Category Archives: Falling for Her Captor

Dance the night away.

It’s party season and I’m looking forward to getting out on Friday night for a dance with my colleagues so I thought I’d share some of the scenes from my books involving dancing. I love dancing and don’t get to do it often enough so I make sure my couples get the chance.  Learning how to dance properly is on my to-do list when I eventually have the time (and a willing partner).

First from Falling for Her Captor

Falling for Her Captor

Stephen slammed his goblet onto the table. ‘We should dance!’ he shouted, and applause filled the room.

He reached out his hand to Aline, his jaw set and his eyes narrowed. Reluctantly she took his hand and walked to the centre of the room, her eyes cast down. A hush descended over the hall.

‘A quadrille for Lady Aline,’ Stephen announced.

The musicians took up their instruments once more and began to play a simple melody. Stephen took Aline’s hands and together they began to circle the room, the familiar steps of the dance coming back to her as they moved together. She caught a glimpse of Hugh again, deep in conversation with a young woman dressed in scarlet. The woman put her hand to his arm and dipped her head coyly. Hugh smiled. Aline frowned, then caught herself in the act. What was it to her who he talked to?

Hugh gave no indication of noticing her, though she thought she saw him glance in her direction as Stephen lifted and spun her. Stephen didn’t look away from her face, however, and she dared not stare too obviously.

The musicians increased their tempo and other couples joined Aline and Stephen on the floor. The dance became more intricate now: the pairs were weaving between each other, now in one circle, now in two, now in lines, the men lifting the women in sweeping arcs before moving speedily on to a new partner. After her long confinement Aline leapt high and swung wildly, laughing and lost in the dance—until she looked into the face of her newest partner.

A half-smile played upon Hugh’s lips as he bowed to her. His blue eyes met her own. Familiar arms encircled her waist and lifted her off her feet, spun her. They passed shoulder to shoulder, their hands brushing fleetingly as they circled round, their eyes never breaking away.

Then he was gone.

Next one from the midwinter feast which Will has staked his savings on in A Wager for the Widow (the dress in the excerpt is the one Eleanor wears on the cover).

piccie

Eleanor walked through the doorway and Will forgot everything.

She wore green. Pale silk under a mantle of heavy, emerald velvet laced with gold braid from beneath her high breasts to her slender waist. Her hair had been twisted atop her head and encased in a net of gold so that her braids flamed between the metal. The gown left her shoulders bare and the elegant expanse of creamy flesh sent Will’s heart thudding into his stomach.

Half-a-dozen men leapt to their feet as they saw Eleanor, but Will was quicker. He tore his gaze from the curve of her throat and collarbone and strode to her. He bowed before her, then lifted his head. His eyes travelled slowly up her body until he met her gaze, determined to leave her in no doubt of the effect she was having upon him. She looked uncertain until Will gave her a discreet wink. She smiled back and the world brightened, as though a hundred more candles had begun to burn.

‘Let me escort you to your seat, Lady Peyton,’ Will said formally. As she took his outstretched arm he whispered in an undertone, ‘You’re the most beautiful woman in the room. It was worth the hailstorm to see you in that dress.’

Eleanor said nothing, but a blush crept across her cheeks and her fingers tightened on his arm. Will led her to her seat, reluctantly relinquishing her to the company of the Sheriff of Tawstott. He could barely keep his eyes from her for the rest of the feast.

When the final dishes had been removed the tables were cleared for the dancing to begin. The musicians tuned their instruments and an expectant hush fell over the hall.

Allencote began to thread his way through the crowd towards her and Will crossed the room to her side. The two men reached her at the same time. Eleanor looked from one to the other apprehensively.

‘Will you dance the first measure with me, Lady Peyton?’ Allencote asked, a shade before Will could ask the same question.

Eleanor’s eyes flickered briefly to Will’s. He held her gaze boldly though his stomach curled with anxiety. It was out of his hands now. If she chose Allencote, he had lost everything.

Next Hal and Joanna’s wedding reception from The Blacksmith’s Wife

Blacksmith's wife cover

‘We should dance,’ Hal said, pushing his chair back and helping Joanna to her feet. He was quick on his feet and graceful. Under any other circumstance dancing with him would have been a delight, but as he led her through the steps Joanna’s thoughts were on his last words. When the day ended they would return to Hal’s lodgings with all that must happen between a husband and wife. The thought made her feel nauseous and she stumbled her footing through the next steps of the reel. Hal’s arm came about her waist, leading her back into the rhythm.

‘Are you ill?’ he asked, concern clear in his voice.

‘Just a little tired,’ Joanna answered.

As she passed down the line one of Simon’s associates overheard her words. He grasped her round the waist and lifted her high. ‘The bride wishes to sleep,’ he cried. ‘We shall have the bedding ere long!’

Joanna’s blood froze in her veins. That part of the wedding night had kept her awake night after night. She had steeled herself to bear whatever her husband bade her do, but to be disrobed in front of the guests would be unendurable. Cheers soared around the room, echoing his words. Joanna felt herself passed from guest to guest through the steps of the dance. Her protestations were ignored as hands gripped her skirts, pulling at the cloth as if they would begin undressing her right there. Laughing faces leered at her as for one terrible moment she became the centre of a circle of dancers before a pair of strong arms gripped her and she was clasped against someone’s chest. She tried to pull free but a soothing voice hushed her, brushing her hair from her face.

‘I’m sorry to disappoint you, gentlemen and ladies, but there will be no bedding,’ Hal said.

Joanna gave a gasp of relief. He smiled down at her with eyes full of intent that caused a shiver to race along her spine.

‘My wife is my own tonight,’ he said quiet enough for only her to hear.

And finally the book where no one dances but which contains one nevertheless, The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge

SOR front

The second time they met it had been spring, not many weeks later than it was today. A time after they had settled in Hamestan, but before the thegns rose against her people. A market day filled with rare laughter and music where Constance had believed they were becoming accepted, that they could live in peace alongside each other.

There had been dancing and she’d watched enviously as the girls spun about the circle with their skirts flying, trying to ignore the stares and whispers.

Aelric had been at the centre of the knot, a set of pipes to his lips and his red-blond hair falling into his eyes. He had paused his tune as he spotted her watching and threaded his way through the circle towards her and held out his hand. When she indicated the stick she leaned on his expression hadn’t been one of pity or ridicule like she was used to, but regret. Instead of turning immediately back to the dance he’d taken her hand and bowed, then walked with her through the marketplace, leaving his friends behind.

She’d fallen a little bit in love with him at that moment.

I doubt I’ll be lucky enough to dance with anyone like one of my heroes (lovely though my colleagues are) and even if I did I’d probably trip over my heels and end up in the pudding plates but I’m going to enjoy myself anyway.  Have fun if you’re out and about this Christmas.

Which of my heroes would you take for a spin under the glitter ball?  I’d love to know.

$1.99 book sale!

Harlequin have been publishing ebooks for ten years!  To celebrate they’re offering 10,000 ebooks at $1.99 each, including my first book Falling for Her Captor.  If you haven’t read it now is your chance to get hold of a copy.

Falling for Her Captor at $1.99

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Readers have described it as

A feisty heroine, a drop-dead gorgeous hero, a nastier-than-real-life villain, and a plot you can sink your teeth into.

A really gripping, and at times dark, story that really kept my attention.

A satisfying read, with some great ambiance and a fast-paced romance, if you’ve not read this period before, then this is a great introduction to it.

Loads of emotional tension between the two of them keep you turning the pages and the ending is both heartfelt and satisfying. Highly recommend.

A very eventful day and a new contest!

Today is the first anniversary of the publication of Falling for Her Captor.  It’s been a fabulous year since release.  The book has received some amazingly positive reviews.  I had a second book released in July, my third is with my editor and I’ve started writing the fourth.

Today was always going to be a celebration of that but it turned out there were multiple reasons.

I found out that Hugh, hero of Falling for Her Captor has made it into Harlequin’s  Hero of the Year contest.  There are sixteen heroes to choose from who will be narrowed down until only one remains.  He’s currently in Region 3 up against a straight laced District Attorney and needs your support to make it through to the next round!

Vote for Hugh here

You can vote daily so remember to go back tomorrow (and the day after…and the day after…)

Falling for her Captor is also released in French today.  If you always meant to brush up your language skills there can’t be a better way than trying to get your tongue round this.  It’s available on Amazon.

Book things aside, the most important thing that happens today is that my son is 10.  Ten.  Double figures.  Closer to adulthood than birth.  This makes me feel all kinds of strange (and old).  He’s currently doing musical things I don’t understand with electronics that alarm me for the number of dials and jacks.  I miss the days of Duplo but he’s turning into such a lovely, grown up boy and I love him loads.

Cover Comparison

Falling for Her CaptorA Wager for the Widow

I’ve got two covers now and I don’t know whether or not it was intentional on the part of the art department but they’re very similar.  Both feature lovely heroines in green with moody skies in the background.  As much as I would have loved to see who they chose to play the heroes (one dark, one blonde – who would you choose?) I really like my ladies.

Which cover do you prefer?  Do you go for the covers with couples or heroes rather than heroines?  Let me know in the comments or over on Twitter @elisabethhobbes or Facebook ElisabethHobbesAuthor

I’ve used one of the American Harlequin branded ones and a UK Mills & Boon as the logos are different but both books are available on Amazon.com and co.uk and other online sites. Clicking on the cover pictures should take you right there if the cover has whetted your appetite.

A visit and a video

When I signed my second contract my editor Julia invited me to visit the Harlequin office and go out for lunch which I was really looking forward to (despite being a gibbering wreck about meeting real people).  I’ll freely own up to being ridiculously nervous about being unmasked as a complete fraud in front of adults, especially when they have a lot more experience about the subject of romance and books than I do, but I was dying to see where everything happened and meet the team.

It’s the school holidays and by some machinations and a bit of good fortune I managed to get down to London so I arranged a visit to the office in Richmond.  On the Friday term ended I checked my emails and discovered a request to video me talking for the SYTYCW Sold! blog, thus proving the old adage*…

Despite the fact that in The Day Job I perform in front of an audience every day they’re five year olds and not too discerning.  Throw on a wolf mask to blow their structures down, do a silly voice when reading a story and feign utter amazement when they beat me in the number bond challenge and they’re over the moon.  Since the start of this amazingly fun journey I’ve found myself on I’ve done newspaper interviews via the telephone and even spoken on BBC Radio Manchester but the prospect of being filmed terrified me.

I got through it thanks to the encouragement of Flo who expertly put me at my ease.  I only took a few takes and I managed to talk without going ‘umm’ too many times, though I did get the year I was in SYTYCW mixed up with the year Falling for Her Captor came out.

The video is here

http://sold.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/2015/04/weekend-writing-tip-tbc/

In the event, I had a wonderful day.  I dispatched the husband and children to go find a view of St Paul’s and eat supermarket sandwiches while I went visiting.

I was greeted with a noticeboard with a picture of my book cover (apparently the colourful letters were not just to make the primary school teacher feel at home) and surprise champagne.  noticeboard

The staff were lovely.  Everyone was welcoming and friendly and came over to say hello.  It was a fantastic opportunity to put faces to names and get to meet the people I’ve been in touch with for a year and a half now.  The enthusiasm for what they do is obvious and it made me appreciate how lucky I am to be a small part of such a wonderful team.

group

I shall definitely go back if they invite me.  Apart from anything else, Julia and I didn’t manage pudding and we need to put that right!

*not really.  It was entirely voluntary and I enjoyed doing it, despite having a meltdown beforehand when husband said my dress and top clashed.

One year on

This time last year I was reeling from The Call. Feeling nostalgic I decided to look back through this blog to reminisce and discovered I never wrote about it.
So here it is:

Have you ever wondered how writers feel when they finally get The Call? I know I have. Whenever I fantasised about it I imagined whooping with delight and grabbing devastatingly attractive strangers in spontaneous hugs (because one should never pass up the chance to grab an attractive stranger if the opportunity arises).

I certainly didn’t imagine the main sensation would be all encompassing queasiness. Not because I wasn’t completely over the moon, but because my call came after a 5am start, on a cross-channel ferry in February -remember those storms last year?- with the White Cliffs of Dover coming into view.

As it happens I had three calls before the big one and I’ve written about finding out I was through to the final 50 of SYTYCW2013 here https://elisabethhobbes.co.uk/page/5/.

I had two further calls. One telling me I was through to the final 10 which came while I was cooking dinner and almost resulted in me burning it, then another telling me I had finished third in the competition (yippee) but that the manuscript wasn’t quite right for the Harlequin guidelines (sob). Fortunately the editors saw promise so sent me revision notes and I set to work revising and redrafting.

A week or so before going on my annual child free skiing holiday (bad mother) I sent my revised manuscript to Sarah at Harlequin and kept everything crossed that the changes I’d made were enough to make the grade.

And then I got The Big Call. The one that mattered, and the one I never really believed I would get.

A week skiing almost managed to take my mind off things and the drive back from the Alps to Calais finished me off so all I cared about at that point was getting home in one piece. There I was, settled on a lumpy chair with a cardboard cup of lukewarm lemon and ginger tea, trying to ignore the way the horizon kept lurching, when the phone rang showing a number I didn’t recognise.

“Hi, it’s Sarah from Harlequin…”

Yes, she liked the changes. Yes, the manuscript fitted much better with Harlequin Historical’s reader promise. Yes, the emotional conflict between Aline and Hugh worked much better (which I gather readers agree with from the feedback I’ve had).

I tried to sound intelligent and sophisticated, but who am I kidding? I know I apologised for sounding vague, burbled about crossing half of France before breakfast, almost spilled my drink and tried to resist saying ‘please tell me if you want it before the ferry sinks!*’

Which of course, she did.

Cue huge grins and self-conscious glances at the other passengers in case they wondered why I was acting so strangely. Then Sarah mentioned the words ‘two book deal’ and I wished I’d ordered something a little stronger than tea!

As fate had it we were heading back to pick up our children from my in-laws so it was lovely to be able to turn up with such exciting news and a few bottles of Breton cider to celebrate.

And now Falling for Her Captor is out how do I feel? Absolutely thrilled. It’s been so exciting to follow my characters on their journey from my laptop to the pages and learn about what happens once that first life-changing phonecall is over. Reviews have been almost universally positive http://www.amazon.co.uk/Falling-Captor-Mills-Boon-Historical-ebook/dp/B00M1OL2X2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424637155&sr=8-1&keywords=falling+for+her+captor. I have a fabulous new editor, Julia, after Sarah left the company to pursue other things and I’ve met so many lovely people through doing this. I’ve been in the paper and done an interview on BBC Radio Manchester without throwing up in the studio!

I still can’t quite believe that from the first call in Cornwall to seeing my words in print was less than a year and that a year after getting The Big Call I’ve finished a second book and been offered a further contract for another two.

It’s been an amazing year since I sent off that first chapter, and with my second book, A Wager for the Widow, coming out in July and the third in progress the fun is still going on.

*not dissing P&O. It really was horrible weather.

I’ve got mail

One of the best things about this writing business is getting boxes of books through the post. Who doesn’t like getting parcels, and filled with books. What could be better.

Oh yes, getting a parcel filled with books with my name on them!

These turned up today completely out of the blue which makes it doubly exciting because I wasn’t expecting any.

I reckon he would have given Hugh a run for his money.
I reckon he would have given Hugh a run for his money.

I secretly wanted a brooding hero on my cover so Zachary Black is the next best thing. Later I’m going to prop the books up next to each other and make him and Aline talk to each other.

I know I have blog readers in Australia (hello, I love your country, haven’t been for years)so if you’ve seen this on the shelves I’d love you to let me know. If you’ve bought it, even more so.

One month on…

Falling for Her Captor has been out for a month now and I’d like to say a huge than you to everyone who has taken the time to review or let me know what you think if the book.

It’s been a busy month with guest blog posts, interviews and trying to keep on top of reviews and suchlike. I finally feel like I’m coming up for air.

I told myself I wouldn’t read reviews but I couldn’t resist in the end and I’m ecstatic to say that almost all the ones I’ve found (Amazon and Goodreads) have been amazingly positive.

Comments such as ‘I thought i would just read the first chapter before bed at 10:30 last night… 3:00 in the morning i finished it!‘ and ‘kept me gripped right til the end and I really cared about the main characters…I’d love to know what happened after the last chapter for Aline and Hugh.‘ and ‘A feisty heroine, a drop-dead gorgeous hero, a nastier-than-real-life villain, and sweeping scenery make this a must-read for all historical romance readers‘ are a joy to read. If reviews are the author’s Performance Management then I think I’m doing ok.

It’s such a thrill to know people like the story and characters. If you’ve spotted a review somewhere else please link me to it.

So what’s up next?

Tomorrow I’ll be taking part in The historical Romance Network’s Fall Back in Time event on Twitter https://www.facebook.com/events/512905705479257/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming and posting a pic of me with the first Historical I read (and maybe a couple of other favourites for good measure). Why not join in the fun and tweet a selfie of yourself reading historical fiction using the hashtag #fallbackintime and maybe win one of the great prizes offered by authors taking part.

I’ll also be working hard on revisions to get my second manuscript back to my editor within the next couple of weeks.

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow of course. Last year I wrote the first two chapters of manuscript 2 then got caught up in SYTYCW and revisions of FFHC so it took a lot longer before I picked the story up again. I’ve started on my third story and hopefully I’ll get time to get a little further with that.

Right now though the kids are in bed after a fun evening trick or treating, I’ve just finished a large glass of ginger beer (alcoholic of course) and there’s a bubble bath with my name on it.

A History of writing in One Object

The outside is much cheerier than the contents.
The outside is much cheerier than the contents.

This is my writing notebook, though it hasn’t always been that. It started life with a much more serious purpose.

Not long after starting on my second manuscript I realised I was on a much tighter time frame than first time around and had better try organise myself. There had to be a lot less making it up as I went along (yes, yes, but shhh, you know what I mean) than first time around. I chanced upon a great blog post about how to increase word limit http://thisblogisaploy.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/how-i-went-from-writing-2000-words-day.html (read it, it’s good. There’s a book too) and decided to follow the advice. Obviously the first thing I decided I needed was a notebook so I went upstairs, had a good rummage on my shelves and unearthed this one which I had forgotten all about.

Then I had to put it back on the shelf and go sit down for a little while with a cup of tea because finding it again messed with my head a lot.

After the birth of my second child I developed full-on, mind-melting, 4a.m. floor-pacing postnatal depression. It was understandable I suppose. We sold and moved house not long after she was born, with all the stress that involves. My husband was working away, we have no family close by and I had a 19 month who was already exhibiting signs of what would turn out to be Asperger’s Syndrome. It was all overwhelming. I pushed myself through days and resisted taking medication, partly because I was breastfeeding and partly because as a society we have a very strange attitude towards mental health issues. I’ve thought long and hard about even writing this because it is feels like outing myself as some sort of freak or failure as a functioning human.

I would never have refused drugs for a heart problem or epilepsy but being a bit sad, well, we just don’t like to go there do we, even when describing depression as being ‘a bit sad’ is like describing a broken leg as ‘a bit annoying to walk on- don’t make a fuss, push it out of your mind and stop being silly, of course you can run a marathon!’

Eventually I saw my GP and asked for counselling. She was wonderfully understanding, not at all judgemental and put me straight down on the six month minimum waiting list.

Six months. Almost as long as the time my baby had been alive. Six more months of feeling defeated, useless, despairing and exhausted. I couldn’t wait that long. I admitted defeat and started taking medication and started to feel better in very small increments but I knew I needed something else too.

My husband went out and scoured Waterstones for some self help books and found me a book on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. I made myself read it, even when I really, really didn’t want to. It had helpful -incredibly helpful though not easy- tasks to complete.

I did them in my cheerful stripy notebook. The brightest I could find that wasn’t too girly or covered in flowers because I wanted something bright to look at on the dark days.

I spent a lot more time crying, a load more nights lying on the sofa or curled up in a corner, many months still doubting myself and feeling like I’d never come through the other side but eventually I turned a corner. Once more, a nod and raised glass to the ladies to whom Falling for Her Captor is dedicated. With absolutely no exaggeration whatsoever they have stopped me from sinking on so many occasions.

I got the counselling too and that helped and eventually I stopped using the notebook, about halfway through. I put in on the shelf and after a couple of years I forgot about it.

Things brightened up and I put myself mainly back together. I started teaching again I became a person rather than simply a human shaped sack of Mum and misery- see previous posts for puree related ennui.

Now all those years later and I decided to try mapping out chapters, discovering the notebook was a bit of a punch to the chest. I had come such a long way and I had barely even realised it was happening. I had been panicking that I’d never be able to finish a second book. Did I have a complete story in me? Could I get it done to deadline? Would me editor tell me they’d made a mistake and ask for the money back??? Reading some of the things I had written were very bloody hard but to be able to look back and see where I had been and where I was now was very emotional. I don’t intend to read them again, but it was the little kick I needed to get my head down, plan and write and get on with what I had to do.

I made more tea, turned the book upside down and began to plan my chapter. The method worked. Hooray! I planned, wrote longhand, scribbled dialogue and drew lots of boxes and amazingly managed to get the manuscript to my editor over a month in advance. Double hooray!! Now I have the revisions back and they look doable.

There are 4 pages left in the middle of the book between what I have written now and what I wrote then. The gulf between my mindset then and now is too big to span.

There isn’t really a moral to this story (or a point, I hear you cry?) except this. Depression isn’t something that ever goes away. I still have it and I suspect I always will. The mental heart murmur or psychological diabetes is never cured, you just learn to manage it better. You may know someone who lives with depression. Chances are you do whether you know it or not because as I’ve said, the stigma means it takes a lot of guts to admit it and guts isn’t often what you have when you’re at the bottom of the pit. If you do know someone make sure you look out for them. If the colleague who usually jokes looks a bit absent one day make them a cup of tea. If the mum at toddler group is looking frazzled go chat to them. If the parent walking round the supermarket with a toddler clinging on looks like they’re going to burst into tears then give them a sympathetic smile when they knock oranges flying.
Support Mental Health charities, they do great work and don’t receive much funding.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going so shuffle off and start work on those revisions.

Casting the roles

Back long before I ever thought I’d get published I made a Facebook page for the book and amused myself by deciding who I would like to play the parts. For a bit of a distraction on a wet, gloomy Sunday afternoon here is the album. Hugh alternates between being Richard Armitage and Tom Ellis depending on my mood. Henry Cavill was always the bad guy though, I think it’s that stare that does it.

If you’ve read the book I’d be interested to see what you think of the choices. Who else did you have in mind when you read it? I’d love to hear!

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.394639830627070.93535.393660027391717&type=1