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I cannot believe that September is halfway over. We’ve had great weather this week—about 60 degrees and I love it. In my
neighborhood the trees are already starting to turn. It’s fun to see the colors turn, but with the number of hardwood trees in my yard, I hate raking them up. Fall is, however, my favorite season.

My husband and I have been working from home (together) since March—and no one has lost a limb or an eye. We have lost our tempers a couple of times; however, we managed to keep our tongues in check. That’s always smarter. He is fond of telling me that you cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube, and I try to keep that in mind.

I just referee’d a small dog fight under my desk. Shep is now
smaller than Gracie, but absolutely NOT willing to abdicate his ‘charge’ position. There’s at least a minor scrap each day. I was concerned, but our trainer says they are sorting it out. I constantly check to make sure that the fur isn’t flying too far—and I stop the fight. They are getting better. I can see the camaraderie already forming.

My daughter and her husband and the kids kept our pool busy this year. It will be sad when we have the cover placed on it. But with the dogs and the grandkids, we no longer leave it uncovered during the fall and winter. This is Shep and Gracie playing with the balls. (We went through a dozen of them! ) Shep, in particular, lives to play ball and does a great job of keeping the ball going. They are such fun pups.

On a personal side, all my work (writing) for these  past months is starting to release. ‘Lyon’s Prey’ went on preorder September 16 and will be released on October 14. I’ll include a taste of  that further along in my newsletter.

And keep an eye out for ‘O Night Divine!’ It’s a collection of 23 authors’ Christmas stories and releases the beginning of December. It is  sure to please the most discriminating Christmas readers. 

‘The Duke’s Golden Rings’ is part of a twelve-book anthology written around the twelve days of Christmas. It releases December 5. 

Speaking of the holiday- I’ve already started buying Christmas presents. ( I haven’t wrapped them, yet.) Can you believe I’m talking about Christmas? I’m going to stop that. It’s the books that got me started. Sorry!

I haven’t forgotten Halloween


and Thanksgiving, though. Halloween is my second favorite season. I’ll decorate inside and out for that. This is my Halloween tree. I’ll start decorating next week. (This was last year’s Halloween tree!) 

I’ve probably been rambling long enough. Please stay safe! I’ll be in touch!


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December 1815

Epsom, Surrey, England

What is taking the miserable doctor so long? Evan Prescott, the fifth Earl of Clarendon, poured another measure of brandy and took a long sip. The heartbreaking screaming coming from upstairs had gone on for hours. Rogue tears slid down his face as he stared at the open door to his study, and he brushed them aside. He wanted it to be over for her.

Evan had sent for her family and his, but the weather was making it difficult for anyone to get there. He only hoped the doctor would make it soon. The frosted glass of the large windows drew him, conflicting with the warmth of the room and the brandy. He rubbed some frost away with the side of the hand holding the brandy to peer outside. The pristine beauty of the snow and full moon offered a sharp contrast to the terror he felt inside. Heavy snow covered everything, leaving an almost fairy tale quality to the grounds glimmering beneath the moonlight. It had been snowing all day and showed no signs of letting up.

A throat cleared behind him, and he turned to see his butler, Bernard, standing near him.

“My lord, the doctor has arrived. His carriage got stuck in a snowdrift, and he had to leave it and walk the rest of the way. He is about the size of your father, so I ordered some dry clothes for him. Do you wish to speak with him before he goes upstairs?”

“Thank God! Thank you for getting him some warm clothes. My needs are all upstairs. Please send him to my wife at once.”

A piercing scream rent the air, causing both men to jump.

“Immediately, please. She needs him now.”

“Right away, my lord.” The older man scrambled to move quickly but knew only one speed.

Unable to control his growing frustration, Evan walked to the door and stuck his head into the hall. “Good God, man. Hurry.” He immediately regretted his action, even though the sound of footsteps almost running away from his door felt more satisfying. Taking a deep breath, he walked to the fireplace and leaned against it, staring as the flames licked wood and ricocheted off the back of the chimney and into the night sky. Evan pressed the now warm glass of brandy to his forehead to dispatch a pounding headache, feeling a weakness he had never known before.

“God, please pull her through this,” he said aloud to himself. While he was not deeply religious, Amelia was. “I promise to be a better man; please do not take my wife away.” He swiped at the tears that ran down his face.

Thoughts flooded his mind. Amelia had pronounced the house ready for Christmastide, having been on her feet against his wishes, supervising the footmen and maids as they assembled boughs throughout the house. “It is snowing, and you know how I love it. Will you take me on a sleigh ride?” Amelia had pleaded. She wanted fresh air, tired from the bedrest of the past four months. They even joked about how they may not get another sleigh ride like this for a while after the baby came.

Rather than disappoint her, he ordered the sleigh and horses brought around, and the two took a ride into the village and purchased trinkets for the baby.

His wife wanted a little boy that looked like him, with dark brown hair and brown eyes. Evan wanted a girl, one that had rosy cheeks, blue eyes, and curly blonde hair like her mother. A son could come later, if that was what happened. He could cherish a house full of girls that all resembled their mother. His own mother was pushing for a son to carry on the family name, constantly reminding him of their duty to produce an heir. Amelia would gently respond that she would do her best. His wife understood his mother, something he struggled to comprehend, yet was always grateful for.

Memories clawed at him. The two of them had had the road to themselves that afternoon, laughing and kissing as they rode with the snow swirling around them. The clop-clop of the horses’ hooves rhythmically hitting the earth created a romantic, memorable moment.

“This is the most wonderful day, Evan,” Amelia enthused, snuggling closer under the blanket. “Tell me again that you will be all right if this turns out to be a girl instead of a boy.”

Evan lightly touched her pert red nose with his forefinger. “Yes, darling. I love this child, whatever it may be. I mean that.” He kissed her nose, basking in her smile.

They spent the afternoon discussing names again, cuddling together under the thick cover as the driver took them on roads, some with perfectly shaped canopies covered in fluffy snow crystals. It had been a day full of beauty and only the hundredth time they had discussed names in a fortnight. They both liked the name Jason, after his father. However, she liked Edward, saying it was a potent name, and as his second name, it was her favored choice. They decided if it was a girl, the baby would take Amelia’s mother’s name. By the time they returned, he realized that they had still made no decision on the boy’s name, but it mattered not. They would meet the babe first.

Stark quiet invaded his thoughts. How long has Dr. Pembroke been up there? It is too quiet. Unable to wait another minute, Evan threw his drink into the fire and hurried from his office, taking the steps two at a time, praying. The thirsty wail of a baby caused him to stop and look up. There are no voices. He reached his wife’s room in a trice and flung open the door.

Amelia’s lifeless body lay on sheets still pooled with blood.

“My lord, she . . .” Her maid’s tear-stained face saw him approaching, and she hurried away from the body to stand near the wall.

“No!” he howled, moving Amelia’s hands to his shoulders and pulling her up to him as he cried into her damp blonde hair.

Dr. Pembroke put a hand on his shoulder, and he pushed it away. There was no comfort. He could have no life without Amelia.

A weak cry sounded behind him, and he tried to turn from Amelia to see the baby.

“My lord, you have a son,” the midwife whispered brokenly, offering the small child to him.

Swiping at his face, he looked down at the bundle of wrinkled pink skin. Carefully laying his wife back down, he reached for the baby. Blue eyes framed by tiny wisps of blond hair looked into his face, and a small hand grabbed his finger and held on.

“Edward. You are Edward.” He smoothed back the baby’s hair as the door opened.

His sister had arrived. Through swollen eyes, he watched her glance first at Amelia, then at Edward before rushing to his side.

“She is gone. My Amelia is gone,” he cried hoarsely, thrusting the baby into her arms. “I need air,” he croaked, looking down once more at the bed and noticing the rattle and cloth doll he and Amelia had purchased just that day. “Please understand.” I am broken.


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TIDBITS of Historical stuff

British Army – Leadership Based on A Purchase System

In today’s world, a man or woman holding a position of rank within the military has earned that rank through hard work, or a combination of hard work and education. That was not always the case in Britain, where commissions and promotions through the level of lieutenant colonel could be purchased, creating an officer corps based on social class.

Starting in 1683 and lasting until 1871, a young man of sixteen years with enough wealth could purchase an officer position in the cavalry, infantry, or the guard regiments, as long as they could read and write, and were nominated by an officer. Because of its basis in wealth and influence, the majority of leadership promotions and commissions were gained by the entitled upper crust of society. An officer of major (or above) from the chosen regiment had to nominate the young man for promotion. If approved, they placed their name on a list until the desired position became available.

Openings generally occurred two ways—death vacated the position while in service or through retirement, whereby the officer sold their commissions. Commissions purchased from retiring military were paid directly to the person selling their position; those previously held by men that had died while in service were paid to the Crown. Officers that achieved rank above the Lieutenant Colonel could not sell their commissions. Soldiers had to earn those positions. Should these senior officers want to leave the military, there was no way to recoup any part of the initial purchase.

Most officers promoted or commissioned under this system were deemed competent professionals. War seemed to maintain the credibility of leadership, with consistent turnover because of casualties. The relative peace that existed during the years between the Napoleonic wars and the Crimean wars gave rise to large-scale abuses within the system.

No requirement to test the competence of these officers existed until 1849, when the House of Guards required officers to pass an exam, and in 1850, when certain promotions within the ranks required passing a written test. However, these were not enough. The failures of competent leadership throughout the system became clear during the Crimean war, where mistakes caused severe loses in lives that far outweighed any military gains. An example was the Charge of the Light Brigade, where communications broke down and they sent a light infantry (whose assignment was to prevent Russians from removing captured guns) into a frontal assault with a full artillery battery .

The British military finally eliminated the Purchase System in 1871 for good, as part of the Cardwell Reforms, changing the basis of becoming an officer in the British military.


Kristine Hughes, The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England, 1998, Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio

New Releases and Pre-orders
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Love at first sight.
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Regency splendor.

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Every moment they had together, knowing how swiftly it could be taken away.
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He's unlike the stuffy gentleman she recalls from her youth, but either way--lordly prig or dissipated rascal--she wants nothing to do with him.

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COMING 10/14/2020!

Haunted by his wife’s death, he vowed to never marry again...until he meets her!

Prescott, the fifth Earl of Clarendon lost his wife during the birth of their child. Broken, Evan seeks solace in the Lyon’s Den, a world of drink, cards, and excess—where wins and losses are easier to navigate than responsibilities. Overconfident and in his cups, he makes a bet that will change his life.

Still mourning the loss of her father and elder brother…

Lady  Charlotte Grisham saves her young brother from the path of a speeding carriage. In a fit of pique, she throws propriety to the wind and storms  up the steps of the owner’s London townhouse—and meets the man that upends her world.

The stars align when his high stakes bet and 
her lapse in judgement give the Black Widow of Whitehall the perfect opportunity to spin her web of hearts, while untold danger lurks a step behind.

Can a marriage of convenience give rise to love in time to avoid deadly disaster?

COMING 10/20/2020!

Christmastide has never been more wicked. 

Join the Wicked Earls' Club as they celebrate the holidays in a most debacherous fashion and manage to find true love along the way... 

Earl of Dryden by Tammy Andresen
Earl of Kent 
by Lauren Smith

Earl of Kinross 
by Meara Platt

Earl of Bergen 
by Anna St. Claire

Earl of Charm
by Maggie Dallen

Earl of Woodcliffe
by Aileen Fish

Earl of Oakhurst
by Madeline Martin

Earl of Darby
by Aubrey Wynne

Earl of Scarborough
by Collette Cameron

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COMING 11/3/2020!

Have a Roguish goodnight with nine must-read holiday tales by USA Today and Bestselling Authors"

Lynn Winchester

Dawn Brower

Christina McKnight

Nadine Millard

Amanda Mariel

Katherine Bone

Anna St. Claire

Aileen Fish

Three Ways To Get Travel Discounts

Enjoy this stunning holiday collection from some of your favorite Dragonblade Publishing authors in this collection of never-before published seasonal tales!

This collection includes:
Kathryn Le Veque, Caroline Lee, Chasity Bowlin, Collette Cameron, Hildie McQueen, Maggi Andersen, Mary Lancaster, Meara Platt, Violetta Rand, Alexa Aston, Anna Markland, Anna St. Claire, Aubrey Wynne, Charlotte Wren, Elizabeth Ellen Carter, Elizabeth Johns, Elizabeth Keysian,Emily E  K Murdoch, Emily Royal, Gabrielle Carr, Lynne Connolly, Maeve Greyson, and Whitney Blake.

From Dragonblade to you, we wish you a very happy holiday season!

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COMING 12/5/2020!

Lady Evie Roberts’ heart has desired one man as long as she could remember—Adam Hunter. They grew up alongside each other, frequently spending time with each other's families, a wonderful fortune enabled by their parents’ close friendship. Having never openly acknowledged her interest in him, Evie says nothing when her best friend declares her interest in Adam and becomes engaged. However, when her friend tragically dies, Evie finds herself embroiled in a mystery surrounding
her friend’s death and torn over her own heart’s undeniable affection for Adam.

Lord Adam Hunter survives Waterloo only to return home
to find himself jilted by the woman he had professed to love. Her death points to the man she married and he challenges him to a duel. The man dies in the duel, but not before scarring Adam’s face for life and leaving him questioning any woman’s interest in him. When Adam's father dies unexpectedly, Evie Roberts, a family friend, shows up at the funeral and he notices her for the first time.

Can Evie and Adam find love or will ghosts from the past stop them?

COMING 2/16/2021!

Colin, Earl of Shefford visits a building he won, having determined its address to be an excellent location for a new club. Discovering not only a fully functioning orphanage but a beautiful headmistress, who refuses his offer of an alternative establishment, he suffers a pique of temper. Irritated by her immunity to his charms, he foolishly succumbs to his intense attraction and brashly offers her a choice. Either she must accept him in a marriage of convenience or provide proof that the orphanage has value to him.

Impoverished and needing to restore her fortunes, Miss Honoria Mason despises the members of the ton for their extravagance and blames them for her family’s loss of home and fortune. Nora's life takes a turn when the handsome Lord Shefford
becomes the orphanage's landlord. Either she proves the orphanage’s worth to him in two weeks or becomes his convenient bride in order that he may produce an heir. She refuses to lose the orphanage she has worked so hard to preserve and so accepts his offer to marry.

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Pre-Order Here
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Congraultations Marsha (! You were the winner of last month's contest.My assistant will be emailing you for your choice of a book from my backlist.


Win an ebook of your choice from my backlist.

  • Respond to with September NEWSLETTER CONTEST in subject line.
  • Q: In The Duke's Goldens, how does Adam's face become scarred? Hint: Answer in the newsletter.

Winner’s name will be drawn from correct answers and announced in the next newsletter.

We are celebrating the launch of our Christmas historical romance boxset! Warm up the mulled wine and deck the halls, because we have paperbacks, ebooks, giftcards, and audiobooks for one lucky winner!

Enter Here


The Saucy Scribes and their Reading Rake

The Twelve Days of Christmas

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Anna St. Claire, Author

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