Sneak Peek at Dark Deceit - over at Historical Fiction Excerpts

I hope you've all had wonderful holidays. We've been lazy over the last few days after our hectic trip up north to the outlaws last week. More about that trip soon...

For now, please join me as I post a preview of my upcoming release, Dark Deceit, over at Historical Fiction Excerpts! I should have an exact release date soon. Whoot!

Here's the blurb:

On his return from battle at Lincoln, Geoffrey de Mortagne, undersheriff of Gloucester and spy for the Empress Matilda, assists a dying knight caught in an ambush. Promising to look after the welfare of the knight’s only daughter, Geoffrey stays at her manor while he investigates the murder. Keen to join the Empress on her progress through England, he is torn between his oath and his duty. 

Left to defend her manor following her father’s death, Alleyne de Bellac at first accepts Geoffrey’s support. As she doesn’t trust the taciturn stranger, she asks Will d’Arques, an old friend, for help. But loyalties change. Her life in danger and her inheritance at stake, Alleyne must decide which man to trust. 

Discover England and Normandy divided by a brutal civil war, where vows are broken as allegiances waver.

See you over there! :-)

Pre-Christmas cheer and memories

Are you in Christmas mood yet? I am, even though there's not a snowflake in sight.

Our Christmas shopping done early this morning, we just managed to escape the (unsurprisingly unhappy) crowds arriving to do the same. Now we can relax. Off to see the in-laws near Loch Ness tomorrow for a couple of nights - and dinner / Christmas lunch, then back home in time for Christmas eve.

This year marks the first Christmas I won't hear from my Gran. She quietly passed away on 17th March, aged 91.

So to honour her memory, I decided to bake for Christmas - for us, my mum, and my in-laws. Now, this doesn't happen every year. I'm no domestic goddess. But preparing everything for the cookies and cake, over several hours, and watch them take shape, was fun. Apart from discovering that I'd made the wrong dough for the type of cookies I wanted to bake. Hey ho! ;-)

So I made buttery biscuits, covered in chocolate or icing, sprinkled with Hundreds & Thousands instead of the ones I love, with marzipan, walnuts and chocolate coating. Next year...

I also baked 'lebkuchen' - not quite gingerbreads but similar, with diced nuts, raisins, cocoa and again, coated with chocolate or icing.

OK, I admit it. I love icing. Following the mess I created with home made icing (not that horrible, gooey stuff you buy in tubes!), I picked all the drops of dried icing from the plate. Nom nom!

Finally, yesterday I baked my Gran's famous red wine cake - with red wine (yes!) and chocolate sprinkles. Finished it off earlier with a delicious chocolate coating & choccie sprinkles. Yes, again, you've guessed it. I love chocolate! :D

So I thought I'd share a few pics of my home made goodies. I'm quite proud of myself. Wouldn't win me any cooking competitions (I'd easily run out of time to start with) but I'm happy. As is hubby!

So, I wish you all a Happy Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a relaxed, joyful holiday season. Celebrate with the ones you love and cherish the memories of those you've lost!

Cathie xxx

My Place - Animal Attraction by Jenna McClure

While many are out, jostling with the crowds doing their last minute Christmas shopping, we're still here at My Place with a warming cup of tea and a crackling fire. And talking cold seasons, our place today is spot on - somewhere I'd love to visit one day.

So without further ado let me hand over to talented romance author, Jenna McClure. :-)

Jenna McClure grew up in the urban south, but moved to Colorado to satisfy her desire for fresh air, mountains, lots of snow and wide open spaces.

She became a vegetarian in 2003 after seeing a graphic film about animal cruelty. A long-time romantic, she has been reading romance novels since her sister introduced them to her as a teenager. She finally decided to merge her love of animals and studly men into a romance novel. She has been writing for over seven years.

Jenna's favorite hobbies include digital photography, biking, hiking and an ongoing quest for her own novel-worthy hero. She daylights as a Project Manager for a software development company, but writes as much as she can.

She lives outside Denver with a gloriously goofy greyhound and two cats, one is deaf and the other extremely talkative, and all of which are named after some of her favorite fictional characters.

This is her first published novel, but she is currently at work on her second.

My Place:

Northwest Colorado near Steamboat Springs. My heroine, Emma, lives in Denver, and the hero, Adam, lives outside of Steamboat Springs. The three-hour drive doesn’t keep them apart though! 

I wanted to set a book here after working on a guest ranch up near the Wyoming border one summer during college. It was my first time in Colorado and I fell in love with the mountains and clear, crisp air. I knew I’d be back someday, and eight years later I was!


Environment consultant Emmalyn Ashmore is outraged when she discovers the last minute replacement for the guest speaker at her annual conference is none other than Adam McLean, a cattle rancher, whose lifestyle represents everything she stands against.

Adam McLean has never met a more contrary woman. From the first moment she opens her mouth, he knows she’s exactly the type of woman he doesn’t need in his life – ever.

But Fate has other plans, and as the sparks fly, Emma realizes there’s more at stake than conserving just the environment. She has to figure out how to conserve her heart, before she loses it forever.


  “It’s never good to make assumptions about people you don’t know,” Adam replied, throwing her words back at her.
  She jerked her eyes to him, tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “Right. Sorry.”
  Idly, he wondered if she was always this nervous, or if it was just him. Selfishly he hoped he had the same effect on her as she did on him.
  “I know you’re a cattle rancher and all,” she started, “but I couldn’t let you leave without talking to you about your speech.” 
  He didn’t care for her opening words, but he liked her voice, so he concentrated on that. Besides, if he missed anything important, he’d ask her to repeat it. Over dinner, he mused as he continued to stare at her mouth. It was still moving, which meant she was still talking and he was still not listening, but she didn’t seem to notice.
  Or so he thought.
  Her lips stopped moving, snapped shut, then opened slightly. A brief, shrill whistle pierced the air. He jerked his eyes back to hers, and found her staring at him in angry disbelief.
  If she didn’t look so mad, he might have laughed.
  “Mr. McLean, were you listening to a word I said?”
  Adam scratched his chin. “Sure. You said something about me being a cattle rancher, which I already knew, and then something about your impressions. But you kind of lost me after that.”
  She placed her hands on her hips. “I was trying to talk to you about how misleading your speech was.”
  He cocked an eyebrow. “Yeah? I must have missed that part.”
  “I think you missed all my parts.”
  “Trust me, I didn’t,” he drawled.

Author Links:

Twitter:   @jennamcclureRW

Buy Link:

I'm visiting Word Wranglers today!

Join me!

I'm over at the Word Wranglers blog today, talking about writing, my novels, and authors who inspired me. Plus, discover which female in history I'd love to have lunch with, and what (or rather, who!) we'd be chatting about...

See you there! ;-)

Wish I was here...

Grouse Mountain
Today marks exactly a year since our return from our fabulous North America adventure. Visiting fab cities such as New York and Seattle, meeting my wonderful family in Idaho and Oregon for the first time (yes, very emotional) and enjoying the many varied impressions and sights along the way was quite an experience. But one place had the most impact on us and I wish I was there now... the city of Vancouver, Canada.

On this day one year ago we left Vancouver and we still miss it. The different, yet familiar culture drew us in (have I mentioned the Canucks?). It's the top spot on our list of places we'd love to live.

Wish I was here now...

Vancouver, CA

But today also marks the release of Janice Horton's fab new novel, Reaching for the Stars, the story of Chef Finn McDuff who goes into self-imposed exile following a high flying career. Join Janice's blog party for a chance to win one of several lovely prizes: Janice Horton blog

Discover for yourself where Finn is hiding! Reaching for the Stars is available from Amazon UK & Amazon US - take advantage of the special launch prices, perfect timing if you're looking for a great holiday read or Christmas gift!

My Place - Impetuous by Katherine Grey

After a break last weekend, it's time for another visit at My Place. Today, I welcome historical romance author Katherine Grey. She explores the fashionable hub of Regency England, London.

Over to you, Katherine...

As a young girl, I loved all the fairy tales with Prince Charming in them – Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty to name just a few.  I think my fascination with the whole idea of Prince Charming led to my interest in England.  The royal family and all those dukes, earls, and such were the real life equivalents in my mind.  As a teenager, I spent many an hour devouring books on English history.  I read everything from biographies, to the “day in the life” type books, to books on military campaigns.  And then a friend’s mother introduced me to the novels of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer.  My love and fascination with the Regency period was born and continues to this day.

I primarily write historical romances set in Regency London, but hope to branch out into romantic suspense as well in the future.  My debut novel, Impetuous, was released through The Wild Rose Press in August 2011.  My novella, The Muse, involving a secondary character from Impetuous will be release in 2012.  I’m a member of Romance Writers of America and Sisters in Crime and various internet romance writers groups.

My Place:

Welcome to Regency London where the men of the Beau Monde spent their days frequenting such places as White’s and Boodles.  Both are gentlemen’s clubs that still exist today.  White’s is more well known of the two and is famous for its bow window and betting book where thousands of pounds were wagered on sports, political developments, and social events, such as whether a friend would marry that particular year, and/or whom the friend would marry.

Both the men and women of the Ton spent time in Hyde Park, particularly along Rotten Row, a broad track of approximately 4,500 feet along the south side of the park used for carriages and later horseback riders.  It was one of the places to go and be seen among upper class Londoners.  The park is divided in two by the Serpentine River (though it’s actually a lake). Hyde Park is the largest of four parks that form a chain from the entrance of Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens and Green Park past the main entrance to Buckingham Palace, through St. James’s Park and ending in Whitehall.

Grosvenor Square is located in the exclusive district of Mayfair in London and was originally developed around 1721.  Grosvenor Square was one of the three or four most fashionable residential addresses in London with many leading members of the aristocracy living there.

These are just a few of the places one would frequent as a member of the aristocracy in Regency London.  



Mateo de Montayas, an impoverished Spanish count, comes to England to recover a stolen family heirloom and to satisfy his hunger for revenge against the man who destroyed his family. Arriving in London, he learns his hated enemy died three years before but has left behind a daughter. What better way to retrieve the heirloom and exact revenge than to use her to his advantage?

Teresa Darlington will do anything to keep scandal away from her frail mother and prove her father wasn't a thief, even risk her reputation in a race to find the missing heirloom before the Count does. But she didn't count on falling in love with the man determined to ruin her family. Can she find the heirloom before he does and protect her family, or will her heart lead her in a different direction? 


Teresa cast a furtive glance around the darkened garden. Now that it was time to put her
plan into action, she wished she were any place but here. Had she finally allowed her impulsive nature get her into something she couldn’t get out of? 

Determined to silence the fears clamoring within her, Teresa forced herself to go over all
Freddie had taught her in the last week. She checked her pocket for the stub of candle she
grabbed earlier. 

With one last prayer, she hoisted herself up and through the window. A surge of adrenaline flowed through her as she realized she was in one of the two libraries the Marquess of Kingsbury kept well maintained. Elated that her memory had served her correctly, she wandered around the room, her hand trailing over the many bookshelves. If she could remember the layout of each townhouse on her list as well as she did this one, getting in and out of the houses would be one less worry.

Her hand on the doorknob, she took one last look at the window. Once she left this room, escaping without detection became even more dangerous. The handle turned beneath her hand. Stifling a startled cry, she backed away from the door. Hide! her terrified mind screamed. She raced toward the window.

As freedom loomed in front of her, a hand clamped around her arm and dragged her back.
“What the hell are you doing here?”

Her body went limp with relief as Montayas’ deep tones filled the room. Yanking her arm free
with a nonchalance she didn’t feel, she moved closer to the window. “I’m trying to protect my father’s reputation just as you are here trying to ruin it.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Don’t play the fool with me. I know you’re searching for the Pequena. How can you threaten to
expose my father as a thief when your property isn’t even in his family’s possession?”

Montayas glanced toward the door. “Be quiet.”

“You’ll not silence me. I want the answers I should have demanded when you first voiced your
ludicrous accusations.”

He clamped his hand over her mouth.  “Someone’s coming,” he whispered, pulling her into
the shadows of the heavy brocade curtains. He glanced out the window and then back at the door.

Voices. Teresa heard them now. Still indistinct but louder.

Montayas gave her a warning look then removed his hand from her lips and positioned her in front of the window.

She struggled against his grasp. “What are you doing?” she whispered.

With one quick shove, he pushed her through the opening.

Barely suppressing a scream, Teresa fell through the air and landed on her knees with a soft
thud. The short fall stole her breath. Thankfully, the thick grass of the formal garden had acted as a cushion.

Seconds later, the count joined her on the lawn. He grabbed her hand and ran toward a small copse of trees. In the leafy shadows, he turned to face her. “Are you trying to get me killed?”

“Me?” she shrieked. “I didn’t just push you out a window.”

Author Links:

Buy Links:

The Wild Rose Press:


Barnes & Noble:

My fab new cover for Dark Deceit

Yayyy, I'm bouncing. :-)

I've received my cover for Dark Deceit. Love it! So dark and atmospheric...

Dark Deceit, the first in The Anarchy Trilogy, is due out in early spring 2012 from Crooked Cat publishing. It tells the story of Alleyne de Bellac, left to defend her inheritance following her father's murder. Two men offer their assistance, but does she trust the right one? Or is she in danger of losing it all?

Dark Deceit takes you from southern England to the heart of Normandy in a tale of murder, betrayal and politics.

Can't wait to share it!

Dark Deceit - due out in spring 2012

I'm so excited! Dark Deceit, part 1 of 'The Anarchy' trilogy, will be released in spring 2012 through Crooked Cat publishing! Crooked Cat is a new ebook publisher based in the UK.

Dark Deceit weaves a tale of murder, changing loyalties, betrayal and hope. Set in Gloucestershire, England and Perche, Normandy, Geoffrey de Mortagne, undersheriff and staunch supporter of the Empress Matilda, returns from the Battle at Lincoln to witness an attack on a knight. During his investigations, he meets the knight's young daughter and offers his help. Keen to return to Matilda's side following King Stephen's capture, he is torn between duty and a promise he gave to a dying man.

Left to defend her manor, Alleyne de Bellac accepts Geoffrey's assistance. But when she summons an old friend of her father's, she discovers how swiftly loyalties can change. Her life in danger, Alleyne must decide who to trust. In the end, will she trust the right man?

Discover England and Normandy divided by a brutal civil war, where oaths are broken and lives are worth little. But there is still hope...

I'm currently working on the edits but I can't wait to see this novel published after it began life at a small train station in South Wales some 8 years ago.

~happy dance~