Wednesday, November 05, 2008

AND NOW FOR A HISTORY LESSON...

My guest this week is HQN author Nicola Cornick who lit up Times Square earlier this year with UNMASKED.

Nicola talks about our first meeting below, but I remember it vividly. It was the second international "Author Day" held by Harlequin and Mills and Boon in London. there were authors from all over the world attending and having met my editor I was looking around for a friendly face and saw Nicola standing on her own. I introduced myself and asked her what she wrote and that's when she told me she'd just sold her first book. Now she's a star and I'm delighted to welcome her here to tell you about a new eBook project just launched by Harlequin.

Over to you, Nicola!

Thank you so much for inviting me to blog today, Liz, and many congratulations on your fabulous fifty books! I’ve just been re-reading your short story The Temp and the Tycoon, re-issued as part of the Mills & Boon Centenary celebrations, and I’ve been loving it as much this time round as when it was first in print!

I’ve never forgotten when I first met Liz – it was at an author lunch and I hadn’t even been published at that point. Mills & Boon had just signed me up as a brand new author and I was totally over-awed to be meeting in person so many writers whose books I had on my keeper shelves at home! Actually I was terrified – and Liz took me under her wing and I have never forgotten her kindness.

Since that moment eleven years ago I’ve written 25 books for Mills & Boon and this month sees the publication of my latest Regency novella The Unmasking of Lady Loveless, a historical short story that is very hot, sweet and sexy! The Unmasking of Lady Loveless is one of the launch titles for Harlequin Historicals new e-book programme. It is set in the same fictional Yorkshire village, Peacock Oak, that I used for the background for my July HQN release Unmasked and also features some of the same characters. I wanted to write a Christmas story and the idea of the beautiful Yorkshire countryside under the snow seemed the perfect setting!

Here is the beginning of the story, slightly censored because this is a very sexy book indeed:

When Lord Alexander Beaumont entered Whites that night the entire room fell silent. No man would meet his eyes; their gazes slid away to study the pattern on the carpet or the brandy in their glasses. Throats were cleared, cuffs inspected with startling intensity.

“Gentlemen?” He raised one quizzical dark brow. “Would anyone care to enlighten me as to what is wrong?”

There was silence.

“Charles?” He prompted.

“Devil take it, Alex,” his friend Charles Wheeler complained, “I knew you would ask me.”

“That’s what friends are for, Charles,” Alex smoothly. “Well?”

Charles stood up. He loosened his neck cloth, palpably ill at ease. “Don’t know where to start, old fellow.”

“Try the beginning,” Alex advised.

“Good luck, Charlie,” someone said, sotto voce.

“It’s Lady Melicent,” Wheeler blurted out. “Your wife.”

His wife.

No one ever spoke to Lord Alexander Robert Jon Beaumont about his wife.

“Thank you, Charles,” Alex said. “We may have been apart for a couple of years now, but I am still aware of whom Melicent is.”

Wheeler winced. Several men drew in their breath in sympathy.

“She’s… She’s written a book,” Wheeler said. “Several books. This is the most recent.” He grabbed a slim tome from the hands of a man at a nearby table.

"Steady on, Charlie,” the man protested. “I was enjoying that!”

“Bentley…” Wheeler said in a warning tone. The man’s eyes flickered to Alex’s hard face and he fell silent.

“The Adventures of a Woman of Pleasure by Lady Loveless,” Alex read aloud the gold lettering aloud. He flicked open the book:

“Being naked kindled so great a rapture in her that she lay in wanton pleasure waiting for him to-”

A great harrumphing and clearing of throats followed. Alex closed the book softly and looked at his friend. “You are claiming that Melicent, my wife, is this Lady … Loveless?”

“Yes! Don’t call me out,” Wheeler added, as Alex took a purposeful step towards him, murder in his eyes. “Bentley bribed the publisher and found out that the manuscripts are sent from someone called Mrs Durham, from Peacock Oak in Yorkshire…” He made a pleading gesture. “You know that was Lady Melicent’s maiden name and that she resides there now.” He shook his head. “She has to be stopped, Alex. She bases the characters in her books on members of the Ton and they are too accurately portrayed for comfort.” He gestured to the Bentley again. “Will’s betrothal to Miss Flynn was ruined because there is a scene in the book where a character called Bill Gentley ravishes an actress in a box at the theatre during a performance!”

“We all know that happened,” Alex said dryly.

“That isn’t the point!” Bentley piped up.

“Bentley lost an heiress worth sixty thousand,” Wheeler said. “Lady Loveless’s sources are impeccable. Which is why she has to be stopped.”

Alex tapped the book thoughtfully against the palm of his hand. “She will be.”

“What are you going to do?” Wheeler asked.

“I am going to Yorkshire,” Alex said. He smiled at the look of horror on his friend’s face. “No need to fear, Charles, it is the North of England, not the North Pole.”

“Yorkshire in winter,” Wheeler spluttered.

“Yes,” Alex said, “and I will take this with me.” He raised the book and the candlelight gleamed on the golden lettered name, Lady Loveless, on the cover. “It will prove useful… for research purposes.”

“Devil take it, Alex,” Bentley called, “I was reading that!” But he spoke to thin air.

To win a copy of The Unmasking of Lady Loveless Undone e-book, email me at ncornick@madasafish.com (including your full name and address) to tell me the answer to the following question:

What is the name of the book that Lady Loveless has written?

I’ll put the answers in a hat and pick out a winner next week!

* * *

Whew! Thanks, Nicola!

If, like me, you can't wait to read on, you can download the eBook here

And for those of us who love to hold a book in the hand, you can buy Regency Christmas Weddings here or from your favourite UK bookstore in November.

21 comments:

Nicola Cornick said...

Thank you very much for the warm welcome, Liz! It's such a pleasure to be here.

I've been reading the other Harlequin Historical Undone e-books over the past few days and it's been lovely to have something HOT to curl up with amidst all this gloomy weather! And of course the great thing about the e-books is that it doesn't matter where in the world you are because they are on sale to readers everywhere. In fact I think I could be developing a bit of an e-harlequin habit to match my Amazon habit!

Kate Hardy said...

Nicola Cornick, you are a bad, bad, BAD influence. My husband will blame you if I too develop an eharl habit to match my Amazon one :o)

Congrats on your Undone - am very much looking forward to reading it.

Kate Hardy said...

And actually... I have a question. I know you've written a huge variety of historical settings - Civil War and Edwardian as well as Regency/19th century. What's your favourite era, setting-wise?

Donna Alward said...

What a great excerpt! I love historicals, and this sounds so great...very sexy and funny. I love it when I can read a snippet and be automatically transported.

Nicola Cornick said...

Hi Kate, oooh, I love being a bad influence! Thanks, Donna! I am so pleased you like the sound of Lady Loveless. I was aiming at sexy and humorous with the story and hope I've achieved that. I find writing short very difficult and would love to know how other authors get on with short stories and whether readers find them as fulfilling as longer books.

Kate, you've put me on the spot! I think my favourite era is probably the English Civil War. I love writing Regency stories very much but the Civil War just steals it for the sheer potential of the conflict, the clash of loyalties and the high emotional stakes. As a reader I'm drawn to the Tudor period but I've never really had the urge to write a book set in that era. Readers tell me that they enjoy books with different backgrounds and settings and I think one of the best things about Harlequin/Mills & Boon historicals is that you do have the freedom to choose such different and interesting backgrounds.

Marie-Nicole Ryan said...

It sounds like a lot of fun, Nicola and very intriguing. ;-)

Avi J said...

Hi Nicola, I first read your book The last rake in london and with the bonus book added l must say you got me hooked on historicals from then on. I got a US copy of christmas wedding belles, l just loved all the stories. Congrats on the undone ebook.

Snookie said...

My tbr pile is toppling, I now also have an ebook tbr pile! Good thing it can't topple and doesn't take up much room :) Nicola I love the stuff I've read from you! This story sounds intriguing. Looking forward to reading this undone!

Snookie said...

My tbr pile is toppling, I now also have an ebook tbr pile! Good thing it can't topple and doesn't take up much room :) Nicola I love the stuff I've read from you! This story sounds intriguing. Looking forward to reading this undone!

Snookie said...

OK why did that double post? I sweare there are gremlins in cyberspace and in my computer playing around and messing things up! I'm having the double posting problem on the ehar site too! hmmm just thought of something, I'm going to guess that one of the gremlins is named VISTA!

Barb H said...

Nicola, I love your books and can't wait to read about Lady Loveless. Humorous and sexy-who can resist!! I haven't ventured into ebooks as yet, but with eharlequin, it looks like I'll have to start.

Congratulations on being part of the startup of this new eline which sounds very interesting.

Nicola Cornick said...

Thank you so much for the kind comments, everyone! I'm writing another short story at the moment which will be coming out in May in advance of my new trilogy. Again it's in e-book form. I'd like to write a different sort of hero this time. I know a lot of readers like Regency gentlemen heroes but what about self-made men as historical heroes? What do you think?

Kate Hardy said...

Thanks for answering a nosey question :o)

Self-made men - yup, works for me. Are you thinking Industrial Revolution? And it was such an exciting time as the class barriers were starting to shift.

Dena said...

Hi Nicola, Loved the excerpt. Congratulations on all your releases too. Having so many in eleven years is very impressive. I hope your latest has tons of sales!

Jan Jones said...

Sounds fab, Nicola. I shall send a competition email forthwith!

(I'm dying to find out what the uncensored version is...)

PS - self-made heroes work big-time for me. And I LOVED your Civil War book. Want more.

Nicola Cornick said...

Glad that self-made heroes get the seal of approval. Yes, I was thinking industrial revolution, canal building in particular. I don't know why that appeals to me but it does! Now all I have to do is think what sort of heroine would match him...

Jan Jones said...

The one who owns the house and grounds through which he needs to drive the canal of course!

Nicola Cornick said...

LOL Jan, you could be on to something there. I can see them sailing away into the sunset on their narrowboat!

Michelle Douglas said...

Ooh, loved the excerpt, Nicola. Wanted to keep reading and reading.

I haven't delved into the wonderful world of eBooks yet, but I can see I'm going to have to.

And yep, I love self-made men too. They have that x-factor... and you just know they're men of action.

Liz Fielding said...

I love a self-made man, too, Nicola and the navigations are such a great story in themselves. And crossing the heroine's land sounds the perfect conflict to me.

flchen1 said...

What a fabulous excerpt! Thanks--this sounds like quite a delicious read!