Tag Archives: The Bride Prize

A Summer for Love Blog Hop: Summer in Scotland (with Giveaway!!!)

Ahh, summertime! It’s the perfect time for strawberry ice cream, for peach bowle, for spending lazy days outside, and for going on vacation.

In the summer of 1839 this meant for a lot of people to go to Scotland because a young Scottish lord, the Earl of Eglinton, was hosting a medieval tournament on his estate in Ayrshire. He and a group of his friends donned medieval armor in order to joust like knights of old. The event drew several ten thousands of people to the Scottish countryside – and caused unspeakable traffic jams in the area around Eglinton Park. And because everybody was to come in costume, the coaches all over the country were piled high with boxes, parcels, and packages of all sizes.

In Edinburgh, a reporter for Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine, ready to embark upon his journey, was utterly astonished by the amount of luggage – and he was not the only one:

Arriving at the office in Prince’s Street a little before the hour at which [the coach] should have started, we were astonished at the immense pile of luggage which we saw heaped on the street in order to be packed upon the carriage. When Mr. Croal, the coach-proprietor, came up, he was so much appalled by the sight, that, apologising for the delay which he must inevitably  occasion, he informed us that he must send back the coach to the yard, and get out a stronger one, that might be more certainly able to bear such a load without risk of breaking down.

When this more potent vehicle arrived, any impatience that might have been excited in us by the delay, was subdued by the interest which we could not help taking in the ingenuity which the coachman and his assistants displayed in packing and piling the various articles in and upon it; till I, and my companion, and two officers of our acquaintance, who had all of us placed ourselves comfortably on the hinder seats, could no longer see those in front, even when we stood up to try to do so. We felt some comfort in thinking that  the superior construction of coaches, now-a-days, admits of this being done with more safety than was formerly the case.

Besides all the ordinary kinds of trunks, portmanteaus, band-boxes, and carpet-bags, which are usually attendant upon a coach full of passengers inside and outside, there were innumerable white deal boxes of all manner of shapes and sizes. Most of them were ingeniously suspended like sausages on strings all around the carriage; and, to crown all, on the very top perched a wicker cage, containing a great, long-legged, large-bodied, awkward-looking pair of Chittagong fowls, belonging to an Indian who had a seat in the interior. The cock not only seemed to know that he was going to the Tournament as well as other people, but to think that he was to be triumphant there; for much to the amusement of all who beheld him […] he crowed away so loudly that he brought some of the sleepy citizens of Prince’s Street, in their night-caps, from their beds to their windows, to wonder at so unwonted a summon.

(from Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine, November 1839)

My latest release THE BRIDE PRIZE is set against the backdrop of the Eglinton Tournament, and my hero and heroine are among the people travelling to Scotland in August 1839. Click below to listen to an excerpt.

THE BRIDE PRIZE is available from Amazon US / UK (and all other Amazon stores) & from Kobo

But wait! You can also win a signed copy of the novella if you sign up to my newsletter during the Summer for Love Blog Hop!

And there is even more!
Leave a comment here on this blog with your name and your e-mail to be entered into the Grand Prize drawing for a chance to win one of six $50 Amazon or B&N giftcards! Just tell me about your favorite summer destination.

Comments without name and email will not be counted.
Commenting on each and every stop will increase your chances of winning.
You can find the list with all stops here.

The Grand Prizes will be awarded to randomly drawn participants / commenters.

Winners will be drawn and announced on THE ROMANCE TROUPE blog by June 10th using random.org to determine each winner.


I’m thrilled to announce that THE BRIDE PRIZE, the first in the Allan’s Miscellany series is now available on both Amazon and Kobo, with B&N soon to follow. Here’s the blurb:

It’s 1839, and Lord Eglinton’s tournament in Scotland is the most anticipated event of the year: he and some of his noble friends will don medieval armor and joust like knights of old.

Does this mean a revival of true chivalry? Miss Florence Marsh thinks it might.

Or is the tournament mere tomfoolery and the greatest folly of the century? Mr. Robert Beaton thinks it is.

But when Flo and Robbie meet at Eglinton Park, they’ll soon learn that a dash of romance can make the greatest differences look rather small and that true love might find you in the most unlikely place.

If only Robbie wasn’t working for that scandalous new magazine Allan’s Miscellany! If only Flo’s father didn’t detest the periodical press!

And if only they had remembered to bring an umbrella!

The novella is available in two different editions: a plain edition for 99 cents and an enhanced edition for $ 2.99. The latter includes detailed info about the historical background and illustrations. Here are the buy links:

Plain edition:
Kindle US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K9TEZ5S/
Kindle UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00K9TEZ5S/
and all other Amazon stores

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/ebook/the-bride-prize-1

Enhanced edition:
Kindle US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K9TLA38/
Kindle UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00K9TLA38/
and all other Amazon stores


As you know, I was working on the revisions of THE BRIDE PRIZE these past few days. These were the hardest revisions I’ve ever done (mainly because I didn’t properly plan the story from the get-go), and there was a lot of red on the pages. Like, A LOT!

In the end, I was so very frustrated that I decided to switch colours to make the pages look a little less horrid. And with a little help from my friends (in the picture below you can see a promo pen Debra Holland gave me when we met at the IndieUncon in San Francisco back in February) I muddled through a few more chapters, until….

….until I hit a major, major roadblock. I grappled with that one scene for days and days and days and DAYS. And it was beyond depressing because I just couldn’t figure out how to resolve this dratted scene — until this afternoon!!! Wheee!!!!

Well, actually, I had already scribbled what eventually became the solution onto a post-it the night before: just before I went to bed, the Muse struck me over the head. 🙂

After a final read-through tomorrow morning, both THE BRIDE PRIZE and DEVIL’S RETURN will go to my copy editor, and for me it’s then on to A TANGLED WEB (which will probably be a similarly hard nut to crack as THE BRIDE PRIZE – oh joy!)

Doggie-walking Duties & a Tournament

Today, I was once again on doggie-walking duty. 🙂

I’m also still hard at work at the revisions for THE BRIDE PRIZE. At the moment my characters are at a tournament (which is not exactly surprising, given that half of the novella takes place during the aforementioned tournament). As per my editor’s suggestions, I’m working on increasing the conflict between hero and heroine. In this particular scene it needs to be clearer that he regards the whole tournament thing as a rather silly affair. Sooo….. (insertions in red)

Around them the crowd fell silent as the knights retired to their tents in order to don their helmets and await the formal challenge to combat. Yes, very much in the manner of Ivanhoe (though minus the nasty Prince John and the general bloodlust of the audience) and as good a show as anything you might see on a London stage.
Here and there a few laughs could be heard as the jester rode across the field, swinging his bells in a somewhat dampened tingle over his head.

And then, finally, a blast of trumpets sounded, and the first challenge of the day was issued: the Knight of the Swan sent his defiance to the Knight of the Golden Lion. Having donned their helmets, both knights rode forth, plumes fluttering in the wind.

Everyone around the lists seemed to hold their breath. This was it! This was why they had come here from all corners of the kingdom; indeed, even from all corners of the world!

Breathless excitement gripped the stands & slopes, Robbie scribbled into his sketchbook right next to a very hasty drawing of a round gentleman staring in open-mouthed wonder at the silly spectacle unfolding in front of his eyes.

We do so need somebody for satirical illustrations, Robbie thought ruefully.

The knights took their positions on opposite sides of the barrier that had been set up for the tilting.

Miss Florence sighed happily. “Isn’t it wonderful? It’s so –“

Another blast of trumpets, and the knights rode furiously — or at least as furiously as was possible in the rain, which was not very furious at all — towards each other… further and further… and past each other, without so much as scratching their shields, let alone splintering anybody’s lances.

My Editor Made Me Do It!

I call this “My Editor Made Me Do It”: it’s Chapter 1 in all its red glory. Quite a frightful sight, isn’t it?

And the next pic shows the beginning of Chapter 2, which isn’t much better. But at least the cutting has become easier. Yay! However, I need to cut a lot more text if I want to merge those two chapters into one. *sigh*

(I’d also like to know why the heck my pictures come out so very dark when I upload them here. Until two or three days ago, I’ve never had this problem before. Grrr….)