Back to Top

Tag Archives: Sandra Schwab

The cover of the print edition of The Return of the Earl, by Sandra SchwabI’m terribly late with today’s post (so late that it’s already tomorrow here in Frankfurt) because I had this brilliant idea to record a reading for you only to realize that after more than a year out of the classroom, my vocal cords aren’t quite what they used to be…. In other words, Chaos Sandy has struck once again.

BUT!!!! I’ve finally finished that recording, and I even still have a voice! Wheee!

So, remember how back in January I told you all about my return to Regency England and the garden follies and how I used the grounds of Harewood near Leeds as an inspiration for the grounds of the stately home belonging to the very grumpy earl in my WIP? Well, the very grumpy earl is about to be unleashed unto the world: On Friday, The Return of the Earl will hit bookshelves! Here’s the blurb:


On the Continent they call him the Ice Prince, icy of manner, icy of heart. Now, after thirteen years of exile, Con returns home to England and to Harrowcot Hall, a place haunted by memories of a long-lost friendship and past betrayals, a place where all of his dreams shattered and died.

But the past is over and done with, and can no longer touch him — or so Con thinks. He certainly does not expect to come face to face with Bryn Ellison again, the man whom he once loved beyond everything and who repudiated their bond in the cruelest way imaginable.

As snow and frost close in on Harrowcot Hall, Con’s icy demeanour starts to melt while he grapples with old hurts and newly awakened passions. Will he give in to the lure of the past against his better judgement?

This book contains a very grumpy earl, a dashing stablemaster, some ravishment in various places, several garden follies, a lot of snow, and a horse called Lancelot

And now please grab a cup of tea and follow me to Harrowcot Hall as I read to you a few snippets from the novella.

I hope you enjoyed the reading!

The Return of the Earl is already available for pre-order on Amazon, and the print edition should be ready by next week.

Now the only question is: What should I write next? I think I might stay with the garden follies of Regency England… I’ve missed them so! 🙂

A picture of the new print edition of Castle of the Wolf
Today I come to you with all kinds of bookish news: I’m currently knee-deep into the production of new print editions of all of my books. (It kind of hit me when I was preparing  Eagle’s Honor: Ravished, which I have entered into the RITAs, for print that very few of my novels were actually available as paperbacks. So it was definitely beyond time to remedy that situation.) Moreover, a few weeks ago, I also discovered how to create drop caps in MS Word and since then I’ve been on a roll. As you can see from the picture above. 🙂

For the print edition of Castle of the Wolf, my Beauty & the Beast story, in which a young woman inherits a mysterious castle in the Black Forest, I chose a set of initial letters that reminded me of old fairy tale books. I thought that was quite fitting since fairy tales play a very important role in the story.

So this is the good part. However, overall Sandra’s Adventures in Print Publishing didn’t go quite that smoothly. The grumpy dude on the cover? He’s orange. “But, Sandy,” you might say, “he is not orange in that picture above.” Yeah. I know. I applied a number of filters to that picture above because I didn’t want to inflict his glow-in-the-dark color on anyone. So if you’d like to get a nice new edition of Castle, please wait a few days. I’m currently fixing it. (I just hope he doesn’t turn out to look like a zombie this time around.) (That’s what living in a run-down castle does to you: turns you into a zombie!)

But what *did* turn out really nicely is the frontispiece (see? I’m really on a roll here! hehe!): I did include a sketch of the Kastelburg in Waldkirch, upon which the castle in my novel is (partly) based. Here is a picture of the frontispiece in the making:

A sketch of the Kastelburg in Waldkirch Annnnnnd in other bookish news, my grumpy centurion, whom I mentioned in my last post about doing portraits, is going to hit bookshelves this Friday. I so enjoyed telling Caius & Lucius’ story. I fell in love with these two when I first wrote them as secondary characters into Eagle’s Honor: Ravished, which is set ten years after The Centurion’s Choice, and I knew from almost the start that I very much wanted to tell their story as well.

Teaser image for The Centurion's Choice by Sandra SchwabFor me, one of the great joys of writing the Eagle’s Honor series is that has expanded into an exploration of family relations across several generations as well as an exploration of family stories. Family stories formed an important part of my growing up – my paternal grandmother in particular liked telling me stories about the time when my father and his sisters were little, and sometimes also about the time when she was a young woman. And above my parents’ dining table there’s a huge collage of family pictures going back as far as the 1890s. So my own experiences of how people in my family talked about their past and about people from past generations I’ve never met, very much informed the way I have been approaching the stories the Florius family share.

I love imagining what kind of stories members of the Florius family would share about past generations and what kind of things would be passed from one generation to the next. And also imagine what sort of circumstances would interrupt this chain of oral traditions; in how far memories might change over time. For me, it’s a really nice way to link these stories that set apart several decades. (And of course, I hope readers will enjoy these links, too!)

Teaser image for The Centurion's Choice, by Sandra SchwabBut, of course, these family stories just form a tiny part of the background for The Centurion’s Choice, which at its heart is a enemies-to-friends-to-lovers story. With a very grumpy centurion. 🙂 (Watching those grumpy guys fall in love is always such great fun, isn’t it?) So without further ado, here’s the blurb for the novella. I will add buy links on Friday, when the book comes out.

It’s 178 AD, and barbarian tribes once again threaten the borders of the Roman Empire. To make matters worse, Lucius’ promotion in his auxiliary cohort has been denied, and instead the governor has appointed a moody, mean-tempered Roman to become the new centurion of the Septem Gallorum. And, incidentally, to trample all over Lucius’ ambitions.

Tall and burly, Centurion Caius Florius Corvus might be way too good-looking for Lucius’ peace of mind, but the man has also made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t trust Lucius as his second-in-command. Yet as they are swept into war and each has to shoulder his responsibilities, a reluctant respect begins to grow between them, which soon grows into friendship — and, perhaps, more?

A lavender sachet with an embroidered rabbit

A lavender sachet with a rabbit, embroidered by the author

I thought for today’s post, I’d elaborate a little on my February post about needlework, and talk about the social aspects of needlework. As any crafter knows, there is an immense satisfaction in gifting your work to your friends and family (especially when they actually appreciate handmade things). I love giving handmade blankets and softies to the children of my friends, and among the women of my grandmother’s generation, embroidered handkerchiefs were popular presents.

Like today, needlework often served as a means to strengthen (female) relationships in the Regency era. And in 19th-century literature this is nowhere better reflected than in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford stories. They were first published in the early 1850s, but most of them are set at a much earlier date, in the 1830s and 40s, and the genteel, yet impoverished ladies of Cranford maintain rules of etiquette that are remnants from even earlier decades.

With Cranford, Gaskell entered a contemporary debate about whether women were able to form and maintain true friendships with members of their sex. As female friendships and female communities form such an important part of the Cranford stories, it perhaps not surprising that we are granted a much more detailed glimpse at the domestic life and work of women than in other literary works of the time.

In the village of Cranford it is the little kindnesses that help to maintain and strengthen the community, and those kindnesses often take the form of handmade things or homemade remedies. In Chapter 2, the narrator tells us:

I had often occasion to notice the use that was made of fragments and small opportunities in Cranford; the rose-leaves that were gathered ere they fell to make into a potpourri for someone who had no garden; the little bundles of lavender flowers sent to strew the drawers of some town-dweller, or to burn in the chamber of some invalid.  Things that many would despise, and actions which it seemed scarcely worth while to perform, were all attended to in Cranford.

The women in Cranford keep in touch with absent friends by writing letters, and needlework plays an important role in forming new friendships and deepening existing ones. Thus,

Miss Pole and Miss Jessie Brown had set up a kind of intimacy on the strength of the Shetland wool and the new knitting stitches […].

And similarly, the relationship between Miss Pole and Mary, the narrator, who is only an occasional visitor to Cranford, deepens thanks to crochet:

There was Miss Pole, who was becoming as much absorbed in crochet as she had been once in knitting, and the burden of whose letter was something like, “But don’t you forget the white worsted at Flint’s” of the old song; for at the end of every sentence of news came a fresh direction as to some crochet commission which I was to execute for her.

As a result of those crochet commissions, Miss Pole invites Mary to stay with her at the beginning of Chatepr 3, and again, needlework is featured prominently:

There was all the more time for me to hear old-world stories from Miss Pole, while she sat knitting, and I making my father’s shirts.  I always took a quantity of plain sewing to Cranford; for, as we did not read much, or walk much, I found it a capital time to get through my work.

When Peter, Miss Matty’s long-lost brother, returns to Cranford towards the end of the collection, he brings with him a beautiful Indian muslin gown. But because Miss Matty has grown too old for such finery, the gown is reserved for Miss Jessie Brown’s daughter and thus becomes yet another means to strengthen the cross-generational bonds. This gives us a glimpse of how fabric could become imbued with love and kinship. In Miss Weeton: Journal of a Governess 1811-1825 we find a letter from Ellen Weeton to her daughter, where she describes the bundle of fabrics she is sending along with the letter to be made into a patchwork quilt:

Print for patchwork is sold  by weight, in small bits such as I have sent you. I purchased it at Prescot market […] The piece of patchwork is out of an old Quilt I made above 20  years ago […] The Hexagon  in the middle was a shred of our best bed hangings; they were Chintz, from the West Indies, which my father brought home with him from one of his voyages.

As we can see, fabric was not only repurposed and passed down in the family, it could also become the carrier of family stories and histories – a process that will be no doubt familiar to many modern quilters!

And that was it from me for this month. When I post the next time, in March, I’ll have some big news to share with you, involving, among other things that cute red-haired woman below. 🙂

And now, let’s hear it from you: Do you have any kind of handmade item that is part of your family history or reminds you of a dear friend?

Red-haired woman, digital art by Sandra Schwab

cover picture of A Taste of Scandal
Yesterday was release day for A TASTE OF SCANDAL, a multi-author box set I contributed to. Indeed, even the cover is so scandalous that Facebook wouldn’t let one of us boost her “Hooray! New release! With pretty new cover!!!” post. Because, you see, you can plainly discern a man’s neikkid back and shoulder. *gasp*

And biceps!

Let’s not forget that lovely biceps!!! *pats screen*

(I do hope you’re keeping your smelling salts nearby in case you’re overcome by so much scandalous scandalousness!)

And here’s is the scandalous blurb:

Heat up your history with eight amazing novels from USA Today bestselling authors and brand new voices [and, well, me] in this box set! From Regency ballrooms to Victorian bedrooms [and garden follies adorned by giant stone pineapples!!!] [how could you possibly resist those stone pineapples?!!?], there’s something here for every lover of steamy, sexy historical romance. Scottish highlanders, noble spies, and witty aristocrats use humor, wits, and intrigue to get whatever — and whoever — they desire. But these daring heroes meet their match when they encounter bewitching beauties who want more than just a taste of scandal…

(In case you wonder: the fabulous Elizabeth Cole aka the mastermind behind this box set wrote the blurb. Now I just need to find out how I can get her to write all my future blurbs.)

If you don’t quite know how to become properly scandalous yourself, never fear: We have assembled a list of handy tips from some of our heroes & heroines on how to be truly scandalous. Let’s start with a bit of a garden theme:

"The Dovecote" - art by Sandra Schwab “If you suspect a beautiful, unmarried woman is a spy, lead her to a dark garden where you can kiss her senseless while discovering whether she has hidden assets.” ~ Sebastien Thorne from A HEARTLESS DESIGN by Elizabeth Cole

“Garden follies (even those adorned by giant stone pineapples!) are most wonderfully suitable for seduction.” ~ Sebastian “Fox” Stapleton from BEWITCHED by Sandra Schwab

For our next tip, you don’t need a garden, but having a brother is kind of essential:

“Blame everything on your roguish brother so that your darkest secret will never be revealed to the woman you love.” ~ Patrick Rochester from DARK PERSUASION by Vicki Hopkins

So far, our list might lead you to think that only romance heroes have scandal on their minds. But nothing could be further from the truth! So let’s hear from two of our heroines:

"Elinor" - art by Sandra Schwab“The easiest way to get one’s self married is to make a man dizzy with desire. And not let him get undizzy until after the wedding.” ~ Elinor from TO WED THE WIDOW by Megan Bryce

The next one is my personal favorite. It’s a great line to use when you have to deal with a stubborn or annoying hero:

“I don’t think I could kill you, even though you deserve it. They would probably behead me at the Tower if I murdered a duke.” ~ Elizabeth from EDUCATING ELIZABETH by Kate Pearce

"Elizabeth" - art by Sandra Schwab
If you want to find out about all the scandalous things that happen in A TASTE OF SCANDAL, you can pick up your copy for just 99 cents at the following sites:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Apple itunes | Kobo

And now let’s hear from you: What is the best scandalous thing you’ve ever encountered in a romance novel?

Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of the very first edition of BEWITCHED (yes, that would be the old Dorchester edition from 2008) (and yes, I still have a few brand new copies of that edition), my contribution to the box set. I’m going to pick a winner (randomly chosen) on Sunday, 11 October.

I’m a bit late with my post today as I spent the day at the Rhine with friends. And since I’ve already written about 19th-century travels on the Rhine, I thought it might be nice to share pictures of our day trip and add to them some descriptions from guidebooks from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Koblenz with the "German Corner," where the rivers Rhine and Mosel meet

View of Koblenz with the “German Corner,” where the rivers Rhine and Mosel meet

We visited Koblenz, which Murray’s Handbook for Travellers on the Continent: Northern Germany of 1845 describes thus:

“Coblenz is a strongly fortified town on the left bank of the Rhine, and right of the Mosel. It received from the Romans the name Confluentes, modernised into Coblenz, from its situation at the confluence of these 2 rivers. It is the capital of the Rhenish provinces of Prussia, and its population, together with that of Ehrenbreitstein, including the garrison, is about 25,000.”



Right across the Rhine from Koblenz lies the Ehrenbreitstein. Murray’s tells us the following about the fortress:

“Ehrenbreitstein (honour’s broad stone), the Gibraltar of the Rhine, connected with Coblenz by a bridge of boats. In order to enter it, it is necessary to have permission from the military commandant residing in Coblenz, which a valet-de-place will easily procure, on merely presenting the passport, or a card with the name of the applicant upon it.”

The garrison was destroyed by the French in 1801, but was rebuilt by the Prussians between 1817-1828 and, together with Koblenz on the other side of the river, was meant to protect the Middle Rhine.

Deutsches Eck

Deutsches Eck

One of the most famous sights of Koblenz is the so-called German Corner (Deutsches Eck), where the river Mosel meets the Rhine. After Kaiser Wilhelm’s death in 1888, a colossal equestrian statue was erected here in commemorate the Kaiser who had brought about the German unification of 1871. The statue was finished in 1897.

Electoral Palace, Koblenz

Electoral Palace

Bradshaw’s Continental Railway Guide from 1913 has the following to say about other sights of Koblenz:

“The beautiful Rhein Anlagen (gardens and promenade) extends along the river front a little south of the boat bridge. Above and behind the Anlagen is the Schloss [i.e., the Electoral Palace], formerly a favourite residence of the German Imperial family; the royal apartments may be seen.”

Prussian government building and Koblenzer Hof

Government Palace and the hotel Koblenzer Hof

Bradshaw’s also mentions “the imposing Regierungspalast (Government office) with square peaked towers” as well as the “[n]ew first class hotel” right next to it, the Grand Hotel Belle Vue – Coblenzer Hof, which had just opened in spring 1913. The ad in the guidebook proudly points out that there’s “running water in every room.” 🙂

ad for Coblenzer Hof in 1913 guidebook

Ad from Bradshaw’s Continental Railway Guide (1913)

But not just the buildings along the Rhine are particularly nice, you can also find beautiful buildings when you walk through the town itself.

pretty houses in Koblenz

Pretty houses in Koblenz

And oodles of churches like the Liebfrauenkirche, which is dedicated to Mary.

Liebfrauenkirche, Koblenz

Liebfrauenkirche, Koblenz

As you can see I had a truly wonderful day! 🙂 And I also had something to celebrate, namely the re-launch of my debut novel, The Lily Brand, which was published ten years ago by Dorchester. Here’s the blurb & the pretty new cover. Until the end of this week, you can still snatch it up for the launch price of $2.99.

Troy Sacheverell, fifth earl of Ravenhurst, was captured in France. He’d gone to fight Napoleon, but what he found was much more sinister. Dragged from prison to an old French manor on the outskirts of civilization, he was purchased by a rich and twisted widow. And more dangerous still was the young woman who claimed him.

Lillian had not chosen to live with Camille, her stepmother, but nobody escaped the Black Widow’s web. And on her nineteenth birthday, Lillian became Camille’s heir. Her gift was a plaything: a man to end her naiveté, a man perfect in all ways but his stolen freedom. Yet even as Lillian did as she was told, marked that beautiful flesh and branded it with the flower of her name, all she desired was escape. In another place, in another world, she’d desired love. Now, looking into burning blue eyes, she knew there was no place to run. No matter if should she flee, no matter where she might go, she and this man were prisoners of passion, inextricably linked by the lily brand.

And while her heart remained locked in ice, his burnt with hate. Would they ever find true happiness?

Get it on Amazon or Kobo

cover of Sandra Schwab's The Lily Brand

Posted in Places | Tagged , | 2 Replies
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By