Friday, July 31, 2015

The Joy of Romance (With a Dash of Nostalgia!)

-->First of all, let me just say THANK YOU to Lorelei of Lorelei's Lit Lair for recommending me during Read a Romance Month. I'm so honored! To read Lorelei's orgininal post, click HERE. Also, I have a new website! Please feel free to stop by for more about books, packing, bucket lists, and more :)

Isn’t it funny how a smell, a taste, or a sound can define an era, a year, or even a moment in time? There is an elusive scent out there, one that I catch only once in a blue moon, but the moment I do, I am instantly transported to the magnificent library in the city where I went to college, Columbia, South Carolina. It’s the smell of thousands upon thousands of books, warmed by the heat of the southern sun through the glorious expanse of glass walls that so minimally defined the space. It’s flavored with a hint of the exotic—towering tropical trees grew freely in the bright space—and the subtle undertones of earthy stone and airy sky.

It was a library that lived like an art gallery . . . but then again, wasn’t that what it was? A pulpit for the art of imagination, a showcase for the mastery of story-telling that had been honed through the centuries of civilization? All that knowledge, all that adventure, all that delicious romance—a million books that seemed to encompass the entire universe and tackle every aspect of man in every possible time somehow fit neatly on a single city block. Each page, each book, each carefully designed cover was truly the culmination of so many authors hopes and dreams made tangible for us, the eager reader to devour.
And eager I was. Every Friday, I would slide into my ancient silver Volvo, turn the key and hope the beast would roar to life, ready to carry me to my favorite of all destinations. I had only spare change to my name back then, and I would happily cough up my precious nickels and dimes for the parking meter, buying me minutes and hours to soak up the row upon row of romance novels, surely the largest selection in the world.

This is where my love of historical romance began. No longer stuck with the underwhelming selection of my tiny hometown library, I discovered westerns first. The vivid works of authors like Lorraine Heath, Elizabeth Lowell, and Linda Lael Miller drew me deep into a whole new world, a different era where life was slower, and richer, and the untamed frontier stretched before us like an unpainted canvas. This is when I first discovered that simple words on a page could roar to life so fully, that nothing so trivial as sleep could keep me from finishing the book.

And then, one day, I picked up my first Regency historical novel. Oh, how my world changed that day. The dashing heroes, the plucky heroines, the dresses and manor houses and deliciously witty banter—all of it came together in a perfect storm of awesomeness that captured my heart like nothing else. I devoured Julia Quinn, Susanne Enoch, Lisa Kleypas, and so many more, happily losing myself in the crowded balls of London and sprawling green hills of the countryside. My days were filled with calculus classes, and physics exams, and oh-so-tedious organic chemistry homework, but my nights—oh, my nights, my friends, were for stolen glances, first kisses, and that perfect sigh of true love. If there is a greater joy out there, I haven’t yet found it.

It’s been over a decade since those days, and in those rare moments when I’m once again reminded of that scent, I can’t help but smile at the memory of the perfection of the hours lost in the world of possibilities. A building of stone, glass, and steel, holding all the secrets of the universe, giving life to the magic of imagination, and planting the seed of dreams yet to come.

Though I haven’t yet, it is so very tempting to take the 5-hour road trip back to the Richland County library, traveling 300 miles by distance and over a decade back in time to walk those hallowed aisles once more and see my own books on the shelves. I want to smell that perfect scent, and know that I am now a part of it in a way I would have never dreamed of all those years ago. I’d like to think that my books could be bringing that same joy to a college student that I experienced back then.

I think of that girl, who scrounged beneath the tattered blue seats of her car for an extra nickel so that she could have another ten minutes to wander those familiar aisles, sliding her fingers along the covers as she looked for her next adventure. What would she think if she knew her own book would someday be nestled among those authors she most loved and admired?

Once upon a time, my world was expanded a thousand times over thanks to the discovery of a library that valued romance novels. It makes me so happy—and a little teary—to think I can now give back in my own small, yet tremendously tangible way. Where once tiny seeds were planted, now the fruits of my dreams live. And that, dear friends, is the best happily ever after of all.
Five Question Time!  
1 - Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 
        When I was accepted into the college of my choice. I always wanted to fly the nest in grand fashion, and going to a school 8 hours away in an entirely new state was the most exciting prospect I could possibly imagine at that time :)
2 - Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.
        I rather think I just did ;) The Richland County Library was a true happy place! Other than that, Rough River in KY where Mr. Knightley and I fell in love the summer before our senior year of high school.

3 - Tell us about a sound that brings you joy (or a memory attached to sound — music, laughter, wind chimes… ?)
        The garage door opener. It means Mr. Knightley is home! 

4 - What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?
         I must have read How To Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn ten times over the years. As a person who rarely ever rereads, that's saying a lot! It just made my heart flutter every time :)

5 - And for fun, the joy of choice ;o) ~
         Summer. Almost all my favorite memories take place during the long, hot days of summer :)

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) - trying for a little diversity! ;o)
          Chris Pratt, because of his humor, his handsomeness, and his dedication to his wife and family.
Historical romance author Kelly Bowen and contemporary romance author Sonali Dev. Both are fairly new authors who are sure to delight :)
Despite being an avid reader and closet writer her whole life, Erin Knightley decided to pursue a sensible career in science.  It was only after earning her B.S. and working in the field for years that she realized doing the sensible thing wasn't any fun at all.  Following her dreams, Erin left her practical side behind and now spends her days writing. An award winning and USA Today Bestselling author, she is living her own Happily Ever After in North Carolina with her tall, dark, and handsome husband and their three spoiled mutts.  
Newest release: The Duke Can Go To the Devil
An Amazon and Goodreads best book of the month!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Giveaways Galore!

The Earl I Adore is about to hit shelves! To celebrate, I'm participating in two awesome giveaways :-) Best part? If you've pre-ordered my book and you win it in one of these giveaways, I'll give you the choice to take an Amazon GC for the purchase price, instead. It's a win/win! 

Now available for pre-order:
Amazon  |  AmazonUK  |  iTunes  |  Barnes&Noble  |  Kobo 

January 1-4

The Secret Curtsey Society is ringing in the New Year with a five book giveaway! To enter to win one, like and comment on the following posts: 

January 2-5

Theresa Romain, Shana Galen, and I have teamed up to celebrate our shared Jan 6th release date. With 3 amazing prize packs and one away grand prize, you won't want to miss out! Entering is easy - just check out the raflecopter form below:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Something Wicked this Way Comes...


Big News! I'm so excited to announce that my novella, Ruined by a Rake, will be part of a fantastic box set featuring seven novellas for only 99 cents. I promise, you don't want to miss out on this limited edition set!

Available September 16th, but pre-order now at:  

Seven bestselling historical romance authors offer seven sexy stories featuring dukes, lords, rakes, scoundrels…and the unforgettable heroines who bring them to their knees. These stories range in length from long novellas to delectable little bites.
This limited edition boxed set contains over 170,000 words, and the individual stories have over 200 5-star reviews in total.

  • Unlocked, by New York Times bestselling author Courtney Milan
    Elaine Warren has resigned herself to life as a spinster and a wallflower, but when Evan Carlton, the Earl of Westfeld, returns after a long absence, she’s afraid that he plans to torment her as he did before. This time, though, she vows to show him that wallflowers can fight back…
  • When I Met my Duchess, by USA Today bestselling author Caroline Linden
    Everyone expects the Duke of Wessex’s wedding to be the society event of the Season. But when the duke meets his future bride’s sister, he realizes he’s about to marry the wrong woman…and his wedding is about to become the scandal of the year.
  • How to Catch a Wild Viscount, by New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare (originally published as Legend of the Werestag)
    Luke Trenton, Viscount Merritt, returned from battle a changed man, but Cecily Hale won’t be pushed away. She has only a few moonlit nights to reach the real Luke…the wounded heart she knows still beats inside the war-ravaged body…or she could lose him to the darkness forever.
  • One Starlit Night, by award-winning author Carolyn Jewel
    Ten years away from Doyle’s Grange isn’t long enough for Viscount Northword to forget Portia Temple or their passionate adolescent affair. Portia, however, is about to marry another man…and Northword cannot help but interfere, with his words, his body, and the truths of his heart.
  • Claiming the Duchess, by two-time RITA® winner Sherry Thomas
    Clarissa, the widowed Duchess of Lexington, has two great loves: the reticent and reclusive Mr. James Kingston and her faithful correspondent Miss Julia Kirkland, whom Clarissa has never met. Now both Mr. Kingston and Miss Kirkland are due to arrive at Clarissa’s house—and Clarissa is about to find out that neither is as she has been led to believe…
  • The Misbehaving Marquess, by award-winning author Leigh LaValle
    Having awaited the return of her husband for half a decade, Catherine Raybourne, the Marchioness of Foster, has no intention of reconciling with her misbehaving marquess. But when he insists he needs an heir—immediately—she must confront her own lingering desires. Can she protect her heart while attempting to win his once again?
  • Ruined by a Rake, by award-winning author Erin Knightley
    Eleanor Abbington has always had a contentious and competitive relationship with Nicolas Norton. But when her uncle orders her to marry the man of his choosing, her old adversary becomes her only ally, and she may very well find herself…ruined by a rake.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's Read-a-Romance Month!

-->First of all, let me say thank you to Bobbi Dumas, Lorraine Heath, and Katharine Ashe for including me in this wonderful event. It's a pleasure to join in the fun! 

My name is Erin Knightley, and I peddle happily ever afters :)

I’ll never forget the time back in seventh grade, when five fellow students and I were clustered around one of the round tables in the lunchroom shortly after we had turned in our book reports on The Outsiders. With elbows resting on the dingy white melamine tabletop, we discussed the book, which was the most grown-up novel we’d ever been compelled to read. Several liked the book, thinking it gritty and heart wrenching. Others couldn’t have cared less—they didn’t like reading or books, and never would. I was the only one at the table who vehemently disliked the book. Why?
Because I wanted a happy ending.
I argued with the other kids at length: Yes it was compelling, yes it was an interesting story, but if I walked away feeling worse than when I started it, why would I want to read it?  Even at that age, I knew what was important to me. There was enough bad stuff in the world. Why would I want to read about more bad stuff? I read to escape and experience different times and places, but most of all, I read for enjoyment. I read to feel better about life, and love, and all the possibilities for finding joy and excitement. A book could lead me on a merry chase, making me cry even, but at the end, I wanted a big, goofy smile that would stay in place for days. Was that too much to ask?
So, is it any wonder I turned to romance? Is it any wonder that I was willing to lose myself in an emotional book that might bring me to the highest highs and the lowest low, but that I could absolutely count on to leave me hopeful and happy? To me, there is no greater thing on earth than love. I choose to read books that celebrate that, that show the struggles and triumphs, the compromises, the passion, and all those emotions humans have experienced throughout history. I’m happy to lift up the most positive thing of all in a world full of negatives.
From time to time, I do branch out and read literature and mainstream fiction, and yes, I do enjoy them. But I always find my way back home to romance. And it is my promise to you, dear readers, that when you read my books, you can always rely on that wonderful, elusive thing: a happily ever after :)

 Now - onto the 3 Questions past of the blog!

1 - Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did. 
            When I was 19, I went to live in Russia for the summer, working on an international drilling project in Siberia. I was with 2 other American students, but other than that, we were completely on our own.  Talk about a culture shock! It was a life changing experience for me to see how another culture literally halfway across the world lived, loved, worked, and played. Remarkably, I came away with the realization that no matter how different we may look or sound, deep down we are all the same  :-)

2 - Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)
Me when I got The Call :)
I’ve always loved to write—won the Young Authors competition in 4th grade, in fact!—but it was something I had set aside when I graduated college and entered Real Life. For the next six years, I worked diligently during the day and read voraciously every night. At one point, my work started to get overwhelmingly stressful, and I decided to escape with writing again. I was rusty at first, but before long, I found myself with a completed novel! Believe it or not, I actually sold that book. MORE THAN A STRANGER came out in June 2012, and it’s been a wild, wonderful ride ever since.
I am currently writing my sixth book (tenth book if you include novellas!), which is the third in my Prelude to a Kiss series set at a music festival in Bath.

3 - Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)
This may sound corny, but it was actually the Serendipity children’s book series that was mailed to my house once a month when I was around four or five. I was the youngest of three kids, and one-on-one time with my parents was highly coveted. Every month when the newest book arrived, my mom would cuddle up with me in my parents’ big bed and read the newest adventure. The pictures were vivid, the stories compelling, and my mom’s attempts at voices predictably laughable. It was a precious escape for me, and led me to cherish those books and the special time they afforded with my mother.

Thanks so much for joining me today! If you’d like to try one of my books for free, you’re in luck! For a limited time, I’m offering RUINED BY A RAKE, the first in the All’s Fair in Love novella series, free! To download, simply follow the link for you format of choice:

Recommendation: Looking for someone new to love?  I’d love to recommend Heather Snow, who has Regency smarty-pants heroines down to an art, and Catherine Gayle, who writes hockey romance that require a minimum of a handful of tissues to read J I hope you’ll enjoy these ladies’ books as much as I do!
Despite being an avid reader and closet writer her whole life, Erin Knightley decided to pursue a sensible career in science.  It was only after earning her B.S. and working in the field for years that she realized doing the sensible thing wasn't any fun at all.  Following her dreams, Erin left her practical side behind and now spends her days writing. Together with her tall, dark, and handsome husband and their three spoiled mutts, she is living her own Happily Ever After in North Carolina.
Webpage   |   Facebook   |   Twitter

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Long Time, No Blog!

Soooooo...I've been a bit remiss in blogging lately. Okay - I've been a LOT remiss. But I have good reason! Lots of things have been happening in my world :)  So, here's the catchup since the last one:

Not one, but TWO new releases!

The Baron Next Door

This book is the first in the new Prelude to a Kiss series, set at a summer music festival in Bath. Not only does it feature the unlikely love story of talented pianoforte-player Charity and her curmudgeony next door neighbor, the handsome but scarred Hugh Danby, Baron Cadgwith, but you'll also meet Charity's fellow trio musicians, her wise and wonderful grandmother, Hugh's irrepressible brother-in-law, and a whole cast of characters who are all gathered for the festival (and for the other two books!). 

This book is my favorite yet, and I hope you love it as much as I do. For a look at the first chapter, click HERE.

Available Now Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
Books-A-Million | iTunes


 Deceived by a Duke:  
An All's Fair in Love Novella

Set in the gorgeous Spanish city of Seville, the 3rd All's Fair in Love novella features a duke in disguise and the milt-lingual English miss who comes to his rescue.

This is the perfect read for a day at the beach or pool, or even just curled up on the deck with a drink in hand :)

Available Now - only $0.99!
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords  |  iTunes 

What else is new? Well, I signed a contract for 2 more books with Penguin (that will be Book 6, THE DUKE CAN GO TO THE DEVIL, and an untitled Book 7). I also revealed the cover for THE EARL I ADORE, the second book in the Prelude to a Kiss series that will come out in Jan 2015

And then there are my international covers! These two are for the UK versions from Piatkus books:

And here is the cover for MORE THAN A STRANGER from Japan!

OOOOOOkaaay. I think that's everything for now! Thanks so much for stopping by, and stay tuned for more fun news in the future (in a more timely manner - I promise!)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday. To me, it all goes back to my childhood, when my parents, brother, sister, and I would pile into the car and make the five hour journey up north to the Indiana suburbs of Chicago, where my mother was from. Cleverly enough, we usually traveled on Thanksgiving morning, avoiding most of the holiday traffic and arriving just in time to catch the first whiffs of the roasting turkey.

Thanksgiving was always hosted at my Uncle Mickey and Aunt Bev’s house, a tidy little tri-level in a tidy little neighborhood about half an hour’s drive from my grandparents’ house. Sometimes the yard would be clogged with snow, sometimes with the last of the autumn leaves. The air was invariably crisp and cool outside while the hot ovens and busy guests heated the inside to just this side of toasty.

The first Thanksgiving turkey I ever made
The buzz of conversation filled nearly every room of that house, but it was the basement that held the most laughter. There, we many cousins, the youngest generation of two families brought together but once a year on this day, would gather on the brown shag carpet, teasing and joking and playing board games. The old Clue game would come out, as would the decks of cards and cups of dice, and there we would play like the warriors we were, shrieking with laughter and accusing each other of cheating.

I remember the TV being tuned to football, coolers stocked with the soft drinks my mom never let us have at home, and the smell of pumpkin pie promising deliciousness, even though I never actually liked it. I loved the jello molds and cranberry dessert, the green bean casserole and the mounds upon mounds of mash potatoes topped with melted butter. There was the stuffing that I avoided, and the rolls that I binged on. There was real butter and homemade whipped cream, sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows and a turkey so big, it always managed to be more than enough for the crowd of relatives who squeezed into the long line of tables filling the living and dining rooms.

After grace, we’d all say something we were thankful for before, at long last, diving into the glorious feast. We fed our mouths, our hearts, our souls, and our spirit there at the Thanksgiving table. We caught up with each other’s lives and reminisced about old times. We looked forward to the future as we gave thanks for the present. By the end of the day, we would all be full to bursting, lounging on every available sofa and chair with sated smiles and droopy eyelids. The food would be put away, the daylight long faded to black, and before long we would pile into our frosty cars, once again heading away to our own lives, already looking forward to the next year when we could do it all over again.
Last year's Thanksgiving with Catherine Gayle :-)

It’s been many years since I’ve been to Chicago for Thanksgiving, but the memories will always burn bright this time of year. This holiday is sacred, reserved for nothing more than family, friends, food, and thanksgiving. In all my years, I’ve never bought a single Thanksgiving decoration, or done anything else to dilute the simple pleasure of the day. For as long as I live, I’ll never disrespect the day by bypassing it for Christmas. Others can wait in line for a well-priced TV or half-priced jeans, but this Thanksgiving I’ll be doing what I always have: enjoying a day at home with those I love, focusing on the things that really matter in life.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone – may your day be filled with all the best things on this, the beautifully uncommercial holiday :)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Because I love you - Epilogue for Ruined by a Rake!

Okay, okay—so I heard from some of you that you wanted a little more for Eleanor and Nick's happily ever after in Ruined by a Rake. Initially, I didn't have one because I knew we'd be seeing more in the second book. Indeed, Scandalized by a Scoundrel (out by Nov 15th!) is actually set during Eleanor and Nick's wedding.

HOWEVER, I never want to leave my readers hanging, so here now is the newly added epilogue from Ruined by a Rake:


Just what do you think you are doing?”

Eleanor froze mid-lunge, her foil extended straight out in front of her. Blast, she was caught. The babbling brook that had so enchanted her when they purchased their small estate had apparently masked the sounds of her husband’s approach. Biting her lip, she straightened and turned to face the music. Nick stood behind her, partially shrouded in the heavy sheet of early morning fog, his arms crossed and his brow raised expectantly.

 She offered a bright smile, all innocence. “Morning constitutional?”

He let his hands fall to his hips, giving her a very nice view of his chest through the partially-buttoned, generously-cut white shirt. “Uh huh.” He started forward, closing the distance between them with four easy strides. “You, madam, know full well you are not to be out here like this.”

Even as he pinned her with his sternest expression, his lips still curled with a hint of that delicious smile of his. Her heart gave a little flip. Almost a year of marriage, and he still could take her breath away.

He stopped an arm’s length away and held out his hand. “Your weapon?”

Scrunching her nose, she tucked the foil into the crook of her elbow. “Don’t be silly, Nicolas. There’s nothing wrong with a little exercise. In fact, I think it’s good.”

He flapped his hand open and closed in the universal sign for hand it over. “The doctor said no strenuous activities.”

“Oh really,” she said, lifting an imperious brow. “If I recall correctly, you were quite enthusiastic about our strenuous activities last night.”

Nick gave a bark of laughter and shook his head. “Oh, sure—use that against me.” Chuckling, he slipped a hand over her shoulder and tugged her in for a kiss, foil and all. She sighed happily, readily leaning into his embrace.

When he pulled back, he placed a tender hand to her middle. The warmth of his bare fingers seeping through the fabric of her fencing shirt was nothing compared to the warmth of his gaze. “I know it’s very early yet, but put a poor soldier’s mind at ease, and do please stick to walking for your constitutionals.”

 She loved when he looked at her like that, as though she were the most precious treasure in the world. Because of that look, she had taken the biggest risk of her life—throwing years of caution to the wind in order to be with him—and it had paid off beyond her wildest dreams. A husband who loved, respected, and cherished her, a much longed for baby on the way, and all the family members who really mattered—Aunt Margaret, Libby, and William—by their sides, refusing to be intimidated by Uncle Robert’s wrath.

She was happier than she’d ever been in her life, and she had one person to thank for it.

Covering his hand with her own, she sighed and nodded. “Fine, fine. Have it your way. But I warn you—I shall hold you accountable for keeping me entertained for the next seven or so months.”

His smile was slow and devilish and full of promise. “Deal.”

In one smooth move, he divested her of the foil and lifted her into his arms, making her laugh out loud. “Nicholas!” she gasped, clinging to his neck as he started back for the house.

“What?” he said mildly, not the least bit winded as he navigated the rocky uphill path. “I take my promises very seriously. If it is entertainment you want, it is entertainment you shall have.”

Grinning, Eleanor settled into his arms, relishing the familiar smell of his skin and the feel of his muscled arms around her. There was no other place on earth she’d rather be. “Thank you,” she whispered, the simple words filled with a wealth of emotion.

He slowed and tilted his head so he could meet her gaze. “Whatever for?”

“For making me the happiest person in all of England.”

His arms tightened around her as he brushed a soft kiss against her lips. “My dear Ellie,” he said, his voice slightly gruff. “I’m merely returning the favor.”

SO, that's it for now! I hope you enjoyed this little extra, written with love just for you. And don't miss Scandalized by a Scoundrel, coming November 15th, for Amelia and Gabriel's story.