Risky Regencies

Harlequin Historical Comes Undone!

Hello everyone! Welcome to the start of the blog tour for the launch of Harlequin Historical’s new line of ebooks, “Undone”! These stories are only available at eharlequin–though one lucky commenter here will win a free download of all 4 stories. And here to introduce them are the Undone authors! (Oh, and eharlequin is having a special, .89 downloads for November!)

Nicola Cornick: My Harlequin Historicals Undone e-book is a sexy, scandalous Regency tale, The Unmasking of Lady Loveless!

Erotic author Lady Loveless is scandalizing the Ton with her shocking tales that are based on rel-life hijinks of society. Engagements are being broken, inheritances lost as a result of her wicked pen and the gentlemen decide that enough is enough–she may spin the most naughtily seductive tales, but Lady Loveless must be stopped!

Lord Alexander Beaumont is convinced that the outrageous Lady L. is none other than his estranegd wife Melicent, for the manuscripts are coming from the Yorkshire village where she took refuge after the end of their brief, bitter marriage. Alex travels to Yorkshire determined to unmask his errant wife and put a stop to her wicked ways. But when he reaches the beautiful village of Peacock Oak, Alex finds that Melicent–and Lady Loveless–are not what they seem. Will Christmas in the countryside reunite Alex and the bride he lost years before?

The Unmasking of Lady Loveless is set in the same fictional village of 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!

Amanda McCabe: When I was asked to write an “Undone” short story as a spin-off from my January ’09 book High Seas Stowaway, I knew right away who the hero would be–Carlos de Alameda. Carlos is a Spanish nobleman, an official of the Crown at the island town of Santo Domingo in 1535. He is also a dangerous spy, with secrets of his own to protect. He appeared briefly in the action of High Seas Stowaway, but I was intrigued by his intelligence and mystery. What was he really up to?

In Shipwrecked and Seduced, I got to find out! Maria Gonzales is the one who is shipwrecked, but in the end they are both seduced. Maria is a maidservant, headed to Santo Domingo with a Spanish contessa, Isabella, who is journeying to her wedding. A terrible shipwreck kills all aboard except Maria, and she is soon mistaken for the contessa herself–and taken to Carlos’s island fortress! She knows very well that an affair with the sexy, mysterious man will threaten her masquerade, but she’s drawn to him irresistibly. What will happen when he discovers the truth?

Bronwyn Scott: In Libertine Lord, Pickpocket Miss Sophie DuPlessy has everything to gain–and Julian Burke has nothing to lose.

Vienna of the 1820s is Europe’s new glittering capital both in culture and politics. No one knows the potential of such a setting better than Sophie DuPlessy. Europe has been ravaged by Napoleon’s wars and re-structured by the Vienna conferences and Europe’s statesmen. Kingdoms have been absorbed, national boundaries redrawn. In the wake of upheaval, heirlooms have been ost. In certain circles of dubious repute, Sophie has earned a reputation for discreetly recovering such objects. Now, she’s been hired by an Italian count to retrieve a set of jewels, a supposed heirloom of his family. This will be her last job. The reward promised guarantees her the financial resources to re-make her life as a horse breeder. But she is not the only one looking for them.

Julian Burke, second son of an earl, has been sent on crown business to Vienna to ferret out the truth to the rumors that an heirloom, once part of the royal treasury during the time of Charless II, has surfaced in Vienna. When the crown wants something badly, Julian is the man for the job. He is the most dangerous of men; a man with nothing to lose. No wife to protect, no estate to risk, a fortune so large he cannot be bribed, no care for his reputation and no heart to break.

But Sophie is about to change that!

Hope you enjoy their cat-and-mouse game! The most challenging part of writing in a condensed version is making the characters’ attraction to each other real in a short time frame. Not only does it need to be physical, but it needs to be based on something more without having the normal amount of time to discover what that ‘more’ is…

Michelle Willingham: On a trip to Dublin two years ago, I visited an archaelogical museum in order to research medieval artifacts. To my surprise, I saw an amazing display of Viking lore, including preserved bodies that had been found in a bog! I’ve always been intrigued by Viking raiders, and though most of the true Viking era took place in the 9th and 10th centuries, I found evidence that a Norse king, Magnus the Barefoot, attempted to take over Dublin in 1101. Such a daring move made him a fascinating historical figure, and as I plotted my Viking story, I imagined that such a king might a ruthless foe for a Viking warrior.

The Viking’s Forbidden Love Slave tells the story of Tharand Hardrata, a memer of the Norse warrior class who steals an Irish noblewoman from her clan. He intends to trade Aisling O Brannon for his sister’s life, after she was taken by King Magnus. If Aisling succeeds in pleasing the king with her body, Tharand believes Magnus will let his sister go. But the Irish captive enslaves him with a pleasure he’s never known before. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to be carried off by an amazingly hot Viking, then I hope you’ll enjoy this fantasy story!

When the tale ends, Aisling asks Tharand to help her discover what happened to her brothers during the Norse raid. Their tale continues in Her Warrior Slave, the story fo Kieran O Brannon, on sale now at Harlequin Historicals.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this taste of 4 very different tales! Do you enjoy revisting characters and places from books you’ve read? What kinds of stories would you like to see in this form?

This isn’t the last stop on our Undone blog tour! Join us at the following sites for more fun and more chances to win:
November 3–Romance Bandits (The Battle of the Heroes)
November 7–UK Regency Readers Blog
November 10–Writeminded
November 11–Romance Vagabonds (The Heroines’ Tea Party)
The Good, The Bad, The Unread (The week of Nov. 3)

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Gillian Layne
14 years ago

Ladies, these all sound wonderful! In fact, I bought all of them yesterday so no need to enter me in the contest. I’m just having a bit of a battle with my computer to open them–but I’ve sent out an SOS to Harlequin tech support, so I’m sure my technically-challenged self will be reading these stories very soon!

During these busy times, I love the fact that the stories will be shorter, and revisiting a beloved character is wonderful.

Michele Ann Young
14 years ago

I bought them all yesterday too. Read the Viking’s Forbidden Love Slave in one gulp. Loved it, Michelle. I’m going to have to ration myself for the rest of the week. What a great concept, these stories are. Now I have to pick up the novel and find out what happens to her brother.

Nicola Cornick
14 years ago

This comment has been removed by the author.

Nicola Cornick
14 years ago

Oops! I think I must be technically challenged too, Gillian, managing to delete my post before I’ve even started! Here’s what I was trying to say:

Hi everyone, it’s lovely to be visiting Risky Regencies again and so great to be here talking about Undone in company with my fellow launch authors. I must admit I can’t wait to read the other stories myself but I must – I really must – until I’ve finished the revisions to my wip. It will be my reward. Thank you, Gillian and Michele Ann for buying the books and I hope you have fun reading them!

Elena Greene
14 years ago

Congratulations on the new releases, ladies! They all sound intriguing and different.

Bronwyn said this is a condensed format. Am I right and are these novella length? If so, that’s great. Novellas are a godsend for busy readers!

Deb Marlowe
14 years ago

Oh! So many of my favorite people in one spot!

Congratulations, ladies! How did you enjoy the challenge of writing short?

I can’t wait to read all of these!

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Elena, The Undones are very short, 10,000 to 15,000 words, very like the eHarlequin Daily Reads.

I think it is exciting! I’m amazed that these ladies put so much story into this small format. I’ve read Michelle’s and so I can vouch for the fact that it works!

The good news is that Harlequin Historical will buy other writers, even from outside their own wonderful set of authors. So it can be a way to break in to HH

Here are the guidelines

Bronwyn Scott
14 years ago

Hi Everyone! Yeah to those who have already leapt at the chance to purchase these fun stories! I think it is great fun writing them. For me, the biggest challenge is making the characters build believable relationships on something more than short term circumstances like a crisis or a single situation that has brought them together. I think, as a result, the characters themselves need to be quite extroverted and adventurous, willing to do lots of things on gut level instinct, even love, since time is short. These characters need a lot of confidence in themselves and they have to have a strong relationship with their own self esteem in order to take the risk with someone else.

Scott Eagan
14 years ago

Congraulations on the new releases ladies. I haven’t had a chance to download my copies yet but that is on my To Do List this week.

Outstanding work and I wish you continued success in later ventures.

Danielle D, Wheaton, IL
Danielle D, Wheaton, IL
14 years ago

I’m so excited about the Harlequin’s Undone line — I’m ordering all of them. I just wanted to dropped by and say HI to everyone.

Lana
14 years ago

Congratulations on the new releases! I love the idea of shorter format ebooks. Reading a whole novel in ebook form can be pretty challenging (especially since I don’t have a reader yet). What a great way to give us a taste of your styles.

I have to say, all of these look amazing. I’m definitely looking forward to them!

Nicola Cornick
14 years ago

I think that it’s great that Harlequin have chosen such an interesting selection of time periods and backgrounds for the launch books. And as Diane said, it is a good way to break into HH, so very best of luck to anyone who is giving it a try!

I agree with Bronwyn that one of the main challenges to writing short is to create a totally convincing, deep conflict from the start, keep it clear but fundamental and make the central relationship strong and believable in a relatively small number of words.

Louisa Cornell
14 years ago

I salute you ladies for being able to compact so much story into so few words! And I have all of the books from which you took minor characters to give their own stories. I love it when that happens. What a great idea!

michellewillingham
14 years ago

Gillian–I had the same difficulty. Turned out I needed the Adobe Digital Editions software. Once I downloaded that, I was good to go. You can’t beat the 89 cents!

Michele–thanks so much for buying my Viking!

For me, I think the key to doing such a short story is to have a very intense set-up, and larger-than-life characters. Then you get to have fun with them! 🙂

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

When I first heard about the announcement at National, I was really excited about it. Now that I find that these are spin-offs from the main stories, this is even more fun. As a reader, I get attached to minor characters, too, and always wonder what’s going to happen to them. Now, here’s a chance for me to read their stories.

Nicola, I’m currently reading your UNMASKED. So, you have me wondering and guessing Lovelace’s identity. 🙂

Diane, I announced this blog on Twitter and Facebook.

My question for you four authors is: How is Harlequin announcing/marketing these? Right now, they’re only available on eHarq, but do they anticipate that Amazon and other online retailers will also sell them?

Ammanda and Michelle: What were your challenges with the smaller length?

Did anyone of you find that the fact these stories needs to be almost at the Blaze level to be disconcerting and/or outside your comfort level?

Kathrynn Dennis
14 years ago

Congrats to the authors! I have been waiting for a shorter sensual historical…15K electronic word counts fits how I have to read now…with two kids and a fulltime job, I get a few at night after everyone is in bed to read a WHOLE novel, a historical no less! My favorite.

Best of luck with the launch!

Nicola Cornick
14 years ago

Hi Keira and thank you very much for buying Unmasked – I do hope that you enjoy it! My Undone story is the link between Unmasked and the new trilogy I have coming out from HQN next summer, and I don’t think it gives too much away to say that there is a great big piece of scandal in the Lady Loveless book that comes out in the first trilogy book!

Re the marketing, I have heard that Amazon will be selling them via Kindle and also that they will eventually be traditionally published as well in anthologies.

I can honestly say that I didn’t find the higher sensuality of the Undone stories to be a problem! My historicals can be pretty sensual anyway – there are scenes in Lord Greville’s Captive and Unmasked in particular that are very hot – so I was quite comfortable with Undone. As always I think it’s a matter of the characters and what feels appropriate for them. I think if you have created characters who are strong, if they are irresistibly drawn to one another and the relationship between them is taut and exciting on lots of different levels then you can make it work. At least I hope so – that’s what I’m aiming at!

Linda Banche
14 years ago

Sounds like stories I’ll love. I already bought all of them. All of the authors are on my automatic buy list.

Gemma
14 years ago

Oooh, anyone know if these will be released by Mills & Boon via their UK site as well?

michellewillingham
14 years ago

Keira–I think the challenge for me, was providing a satisfying–yet believable–ending. The attraction and intensity were easy, but toward the end I wanted readers to get their happy ending and yet not be too schmaltzy. 🙂

Gemma–I don’t know if the UK is releasing them. I imagine it all depends on how well sales go for the US sites. I did see it offered on a German site.

michellewillingham
14 years ago

Keira–sorry, forgot to answer your other questions. These e-books are available through Amazon’s Kindle program and also at fictionwise and the other e-book outlets. As for marketing, they are running an 89 cent special throughout November, which I think is a great way for people to try them, if you’ve never read an e-book before.

With the heat level, I actually had fun with it. I was worried that I’d pushed the envelope a little TOO much, in fact. :p

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Michelle and Nicola, thanks for your replies. This Undone series is very exciting.

Nicola, how clever to use the ebook as a bridge.

flchen1
14 years ago

Hi, everyone! Just wanted to say that these all sound so good! I love the shorter format, especially when some of these stories connect with a longer story a writer already has out. Like Keira said, it’s awfully fun to see what happens to secondary characters from other stories! And with such a yummy introductory price, I’m sure many of us will be sampling quite a few!

Jane
14 years ago

I can’t wait to read these books. I would like to see more Norman-Saxon and Viking romances.

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

Hi everyone! This is a terrible thing to admit while promoting EBOOKS, but my computer is dead and I am snatching time here on a borrowed ‘puter. (Which also means I have to wait until next week to download all the stories, ack!!!). I think they will be the perfect length to read before going to sleep, which is when I get most of my book time. 🙂

I really enjoyed this project so much–the shorter length (mine came out a bit longer than the 15,000 words–they are pretty flexible about the length) was a challenge at first. I came up with a plot that could have been a full-length book in itself, and had to shorten quite a bit! It also pays to be careful about the set-up and the types of characters used (i.e. would they be the sort to fall passionately in love so quickly? To be willing to jump into adventure and take chances?)

As for the sensuality level–it wasn’t more than the full-length Renaissance-set books I had done, so I was comfortable with it. Once again it comes down to the characters and their situation! (for even sexier books, there are Spice Briefs…)

Delle Jacobs
14 years ago

I can’t wait to read them! I’ve been very curious about UNDONE, both as writer and reader, and all of these sound like great stories.

I’m currently on a paranormal historical novella, and wondering if it will fit UNDONE, but I’m thinking it really is too paranormal and would fit better as a SPICE Brief.

Delle Jacobs

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Delle,
Undone will consider paranormals. This is from their guidelines:
We are also open to slightly different elements from those normally found in Harlequin Historical books. Please feel that you can explore aspects of the paranormal and time travel.

RubyD
14 years ago

Really like the “Undone” concept. I like reading the shorter stories when time is limited. I hate putting down a book after reading part of it…….Congratulations, ladies…….they all sound like winners.

Sue
Sue
14 years ago

Congratulations Ladies,
I can’t wait to read them all.
When your editor announced to Australian romance writers and readers that this series was hot, we were all excited. The hotter the better for everyone from down under!
Sue

Renee Knowles
14 years ago

Hi ladies! These all sound fabulous! I have been very curious about UNDONE as a reader and a writer. I’m about to start a sensual Regency manuscript aimed at the line.

So, I’m off right now to download all the stories! I was completely hooked by your blurbs 🙂

Renee

http://www.reneeknowles.com

Santa
14 years ago

Short and sweet and from four authors whose work I adore – I’m in! Can’t wait to get my hands on these and future reads!

Delle Jacobs
14 years ago

Diane, I’m writing it anyway, but I am thinking as I do it is so much more a paranormal and not so much a historical as a re-telling of a historical myth that they might think it’s over the edge. It’s the Siren story, and very little but the 19th century Clipper ship in the beginning is a historical setting. But hey, why not try? There’s always SPICE!

Cara King
14 years ago

I love fiction of varying lengths, so this sounds wonderful! Regency novellas are among my favorite reads, for example, and in science fiction I often prefer short stories…IMHO not every character needs 100,000 words to tell their story! 🙂

Cara

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

Delle, they do say they want paranormals for the Undone line (though not for the HH line), so i say Go For It!!!

Amy
Amy
14 years ago

Delle, don’t forget Nocturne Bites, the line of paranormal short ebooks! Looks like you have lots of options for your story.
~Amy

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