It’s great to be back at Manic Readers and, what’s more, to have exciting news.
First of all, though, let me introduce myself properly. I’m an Australian romance author who writes Regencies (as Beverley Eikli) and erotic Historicals (as Beveley Oakley) for a variety of publishers. I live in a pretty country town north of Melbourne and have been married for eighteen wonderful years to a really cool Norwegian pilot whom I met around a campfire in Botswana the night before I was due to fly home to marry my boyfriend of 8 years.
It’s therefore no surprise I became a romance writer since I’ve starred in my own very happy romance. Mind you, the life of a pilot’s wife isn’t always romantic and glamorous but the upside is the adventure. Before our first daughter, now 11, was born, we lived in Namibia, Botswana, Norway and Canada (while I worked as an airborne geophysical survey operator in French Guyana and Greenland and my husband piloted the plane).
Post children, we’ve lived in Perth (Western Australia), Solomon Islands, Adelaide (South Australia), Japan and now, finally – for the last 5 years – near Melbourne.
Writing was the one constant for me though it took me 23 years to get published after writing my first book at seventeen. I do feel a little embarrassed to admit, though, that there were a few good reasons that it took me so long to achieve my dreams of holding my first printed baby.
One of these was drowning the heroine on the last page of my historical romance. Also, my story was set in the Clare Valley in South Australia. You can see I hadn’t done my homework – though, really, what do you know at seventeen? Well, enough that you certainly don’t kill off your heroine in a romance and that my market research should have made it clear you have a hard time selling books that have unpopular settings.
So now we’re in the digital age and I feel like the pilot’s wife who’s already lived half a dozen consecutive life cycles has just metamorphosed into another alternative being. One who’s learning to harness the internet to make the most of the hard work that’s gone before.
You see, I’ve just got the rights back to my first three books which were originally published by my UK publisher, in hardcover and Large Print.
I am so excited about this and so I’ve started an experiment with Kindle, Smashwords and CreateSpace.
One month ago I uploaded to Amazon Kindle and Smashwords my first Regency Romance, Lady Sarah’s Redemption. After going through the proofs my original publisher had approved I found there was nothing to change, and assumed this would be the case with my two subsequent books. I also wanted to make Lady Sarah’s Redemption available through as many channels as possible.
My second book – Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly – is already available as an e-book on Amazon through my publisher, Robert Hale, so I could only make changes to it in paperback form. Once again, after going through it with a fine toothcomb, I ultimately made no changes and I used CreateSpace, which did a great job, for the paperback version. The postage of the books from the US to Australia was going to be the biggest factor when stocking up for my author talks (which I do in eighteenth century period costume) but I’m lucky. My husband flies to LA regularly and can pick up the books for me there.
A Little Deception – was nominated Favourite Historical Romance in 2011 by ARRA (Romance Readers of Australia) however I was never entirely happy with it. I’d had to cut 15,000 words from it just before it was published and tone down the sensuality. I’d found that my books were getting progressively more sensual but this didn’t fit my publisher’s guidelines. Many of the reviews I received for A Little Deception indicated dissatisfaction at having the bedroom door slammed in the reader’s face.
So, with my rights having reverted to me, what an opportunity to be able to update the original version!
For most of the book my hero and heroine are a married couple forced together through deception, and the plot focuses on the tug-of-war between reluctant desire and mistrust – engineered by malignant forces – before the villain is unmasked and the lovers can stumble towards the truth, and each other.
Within the next couple of days it’ll be uploaded to Amazon’s Kindle Select with a beautiful new cover and a very virile hero bursting off the page, clasping to his manly breast a heroine who is no longer overshadowed by her beautiful, scheming sister-in-law. (Well, actually, the cover itself is in lovely tones of blue with a beautiful and mysterious woman wearing a masquerade mask, but you get the idea.)
I think it’s quite cool that the original hard cover version will sit on my local library shelves beside its wickeder version. Same plot but different heat level.
Anyway, I thought I’d experiment with Kindle Select which means giving them 90-day exclusivity and see how sales compare with my self-published second version of Lady Sarah’s Redemption and my publisher e-release of Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly.
Having just attended my 12th consecutive Romance Writers of Australia conference on the Gold Coast my head is buzzing with the variety of options now available to writers. So much has changed in the publishing world and I’m excited to be an author in this changing landscape.
So, this is for those wanting a taste of A Little Deception.
A Little Deception Blurb:
A one-night charade to save the family sugar plantation wins loyal and determined Rose Chesterfield more than she bargained for – marriage to the deliciously notorious rake, Viscount Rampton. Her fears that she has unwittingly tricked him to the altar are swept away by happiness beyond her wildest dreams as she and Rampton discover a mutual desire neither had expected.
However, Rampton’s love for his wife soon turns to fears that her trickery goes beyond leg-shackling him for life as Rose is implicated in a series of high profile jewel heists.
Is the woman he’d come to trust nothing more than a fortune hunter with a penchant for money, men and mischief? Or are there sinister forces at work trying to tear the lovers apart?
The following scene takes place as Lord Rampton cynically contemplates Rose’s inevitable demands after the two of them have been discovered in a compromising situation in his bedchamber by Rose’s brother.
‘MISS CHESTERFIELD.’ Miss Chesterfield. The name should have provoked rage; instead, Rampton was dismayed by a surge of feeling that was so far from rage as to render him no better than a drooling schoolboy when confronted with the object of his adolescent obsession.
‘Show her in,’ he said, struggling for the self-possession that had always been second nature to him and tossing aside the reading matter which had failed to engage his attention for the past hour.
So, she had come to state her terms.
Having been caught well and truly in flagrante delicto, he accepted he had no one but himself to blame. Experience with women had tuned his antennae finely when it came to sensing all manner of ruses calculated to inveigle him into matrimony. But Lady Chesterfield – Miss Chesterfield, as it turned out – had slipped entirely under his guard.
Stonily he faced the door while he waited for her to enter, the events of the past week flashing through his mind. For twenty-four hours after she’d been hauled off by her brother, Rampton had paced his study like a caged lion, fuelling his anger with the multiple lies and untruths she’d fed him as he tried to relive exactly the moment at which he should have become aware of her deception. Any half-intelligent man would have sensed that not all was as it seemed at the very outset, he told himself.
Cynically, he had waited for Miss Chesterfield to call and negotiate the terms of his matrimonial incarceration. He had practised all manner of snide and ironic responses, while his anticipation at seeing her again had grown steadily more unbearable.
He wanted only to tell her what he thought of her.
So he assumed.
But she had not come, and that had been worse.
After three days he’d snapped. Arriving unannounced, he had confronted a pale and patently uncomfortable Sir Charles in his study and stonily dictated the terms of a marriage contract. He was a man of honour and he had compromised a lady. She was the clear victor in their final round; she had more than just pinked him. Now he must pay the price.
Rampton had been prepared for a rambling defence from Sir Charles of his sister’s behaviour. And, if Sir Charles were in a robust mood, perhaps a healthy lashing of recrimination for Rampton.
But when the young baronet said only that his sister did not wish to marry him Rampton was at last moved to anger.
‘Doing it too brown, sir!’ he declared. ‘She engineered that little scene so that I’d have no choice but to suffer her joy as she leg-shackled me on her triumphant progress towards the altar!’
Sir Charles, looking white around the gills, concurred miserably, ‘I know, I know. But she’s made me tell you, expressly, my lord, that she has no intention of holding you to marriage. That, in fact, she does not desire it.’
‘Does not desire it?’
He could not believe it. It was all part of the charade. There was a trick involved somewhere, though right now he could not see it.
Not want to marry him?
Why, every unmarried female participating in the social whirligig was there because she wanted to get married and most of them saw waltzing off with him as the ultimate feather in their caps.
Not want to marry him? When she’d gone to such pains to ensure him?
The very notion was preposterous.
He would not believe it.
Thank you for taking the time to drop by, Beverley. Isn’t it obvious that Homer just adores Beverley?