home on the Pennines. If I travel east along the Calder Valley, I pass a turning called Burntacres Lane.  This has fascinated me for years as I wondered why a place would be given such a name. Of course there could be many reasons - I am sure any one of you might come up with a brilliant story about why that particular lane might be so-called. It certainly sparked (please excuse the pun) a story in me, a story featuring an old house that burned down years ago, leaving only a ruin and all the land around it scorched.

Then, if I travel west, I pass the remains of a beautiful old house.  It is Holme House in the village of Cliviger. It is a listed building, and I understand there has been a dwelling on this site since at least the thirteenth century. There is quite a lot of information about this particular property on the web and it has a fascinating history so I don't need to make one up, but  that isn't important, beacuse it is the look  of the house that I need for my novel.

 My story starts a couple of years after Waterloo, when the house (called in my book Moorwood Manor) has been a burned out shell for twenty-five years. It is a tale of dark deeds and revenge, and an element of Sleeping Beauty, too, with the overgrown grounds being cleared and the house restored. It will be a Sarah Mallory love story (naturally) and it will have a happy ending (of course), but there will be tears along the way.

The finished book is a long way in the future, but I will keep you posted about its progress. In the meantime, I believe there are plans to rebuild Holme House. I have yet to pass the house when there is anyone present, so if the current owners read this before I speak to them, I hope they do not mind my posting this photo, and I would dearly love to know their plans for this wonderful old house.

Winner of the RNA's Rona Rose 2012
Sarah Mallory

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Willow the Whippet


 Writerly things have taken a back seat the last couple of days as we have taken in a three-year old whippet that needed a home.  He is beautiful, but of course a little disorientated at the moment. 

We took these pictures yesterday, soon after we brought hime home. He didn't take long to settle in, and the regular walks (or rather, runs) can't be a bad thing for a writer!

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Highclough Lady

The Highclough Lady is set in West Yorkshire, the area of the Pennines where I now live.  Perhaps that is why it feels so special to me.  It has just been released as an e-book by Regency Reads, so it is now available to a new audience.  However, I still like the original cover used on the hardback version, published by Robert Hale Ltd.  This was created by artist David Young and anyone who is familiar with West Yorkshire will recognise the architectural style. Also, a note about the title.  The word "clough" (pronounced "cluff") is an old English word, still used in the north for a steep sided valley, or ravine.

THE HIGHCLOUGH LADY

Governess Verity Shore longs for a little adventure, then Rafe Bannerman arrives to carry her off to Highclough and Verity discovers that life can be a little too exciting! An estate the edge of the wild Yorkshire Moors, Highclough is Verity's inheritance, but she soon discovers that the land is coveted not only by her handsome cousin Luke but also by Rafe Bannerman and soon her very life is in danger…..

A lively tale of intrigue and romance in the turbulent final years of the eighteenth century


The extract I have chosen to give you is part of Verity's journey to Highclough.  Rafe Bannerman is escorting her to her new home, but they have run into bad weather.  This actual scene is based on my real life experiences of battling along an icy, exposed lane in the dark during a snow storm to reach home. It is much nicer to read about it when one is sitting safe before a warm fire!  enjoy.



EXTRACT:

  As they left the shelter of the valley the wind began to buffet the carriage, and the snow became finer, until it was hard, icy particles that rattled against the sides of the coach with each new gust of wind.  Verity huddled into her cloak, listening to the storm.  She tried to peer out of the window, but could see nothing in the near darkness.  The road grew steeper and the coach groaned on its back springs as the horses struggled to drag it upwards.  To Verity the journey seemed interminable.  She had no idea how fast they were travelling but just as she had decided that they must be climbing a mountain rather than a hill, the carriage came to a halt.
  'Wait here.'  Rafe Bannerman jumped out, slamming the door behind him to keep out the storm.  Verity sat alone in the darkness. She could just make out the sound of voices raised against the wind, then the door jerked open and she was obliged to hold her cloak tightly against the sudden icy blast.  Mr Bannerman leaned in.
  'John Driver says the horses can get the coach no further.  The house is less than half a mile from here – do you think you can walk?'
  'Of course.'
  'Let me see your shoes.'
  She pulled one foot from the snug sheepskin and put it forward for inspection, wrinkling her nose at the well-worn leather.
  'One of the advantages of a life of a governess,' she said, a laugh in her voice, 'one's footwear is always serviceable!'

Mr Bannerman helped her out of the carriage, one hand clasping the brim of his hat as he shouted over his shoulder to the coachman.
  'Leave it here, no-one is likely to be coming this way tonight.  Get the horses to Highclough, then have some of the lads come back with the sledge for the baggage.' He turned to Verity. 'Are you ready?'
  'Yes.'
  She looked down at her feet: the snow was so fine there was very little on the ground, but it was building up at the sides of the road, and she could feel the icy surface beneath her boots. They set off along a rough lane. The light was nearly gone, but she could just make out the high dry-stone walls on each side.  The wind swirled about, tugging at Verity's thick cloak.  The lane carried on upwards, and as they crested the highest point they were suddenly exposed to the full force of the wind, and Verity gasped as the icy rain hit her cheeks like dozens of tiny blades.  She gripped her hood, pulling it tightly around her face and trudged on, her head bent into the wind.  The storm howled about her and she found her feet slipping on the uneven surface.  Unable to look forward, she kept her eyes on the ground, just visible in the fading light, gritting her teeth against the biting cold and the icy wind that cut through the thin kid gloves, stinging her fingers.
  'Here, let me help you.' She felt a strong arm about her shoulders. 'Keep your head down.  I'll guide you.'
  She found herself clamped firmly against Rafe Bannerman's solid figure and he marched her steadily forward. A few minutes later, the wind dropped and Verity peeped up to see that they had turned onto a sweeping drive and had reached the shelter of a building.  She was aware of a large oak door being flung open and she was bundled across the threshold into an echoing stone passage.  Breathing heavily, she swayed as she found herself free of the gentleman's reassuring grip. She blinked, dazed by the quiet calm of the entrance hall.
 
©Melinda Hammond