• A year of scandal: Winter

    It’s August everyone, so what better time could there be to talk about the depths of deepest, darkest winter? It might make you feel cooler if you live in a country with proper weather and are sweltering in the heat I suppose, or drier than you might be on a high summer day in the UK, but my latest book is out this month so, for me, it’s time to talk about January.

    The Viscount’s Frozen Heart is the first in a series of four books the lovely people at Harlequin Mills and Boon bravely encouraged me to write when I pitched the idea to them. Each one is set in a different season and I began with winter because it felt right. All four of my heroes are conflicted and have had unhappy pasts for various reasons, but the main thing they have in common is their love for one extraordinary person who dies of old age before the books begin. Lady Virginia Winterley, Viscountess Farenze, marched into my head as soon as the notion of writing a book for every season of the year occurred to me and settled in for the duration. Some characters are like that and this one was more like it than most, so I knew Virginia was going to be pivotal to the series from the start.

    It felt right to frame a set of love stories within a great big, scandalous one from the past, so Virginia’s happened many decades before the one that takes place in The Viscount’s Frozen Heart. A twice married, widowed and childless beauty of thirty with a string of handsome lovers to her name, Virginia must have made Virgil Winterley, Viscount Farenze, struggle hard to get her to marry him when there was little to no chance she would give him an heir. Being every bit as stubborn as the love of his life, Virgil got his way and their story echoes through the lives of four men who once needed their love and support. Now they’re too large and self-willed and independent to do as they’re bid, but Virginia has no scruples about using their love for her to persuade them to carry out a set of tasks to make them face the past and claim the future she thinks they deserve.

    The series begins with Luke Winterley, the latest Viscount Farenze, arriving at Farenze Lodge to take his place as chief mourner at his beloved Great Aunt Virginia’s funeral and that may seem an even more dark and depressing opening than the time of year demands, but she has plans for Luke, his best friend Tom and Luke’s scapegrace half-brother James and sets them each a task in her will that could keep them busy for the rest of their lives. The fourth adventurer will introduce himself when his time to take up Virginia’s baton falls due.

    For this first book I can’t think of a better way to sum up the story than the excellent copy from the back cover, which I didn’t write by the way – authors aren’t that good at summing up their books in less than a thousand words, or at least this one isn’t, so here is part of it to give you a flavour:-

    He’s embittered by a loveless marriage, so can the ice around Luke’s long-buried emotions ever thaw? A marriage between a housekeeper and a viscount should be impossible, but maybe the warmth of Chloe’s touch can bring a new beginning for them both…

    A Year of Scandal

    A gentleman for every season

    I love that last bit, by the way. Step forward Mr January!

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  • CataRomance

    I feel so privileged to have been awarded a CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award for A Most Unladylike Adventure as the best Mills & Boon Historical Romance of 2012.

    Thank you so much CataRomance, you have done so much for the readers and writers of category romance and a good review from the lovely Julie Miller has always been a high point of my writing life. I can’t thank you all enough for this award, it means more to me than I have words to say, and some of my critics would tell you that’s a very good thing.

    This particular book has always been special to me. The heroine, Louisa Alstone, endured a poverty-stricken childhood and learned skills most aristocratic young ladies wouldn’t even know about, let alone master. She proved unable, or unwilling, to forget her old life when her brother, Kit Alstone, restored the family fortunes and settled a generous dowry on his wayward little sister. Somehow I had to create a hero who wouldn’t be shocked by Louisa’s unconventional ways and I think her dark and dangerous Captain Hugh Darke enjoyed their adventures nearly as much as I did writing them. Trust me to write A Most Unladylike Adventure as the last of my series of Alstone novels when the action takes place four years before the first of the series, A Less Than Perfect Lady, begins. Still, that proves nothing is over until it’s over, I suppose, and that my readers and reviewers are very patient people.

    Thank you again to the lovely people at CataRomance for this award, you rock.

    I’m sure you all know CataRomance can be found at cataromance.com but it can’t hurt to tell you anyway.

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  • Hello and my Christmas Book

    Hello and welcome to my lovely new website and blog readers and browsers. First of all I’d like to say a big thank you to lovely Aimee at The Author Works for making all this possible at long last. I’m the world’s worst online dinosaur and she has been extremely patient, helpful and creative.

    If you just wandered into this blog by chance – and I know these things can happen when you’re looking for someone more famous or interesting – I began writing Regency novels for the Mills and Boon/Harlequin Historical in 2007 and am currently working on number 13, so I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about how that one is going at the moment.

    On the off chance anyone might be wondering what on earth happened to parts two and three of the Seaborne Trilogy I began with the Duchess Hunt, published June 2012, the answer is my Christmas book happened. A more determined author might have said “No, sorry, I’m too busy with my trilogy right now,” when the call came, but I couldn’t resist the chance to maroon a pair of long estranged lovers in a snowstorm, so the Seabornes had to wait impatiently while I got them out of it.

    After a bit of panicking and quite a lot of chocolate, the idea of a handsome earl and a not very humble governess, lost in a snowstorm and forced to earn her living respectively, became too appealing not to explore. Although a Regency Christmas was very different from our own, I had a great deal of fun with the traditions they could take part in and hope that comes through in the resulting book, Governess Under the Mistletoe, which is published in the UK as the second part of Candlelit Christmas Kisses by Mills and Boon this November.

    Research: there can never be too much of it, but it’s always hard to know what to put in and what to leave out. You can never seem to find out enough to be sure of yourself either, unless some primary source from the eighteenth century says, “We had steak and chips for our Christmas dinner and what did you think of that crate of cola I sent you?” you can’t put it in. Funnily enough I never did find that one! Could it be time for a “did you know that,” list do you think?

    Did you know that:-

    The Twelve Days of Christmas were set out as a time for celebration and thanks, during which nobody should be made to work, by the Council of Tours in 567AD.

    On the 8th of June 1647 Parliament passed An Ordinance for Abolishing of Festivals, banning the ‘Feast of the Nativity of Christ, Easter and Whitsuntide, and all other Festival days, commonly called Holy-days...’

    George the III’s Queen, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, introduced the Christmas tree to his court in the 1760s but we had to wait for Prince Albert to marry Queen Victoria and make it a universal custom in this country.

    Twelfth Night was as important as Christmas Day, and certainly a lot more rowdy, right up into Victorian times when Christmas began to take on many of its modern aspects. The rich and massive Twelfth Night Cake would contain a bean, a pea and a clove and whoever got them became King, Queen and Knave respectively for the rest of the day.

    Luckily for me, while crackers, Christmas trees, cards, tinsel, Father Christmas as we know him and many of the carols we know and love post-date the period of my book, kissing bows made mainly of holly and hung with a large bunch of mistletoe do seem to have been part of a Regency Christmas, which made it perfectly possible for an Earl to kiss a very particular governess under the mistletoe.

    As for the Seabornes, part two is out in May 2013 as The Scarred Earl and part three is written and edited, but I’ll tell you more about both of them another time.

    For now I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and if you should happen to be marooned in a snowstorm Candlelit Christmas Kisses contains two books, the first by wonderful Anne Herries, so we might be able to keep you reading until the snowploughs come and let the modern world back in!

    Elizabeth

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ELIZABETH BEACON

Taking you back in time for regency romance and historic heat...

liz3d

Elizabeth Beacon - The Winterley Scandal

As the daughter of wild Pamela Winterley, Eve has always lived in the shadow of scandal. Society watches her every move, waiting for Eve to prove she is just as wayard as her mother... Ever since his father's scandalous affair, Colm Hancourt has lived life on his own terms. But then he comes face-to-face with Eve, the daughter of his father's mistress! It may have begun with a kiss that set tounges wagging, but could the latest Winterley scandal be the start of something special?

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