Writer Wednesday: Meet Rachael Miles

Author Rachael MilesWelcome, all, to Writer Wednesday!

This week I’m excited to bring you Regency historical romance author, Rachael Miles. Regency is my favorite subgenre of romance, and I’m squeeing because I’ve found a new author for my “must read” list – I hope you add her books to yours, as well.

Settle in (hopefully before the air conditioner, if it’s as hot where you are as it is here in Virginia – goodness gracious!) and enjoy as you get to know Rachael a bit better, and then find out about her latest release, Chasing the Heiress!


Heart shaped book pagesWhich type of romance do you love most, and why?

I’m a pretty omnivorous reader, and I love all sorts of romance. But of course, historicals hold a special place on my shelf. I especially enjoy ones that evoke a real sense of the period, whether by describing the furnishings or the dresses or the ways that people interacted differently than we do now. And if those historicals can include a bit of suspense all the better!

Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book.

I knew that women followed the camps during the Napoleonic wars, but I hadn’t realized that 4-5 officers from every regiment could take their families with them. In Chasing the Heiress, the heroine Lucy learned how to nurse from working in the field hospitals, so I also had to learn what treatments would have been used in sewing up gunshot wounds or in treating them after. It was fascinating – and a bit terrifying – to read what were considered to be helpful treatments.

jtdName two things people don’t know about you.

1. I tend to name the wild life in my backyard. The groundhog is Eleanor. The two chipmunks who live in the retaining wall are Pyramus and Thisbe.

2. I find historic gardens fascinating, and I love touring them. Most recently I visited the small—but very interesting—Shaker garden at the Shaker village in Chatham, NY. Perhaps this is part of what made Sophia Wilmot in Jilting the Duke such a special character for me.

What fellow romance author do you recommend reading, and why?

Who I recommend usually depends on what sorts of stories the person I’m talking to likes. If they want something tender, I point out Jodi Thomas, If they want something sparkling, I say Cathy Maxwell.  If they want something spicy, I recommend Christine D’Abo. If they want a story with multicultural characters, I suggest Jenny Holiday’s contemporaries. If they want YA, I’d suggest Kara Bietz’s debut YA novel coming out in November, Until I Break. I’m reading an advance copy, and it’s gripping!

TypewriterWhat one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

Write every day. Whether just a sentence or a paragraph, don’t wait for inspiration or large blocks of time. Just write: you can revise later. I learned this when I first began writing professionally as an academic, and it’s a lesson that served me well when I started writing novels.

What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?

When I was a child, I discovered The Perilous Gard, a Newberry Honor book by Elizabeth Marie Pope. The story follows a girl in the Renaissance who is exiled through no fault of her own by Elizabeth I to a distant estate. She stumbles over a mystery that she must solve or lose the young man she has come to love. It was my first real experience with historical fiction and with self-determinative young women protagonists. I read it over and over.


cthA Bit on Chasing The Heiress

Heiress on the Run

Lady Arabella Lucia Fairborne has no need of a husband. She has a fine inheritance for the taking, a perfectly capable mind, and a resolve as tough as nails. But what she doesn’t have is the freedom to defy her cousin’s will—and his will is to see her married immediately to the husband of his choosing. So is it any wonder that she dresses herself as a scullery maid and bolts into the night? 

Colin Somerville’s current mission for the home office is going, well, poorly. Of course, who would have expected otherwise for a rakish spy tasked with transporting a baby to the care of the royal palace? But when, injured and out of ideas, Colin stumbles upon a beautiful maid who knows her way around children, it seems salvation has arrived. Until he realizes that though Arabella may be able to help him survive his expedition, he may not escape this ordeal with his heart intact…

Buy Chasing the Heiress here: 

Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Amazon 


writingA Bit On Rachael:

Rachael Miles writes romance novels set in the British Regency. Jilting the Duke and Chasing the Heiress—the first two novels in her debut series The Muses’ Salon, published by Kensington Zebra Shout—received 4-star reviews from RT Book Reviews and positive notices in Publisher’s Weekly.

Identified as a ‘strong new voice’ by Mary Jo Putney for Omnivoracious.com, Miles is a former professor of book history and nineteenth-century literature. Miles lives in the woods with her indulgent husband, three rescued dogs, an ancient cat, and a herd of deer who love her vegetable garden.

Want to connect further with Rachael? Find her here:

Website | Twitter | Facebook |  Goodreads |  Pinterest


Thank you so much for joining us, Rachael! You’re positively delightful. 

Writer Wednesday: Meet Mariana Gabrielle!

Mariana GabrielleIt’s the first Writer Wednesday of June, and today we’re privileged to bring you Mariana Gabrielle, author of historical fiction and Regency romance that offers second chances for scarred souls. Isn’t that lovely? Because who doesn’t like a second chance?

Mariana is also a member of the Bluestocking Belles, which she describes on her website as “a wonderful group of eight Regency Romance authors working together to bring our readers new books and advance the historical romance genre in general (Regency, in particular), and also to raise awareness of “bluestockings” around the world.” (Plus, they’re just a heck of a lot of fun – come find them on Facebook!)

Read on to learn a little about Mariana and her writing . . . Continue reading Writer Wednesday: Meet Mariana Gabrielle!

Everybody needs a cheap romance at least once in their life, right?

A Man of Character can be yours for less than $1, but only for A Matter of Time…Don’t miss out on your chance to fall in love with the magic this Valentine’s Day!

amanofcharactersmallA Man of Character: http://bit.ly/AManOfCharacter – Check out this whimsically magical romantic comedy, in which a bookstore owner must choose between fantasy and reality after discovering the men she’s dating are living versions of fictional characters she created long ago.

A Man of Character is a HIT!!! Margaret Locke’s first novel is a true gift to any of us that enjoy romantic comedies with a whimsical twist.” – Annie McDonnell, The Write Review and chicklitplus.com

amatteroftimesmallA Matter of Time: http://bit.ly/AMatterOfTime – A fun, emotion-packed Regency time-travel romance in which a modern-day Austenite’s dream comes true when she lands in the arms of an authentic Regency duke, only to learn some fantasies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be when he proves less than a Prince Charming…

“A love story and so much more, A Matter of Time should be on every fantasy, paranormal, contemporary and Regency romance readers “to read” list. I would definitely recommend this novel – you will be charmed, captivated, have a few good laughs and shed a few tears as you cheer Eliza and Dev on to find their happy every after ending.” – Marcy, Keeper Bookshelf

RELEASE DAY! A Matter of Time is HERE! + plus short excerpt

AMOTDebut2

Yes! A Matter of Time is finally here, available today in Kindle and paperback format! Wahoo!!!

Thank you to ALL of you for your marvelous support – you stunned me by pre-ordering 107 copies! I can’t wait to read your reviews on Amazon and GoodReads, to find out what you think of Eliza and Deveric’s story – and of course you may always drop me a personal email to let me know what you think.

Just for fun, here’s a small excerpt, one of my favorite passages, perhaps because of how often my daughter and I watched each Disney Princess movie – especially my beloved favorite, Beauty and the Beast:

If only it were as easy as waltzing one time at a ball, and falling instantly in love. Cinderella didn’t know how good she had it. She’d won over her Prince with one look. The tale said nothing about the Prince having a suspicious mother or a handful of sisters. Much less a recalcitrant son.

Cinderella may have occupied the bottom rung in the world in which she lived, but at least she’d been familiar with all the rules, had known the ins and outs way better than Eliza did, no matter how much she’d thought she’d known before coming here.

Eliza sighed. She’d always liked Belle better, anyway. Belle hadn’t given a fig for what society thought, and ended up with that amazing library of books. After taming the Beast, of course. Ah, the Beast. He hadn’t really been a beast at all, just a wounded man looking for love . . . and acceptance. Okay, maybe he had been beastly, at first, in human form; but it was Belle’s love that had transformed him, had healed him, had accepted him, and allowed him to open his heart again.

Cat had known Beauty and the Beast was Eliza’s favorite story; had she been thinking of that when she drafted Deveric’s tale? Was Eliza Belle, Deveric her wounded beast? And Regency society the mob of angry townspeople she needed to appease?

Only $2.99 on Kindle, or $13.79 on paperback (though Amazon has it marked down to $12.14 – not sure how long that will last!), and FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/AMatterOfTime

*** Please feel free to share – word of mouth is still the best way to make others aware of books you like, and we indie authors need all the word of mouth we can get. ***

I am so very, very grateful to everyone who’s come into my life this year via my books – I’ve met such terrific authors and readers who are now friends, and I can’t tell you how moving that is, to know my book, my writing, touched someone enough to reach out and connect with me. Much love to all of you!

Writer Wednesday: Margaret Locke, Part Two

Margaret LockeIt’s Writer Wednesday, and this week we’ve got … me, Margaret Locke? Well, sure – that’s one of the benefits of hosting your own weekly shindig: you can, uh, take over that hot seat whenever you, er, want to. Hopefully y’all will stick with me, and we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled roster of awesome writers next week (in fact, next Wednesday the amazing Tamara Shoemaker will be here, so don’t miss it!)

I thought it’d be fun to answer not only some of the questions I didn’t address the first time around, but also to tell y’all a bit about A Matter of Time, my new time-travel Regency romance. So without further ado…


What inspires you to write?

A Man of Character Cover Margaret LockeAs a teenager addicted to historical romance novels, I often had to defend my reading material of choice. I even wrote an essay for my tenth grade English class explaining my love for the genre: I read romance, because no matter what happens (and some pretty crazy things happen), you know those two people are going to end up together, and achieve that coveted Happy Ever After. For this anxiety-prone child of divorce, that was the ultimate comfort. Two flawed people could encounter all sorts of bizarre obstacles, and still stay together, still find everlasting love? Yes, please.

As to why I write it? Because I still seek that hope, that comfort, that security every day. Also, I’m a bit of a control freak. So an encouraging, reassuring story (with funny/witty parts, or so I hope) dictated entirely by me? Sign me up!

Writing allows me to explore my own thoughts and beliefs through watching/learning what my characters do. In A Man of Character, I examined the ideas of fantasy versus reality, perhaps in part because people have long challenged romance as presenting impossible ideals. In A Matter of Time, I delved into whether feminism is compatible with wanting to prioritize love and marriage (for the record, I am an ardent feminist who happens to be madly in love with my husband and who finds my identity in that relationship, and I’m good with that. So my answer to that question is a resounding yes.)

Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book.

I spent a lot of time looking up various details about the Regency period, fervently attempting to get everything historically accurate. I’m sure I didn’t, but any errors are my own (still positive I don’t have the title thing down pat, in spite of marvelous help from The Beau Monde).

In addition to history books, I read numerous fascinating blog posts (there are tons of historical bloggers out there – my praise and thanks to them!). One post, from the UK’s Jane Austen website, discussed the making of hot chocolate in the Regency era, a tidbit I found so fascinating I had to stick it in the book. Definitely much more complicated than nuking milk in the microwave and adding powdered mix!

Name two things people don’t know about you.

  1. Hubby and I enjoyed some Bier in Hamburg!

    I’ve lived in Germany twice, and used to be quite fluent in the language (given it’s been fifteen years since I’ve regularly spoken auf Deutsch, I can’t claim that anymore). The first was in 1989, right after high school, in which I spent four months with a fantastic host family in Wülfrath (a small town near Düsseldorf and not all that far from Köln (or, as we say, Cologne)). The second was ten years later, when I’d won a DAAD grant for dissertation research, and I was to spend a year in Hamburg as I tackled the issues of gender and power and how they related to Ottonian queenship. I only stayed four months, but that’s a story for another blog post

  1. I met actor Wallace Shawn once in the Alderman Library on the University of Virginia’s campus. I and a bunch of fellow grad students were so star-struck that at first none of us would approach him. What if we were wrong, and it wasn’t him? (Inconceivable!) Finally I worked up the courage to ask – was he the Sicilian from The Princess Bride? He nodded his head and rather shyly said yes (or perhaps he was just irritated at the question and the crowd.) I was so giddy I just kind of hopped away. I didn’t compliment him on any other movies he’d done, nor did I ask for an autograph. I just ran, grinning like an idiot.

I’d like to think I did a bit better when I met Colin Morgan in 2013, but I probably didn’t – though at least I thought of something good enough to say that I earned a high-five from the man.

What fellow romance author do you recommend reading, and why?

TemptationOf course I have my big three (Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Sabrina Jeffries), to which I now need to add Sarah MacLean, and then also Valerie Bowman, Tessa Dare, and Erin Knightley, plus oh-so-many more! But those are the very well-know Regency names, the writers most people could find on the shelf in a bookstore.

As I’ve ventured down this authorly path, I’ve been blessed to meet many a romance writer, some who are traditionally published but less well known, or perhaps traditionally published but in e-format only, or, like me, who are indie published.

I highly recommend contemporary romance author Kathryn Barrett’s Temptationgreat book with a premise I hadn’t yet encountered (Amish hero, but not an Amish romance per se). And Katy Regnery is another contemporary romance writer who’s shot up the charts in the last year (in part because I’m convinced she’s secretly super-human, given how quickly she can churn out well-written, emotionally intense novels!).

But there are so many more – check out my Writer Wednesday interview tab to find other great names.

What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

editorGet an editor.

I didn’t understand at first that there were different types of editors. I didn’t think I needed one, since not only was I fairly decent at the whole grammar/punctuation thing, but I have several marvelous friends and critique group members whose eagle eyes catch all sorts of goofs.

I didn’t realize that what I was thinking of was copy-editing/proofreading, and that there were other levels of editing, including the most global one, the developmental edit (which it turns out my first book really needed!).

I wish I’d hired Tessa Shapcott before I sent A Man of Character out on the query market. My guess is I would have had more success, more requests. Who knows? Maybe I’m wrong, though the original, unedited manuscript did garner some interest and a publication offer. But the version I crafted after receiving Tessa’s developmental suggestions resulted in a much better book.

Having gone through this writing and editing process twice, I know for sure that my developmental editor’s advice is worth its weight in gold, as both of my books are far stronger because of her advice. Not perfect, I’m sure (that burden is mine alone), but stronger!

If you’re a newbie like me, sinking a lot of money into a book is the last thing you want to do if you have no clue whether or not you’re going to make that money back. But here’s the thing: if you’re indie-publishing and you don’t get your works professionally edited, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. If you’re aiming for traditional publishing, you might also be sunk if your work isn’t solid enough to catch an agent or publisher’s attention. Gone are the days when agents/publishers were willing to dig and dig and dig for the diamond amongst the coal. You’ve got to pressure that puppy into a mostly finished gem yourself. Make use of the tools around you – critique groups, beta readers, and mostly definitely an editor!


Front Cover of A Matter of Time by Margaret LockeAnd now … A Matter of Time, a time-travel Regency romance in which a modern-day Austenite’s dreams come true when she lands in the arms of a Regency duke – only to realize some fantasies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be when he proves less than a Prince Charming.

Here’s the official scoop:

Love comes when least expected.

Nobody would blame widowed doctoral student Eliza James for giving up on Happy Ever After; at twenty-nine, she’s suffered more loss than most people do in a lifetime. But Eliza’s convinced her own hero is still out there, waiting for her, just like in the beloved romance novels she devours. Every girl deserves a Darcy, right?

Only Eliza doesn’t dream of a modern-day affair: she wants the whole Regency experience. When a magical manuscript thrusts her back two hundred years into the arms and life of one Deveric Mattersley, Duke of Claremont, however, Eliza soon realizes some fantasies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, especially when her duke proves himself less than a Prince Charming.

Deveric Mattersley has no interest in women, much less marriage. Determined to atone for his sins after convincing himself he’s at fault for the death of his first wife, he decrees himself content to focus on running his family’s estates, and on raising his son–until the mysterious Mrs. James appears. Who is she? What does she want? And why does she make Dev’s blood run hot in a way no woman ever has?

Can a man with a past and a woman from the future forge a love for all time?


“I fell in love with this book, just as I did with the Jane Austen classics. There’s a new Mr. Darcy in town.” – Annie, ARC reader, reviewer for The Write Review and ChickLitPlus.com.


You can pre-order A Matter of Time today on Amazon for only $2.99! Paperbacks available on official release day, November 30th, 2015.


Bio:

Margaret LockeA lover of romance novels since the age of ten (shh, don’t tell mom!), Margaret Locke declared as a teen that she’d write romances when she grew up. Once an adult, however, she figured she ought to be doing grown-up things (such as earning that master’s degree in medieval history), not penning steamy love stories. Yeah, whatever. Turning forty cured her of that silly notion. Margaret is now happily ensconced back in the clutches of her first love, this time as an author as well as a reader.

Margaret lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with her fantastic husband, two fabulous kids, and two fat cats. You can usually find her in front of some sort of screen (electronic or window; she’s come to terms with the fact that she’s not an outdoors person).

Margaret loves to interact with fellow readers and authors! You may find her here:

Website/Blog: http://margaretlocke.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/AuthorMargaretLocke
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/Margaret_Locke
Twitter: @Margaret_Locke


Thanks for putting up with this self-centered Writer Wednesday!
We’ll see you next week when we turn the spotlight back to where it belongs – on all those marvelous writers out there!