The random—and not so random—musings of a quirky Regency romance writer.
No one with that many people in her head can possibly be normal...

Monday, December 31, 2012

Goals for 2012 UPDATE

I just read my first post of 2012, the one where I outlined the writing goals I'd set for myself. Well, here are the results. 

There's bad news. I only accomplished three of my eleven writing goals. Three is so much better than none, or one, or two, though, so I'll take it! 

Heartless was on the agenda for 2012. I managed to get that done, even though it wasn't until November that I finally got it submitted. It's now [again] my bestseller. 

My Lady Coward got her HEA and the compiled short stories were submitted and published by TreasureLine Publishing. It's now my second bestseller, even though all the shorts are still free for online reading (with a little site-hopping). 

The biggest [and hardest for me] goal that I accomplished was SELL MORE BOOKS. This goal was achieved beyond my wildest dreams. The only reason it happened was due to all the lovely book lovers out there who decided to take a chance on one or more of my books.

Just to give you an idea of the upsurge, in October 2012, my Kindle sales totaled 23 books. That's for six (6) titles, worldwide. The combined sales of my titles from all the other eBook retailers was even less. Sad, right? 

Then Heartless came out in early November and I enrolled it in KDP Select. I sold a few dozen copies of Heartless and a handful of my other titles before making Heartless free for two days near the end of the month. After that, sales spiked. Over 14,000 copies of Heartless were downloaded worldwide during the two free days and my November sales totaled 191 books (7 titles) worldwide. Quite a difference. 

My December sales have been through the roof and I couldn't be more pleased. I had another free day mid-month where 1825 copies were downloaded. Sales didn't really spike after that but remained between 25 and 50 books sold per day.

As I watch these numbers I experience a certain amount of shock and awe. There was a time when I considered 50 sales in ONE MONTH as a good month. This month I've sold over 1300 books worldwide, just in the Kindle Store; over 650 of those were Heartless. It may be possible to make a living at this writing thing after all. 

I am deeply grateful to everyone who has taken a chance on one [or more] of my books, written a review, told their friends and family about it, or even just enjoyed the story. Thank you! ♥

In other writing accomplishments of 2012, I scored a fab job with InD'Tale Magazine as a regular columnist. I write serial romances—currently Regency-era—for this rising star in romance magazines. And I LOVE it!! ♥

Stay tuned for my first post of 2013 where I'll reveal my NEW goals—OK, I admit, some won't be new at all.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Linkin Park ~ MYDSMBR

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

~Regency Wednesday~ Stubble It

As I flip contentedly through my Vulgar Dictionary, I see a term that I've seen in more than one Regency, one that I've used myself. Lord Greville from Deception used this term. 

Hold your tongue. CANT. 

And just because I can, here's an additional definition.

A harlot. 

Taken verbatim from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, which is free all the time in Amazon's Kindle Store. Guess what else is free today and ONLY TODAY?

♥Click the ad to go right to Amazon's Heartless page!♥
Thank you for joining me for another random bit of buckish slang. OK, so it wasn't all that random since I did choose a word this time that appears in one of my own Regencies. Still. ☺

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Clint Black ~ Burn One Down

Monday, December 17, 2012

Another Heartless Promotion

That's right, my lovelies, Heartless will be FREE again. But this time it's free for ONE DAY ONLY, Wednesday, December 19, 2012.

You can download this free from all the Amazon sites. The image above will take you to the US site. It's not free until Wednesday, though, so if you click over there now, you'll see the $2.99 price tag (free for prime members). 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Counting Crows ~ Rain King

Friday, December 14, 2012

~Photo Friday~ What is it? (#23) REVEALED

Did you guess the answer to last week's mystery photo? Here's the correct one: 

If you guessed EGG or SHELL, fabulous! And while I'm at it, that middle one is the first blue egg I got from my own chickens. The almost white one on the end also came from my chickens. 

Thanx for playing this edition of "What is it"! I'm taking a break from Photo Friday this week so watch for a new mystery photo on December 21. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Pearl Jam ~ Jeremy

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

~Regency Wednesday~ Facer

Another simple slang definition is on the agenda for this edition of Regency Wednesday. 

A bumper, a glass filled so full as to leave no room for the lip. Also a violent blow on the face.* 

*Taken verbatim from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, which can be downloaded free from Amazon's Kindle Store

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Dido ~ Thank You

Friday, December 7, 2012

~Photo Friday~ What is it? (#23)

I almost missed it but here is the next Photo Friday mystery pic: 

Do you know what this is? 

Comment with your best guess. The answer will be revealed next Friday (12/14). This is all in fun so don't expect a prize. You can guess as many times as you want. Happy guessing!!

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing 
♫♪ Breaking Benjamin ~ Without You

~Photo Friday~ What is it? (#22) REVEALED

Ready to find out the answer to last week's mystery pic? Here it is: 

Did you suspect it was skin, flesh, or a person's hand? Then you are CORRECT! In fact, it's my hand! lol 

Stay tuned for a new mystery photo later today! 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Audioslave ~ I Am the Highway

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

~Regency Wednesday~ Clutch Fisted

The subject of today's Regency Wednesday post is another term from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue

TO CLUTCH THE FIST. To clench or shut the hand. Clutch fisted; covetous, stingy. See CLOSE-FISTED. 

And since they told us to.... 

CLOSE-FISTED. Covetous or stingy. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Staind ~ It's Been Awhile

Saturday, December 1, 2012

~Sweet Saturday Sample~ Deception

Saturday is here again and it brings another Sweet Sample with it. I've selected a bit from Deception, my Regency novel published in 2010. This one is closely connected to Heartless, my most recent release. The heroes of these two novels are friends and have been for years.

This scene is where the heroine, Aurora, first meets the Duke of Derringer (the hero from Heartless). Aurora is having a Season for the express purpose of securing a husband. Her parents are dead and she is an heiress—though her monetary value is a close-guarded secret. Her companion, Ellie, is charged with finding out what she can about the Season's eligible gentlemen.


“The one on his left,” Ellie continued quietly, “with the unfashionably long black hair is the Duke of Derringer. Beware of him, my dear. It is said he is a rake of the first order. There are, in fact, so very many unsavory rumors about him that I would hope you would avoid him altogether.”

“What rumors?” Aurora asked in spite of her dislike for harmful gossip.

Ellie pursed her lips for so long a moment, Aurora didn’t think she would tell her. “It is believed that he has killed two men in duels, ruined more than one innocent, drinks heavily, gambles only in the most disreputable of gaming dens, and keeps several mistresses. His grandfather, the first duke, made his fortune in piracy. It is said that he amassed so much wealth, the King, for fear of the man, granted him the dukedom in a bid to keep the man loyal to the crown. Lady Watson said that the present duke is involved in some illegal activities just like his grandfather. No one dares to ask him outright, or accuse him of anything, but the rumors abound anyway.”

To Aurora, none of it mattered. The man was a handsome gentleman, to be sure, and appeared every bit as dangerous as rumor claimed. Why, he wore nothing but black. Even his linen was black. To match his soul?

Perhaps that would be to her advantage. Many a man would think twice before tangling with a peer of such appearance and reputation.

She had to wonder, however, if such a man could be made to fall in love.

“Why is he accepted here?” Aurora asked curiously.

“Oh, his mother was bosom bows with Lady Sefton and he is very powerful for all he is only seven and twenty, nearly as powerful as his grandfather was. Lady Watson said none of it matters since the duke will die soon,” Miss Ellison told her young friend sotto voce. She was rewarded with a gasp at this little tidbit. “Apparently, his grandfather was killed by highwaymen when he was five and thirty. The second duke was four when he ascended to the title. He died in a boating accident when he was two and thirty, a year after his wife was found dead in their home near Folkestone. The present duke has held the title since he was seven.”

“But his father and grandfather died in accidents. Why would that suggest he will die young, as well?” Aurora asked, frowning.

Miss Ellison shrugged. “It is the way of gossip, I suppose. One will find intrigues where none exist.”

“Oh,” was Aurora’s enlightened reply.

Deception is available on Amazon and all other eBook retailers. The cover above is linked to the Amazon Kindle listing.

Thank you for taking the time to read my excerpt. 
Please take a few moments to read some
Sweet Saturday Samples 
from other authors. Thank you!

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Within Temptation ~ The Howling

Friday, November 30, 2012

~Photo Friday~ What is it? (#22)

It's time for another mystery photo taken by yours truly! 
Can you tell me what this is? 

Any idea? Comment here with as many guesses as you like. Remember, this is just for fun so there are no prizes. The answer will be revealed next Friday (12/7). 

Happy guessing! 

*Image ©2012 Laura J Miller

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Hayley Westenra ~ Wuthering Heights

~Photo Friday~ What is it? (#21) REVEALED

Ready to find out the answer to last week's mystery photo? 
Here it is: 

If you guessed pine tree or pine needles, good for you! ♥ 

Stay tuned for a new mystery pic later today!

*Image ©2012 Laura J Miller. All rights reserved.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing 
♫♪ Linkin Park ~ The Catalyst

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Heartless Promotion

 ♥Click the ad to go straight to Amazon!♥ 

Heartless available in the Kindle Store absolutely FREE November 28 and 29. This is a great opportunity to try one of my titles if you haven't already!

In case FREE isn't enough and you need more convincing, here's the blurb:

A dark stranger....
Finding herself abandoned after the death of her father, Leandra Harcourt takes the greatest risk of her life. She accepts the marriage proposal of a complete stranger, the Duke of Derringer—a man the world calls Lord Heartless.

A heartless proposal....
A desperate girl with no prospects seems the perfect solution to Derringer's most recent problem: marry before his 30th birthday to gain his rightful inheritance, though marriage is the last thing he needs. The need to find his missing cousin takes priority over any silly marriage and he quickly abandons his new bride in the wreck of his family estate.

A perfect love....
Two people were never more suited for each other than the duke and his wife, but will they discover it before it's too late? With an assassin dogging his heels and a suitor wooing his wife, love will not have the luxury of time. 

Ready to get your FREE copy? CLICK HERE. (And thank you!)

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Santana featuring Dave Matthews ~ Love of My Life

Saturday, November 24, 2012

~Sweet Saturday Sample~ Heartless

It's time for another Sweet Saturday Sample and I've chosen Heartless again this week. The following excerpt is the first scene in chapter two, as our heroine realizes how little she knows of the man she just married. Enjoy!!

Leandra Merrily Harcourt married the third Duke of Derringer one early morning in late October. Shivers threatened to send her to the floor, the enormity of what she’d just done closing in on her. She knew so little about this man she now called husband.

The local vicar ended the ceremony. Leandra barely managed a full breath when the duke suddenly pulled her against his tall form and pressed his lips to hers. Shocked gasps came from the vicar and his curate.

For Leandra, time slowed. The embrace shocked her as much as their audience but for a very different reason. This man she’d known for mere hours manhandled her and she felt... excitement. She gasped and he released her with a mocking grin.

“Thank you, vicar,” the duke said as he escorted Leandra from the room. He tossed a few gold coins at the man as payment for services rendered and then handed the curate several pound notes as a donation to the church. “I have money to spare now,” he said carelessly to Leandra’s questioning look. “Thanks to you, wife.”

His voice held a note of something that made Leandra shiver uneasily. Oh, Lord, what had she done?

She knew exactly what she’d intended. She had leapt at the chance to become somebody’s—anybody’s—wife. Seduced by his manner, all ease and power, she’d craved the same feeling. She wanted to be able to act in any way she pleased without fear or threat. The penniless bastard daughter of a deceased earl had very little actual freedom.

Thank you for taking the time to read this short excerpt. If you liked what you read, then I have great news! You can get this book FREE in the Kindle Store November 28-29. Mark your calendars and be sure to grab your copy then!

For more Sweet Saturday Samples visit 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Daughtry ~ Used to

Friday, November 23, 2012

~Photo Friday~ What is it? (#21)

Ready for the next mystery pic? This one [I think] will be a bit easier than last week's. 

Do you know what this is? 

Comment here with your best guess(es). Remember, this is all in fun, so there are no prizes. The answer will be revealed next Friday (11/30). Happy guessing! 

*Image ©2012 Laura J Miller. All rights reserved. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing 
♫♪ Kid Beyond ~ I Shall Be Free

~Photo Friday~ What is it? (#20) REVEALED

Last week's mystery photo was a little harder than I expected it to be. Still, the guesses I saw were quite interesting, and great! Here's the answer, though, for those of you who wondered....

If you guessed toadstool or mushroom, way to go!

Stay tuned for a new mystery pic later today!!

*Image ©2012 Laura J Miller. All rights reserved.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Toad the Wet Sprocket ~ Fall From Heaven

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

~Regency Wednesday~ My Lady Coward, Part 10: The Final Installment

You have all been waiting so patiently for the final installment of this serial Regency romance. Here it is, finally, over one year since the first installment went live.

If you haven't read the first 9 parts of this story, you may want to take the time to do so now. Here are all the links, in one convenient place (all links open in a new tab or window depending on your browser settings):
  1. Original short on Clever Fiction for the prompt All Day/Speechless/Dinner 
  2. Clever Fiction prompt Darkness/Faith/Perplexed 
  3. Clever Fiction prompt October/Bad Luck/Compass 
  4. My website, using the Clever Fiction prompt Stormy/Family/Holidays 
  5. My website, no prompt, scroll down past Part 4 
  6. Clever Fiction prompt Thoughtless/Blue Skies/January 
  7. My website, no prompt, scroll down past Parts 4 and 5 
  8. Clever Fiction prompt Late/Anxiety/Continue 
  9. My website, no prompt, scroll down past Parts 4, 5, and 7 
  10. Right here. Enjoy! ♥

My Lady Coward, Part 10
by Jaimey Grant 
©2012 Laura J Miller. All Rights Reserved.

Silence reigned in the duke's household. Lady Maria had nothing to say to her unfaithful husband and went to great pains to avoid being alone in his company.

And, she realized with a pang, he didn't seem to notice.

A tiny, wet circle blossomed on the fabric in her hands, two more quickly joining the first. She ruthlessly dammed the wellspring, fingers clenching in the soft cotton she held. Too many tears had already been shed, too much misery felt over a situation she could not control. She could only control her own reaction and she refused to shed one more tear.

After this one, final bout.

She buried her face in the soft cloth and let the wave of sadness crash over her. Sobs tore at her chest, swelling her lungs to the point of bursting. With each sob released, two more rose to replace it until she grew lightheaded.

The child in her belly moved, disturbed by her grief. A wave of longing shot through her heart, longing to hold her precious baby. This child would be loved, adored, and never allowed to see Maria's unhappiness.

This decision effectively stifled her tears. She straightened her spine and stared down at the garment she held, a snowy infant's gown of the softest cotton, adorned with bright yellow silk ribbon. The garment was only half trimmed, halted while Maria took a moment to grieve over a marriage that was no different than many Society marriages.

The drawing room door opened, Maria's personal servant entering with her own basket of mending. Maria turned away, trying to compose herself before Colette managed to discern her mistress's distress. The last thing she needed was yet another jaw-me-dead from her outspoken, yet well-meaning, maid.

“Your grace,” she said, dropping a curtsy and depositing her burden on the floor beside the straight-backed chair in the corner, “you have a visitor.”

Maria swung about, unpleasantly surprised. Her hand shot forward to catch her sewing as it tried to slide from her ever-decreasing lap. “A visitor? Who?”

“Lady Felicia, madam.”

Ever since Maria's faux pas at a gathering weeks prior—when she'd asked that lady if she was her husband's mistress—she'd managed to avoid Lady Felicia Hensley. It was one thing Society would not countenance: a lady simply did not ask her husband's mistress if she was indeed that gentleman's mistress, and she certainly did not do so at a social gathering. A lady pretended the mistress didn't exist. If forced into a social gathering with such a woman, one did not acknowledge her unless forced to, as Maria had been.

Bitterness swept her child-plump form, knotting in her stomach. Felicia could move about in Society, accepted as one of them. Maria, married to a duke, was barely tolerated because her late father was in trade. Her acceptance plummeted to exactly none after she publicly inquired after Felicia's relationship with Richard, Maria's husband. What an unfair world she'd married into!

“I am not at home,” Maria declared.

Colette nodded. “Very good, madam.” She disappeared, returning a moment later to resume her seat in the corner.

Maria resumed her sewing task, but her thoughts would not focus on the task at hand. She darted looks at her maid, dying to ask what the lady's response was, but knowing how improper it was to ask.

Colette's hands stilled for a fraction of a moment. Then, as her fingers moved again, working her needle with speed and skill, she asked, “Is there anything else, madam?”

Horrified at having been caught so deftly, Maria nevertheless steeled her nerve enough to ask, “Did Lady Felicia seem vexed?”

“Oh yes, madam,” the maid confirmed. “Her ladyship demanded to see his grace.”

This time the garment fell from Maria's numb fingers and slid to the floor. She had the devil of a time asking, “And was his grace at home to her?”

“Oh yes, madam, he always is.”

Those words, uttered with such finality, sent Maria's heart into double time. She had no conscious thought of doing so, but moments later she exited the drawing room, her feet taking her to her husband's study where she knew he spent many afternoons overseeing the financial aspects of his properties—properties he wouldn't have if it wasn't for her and her father's money.

This last thought sent her into a blind rage. How dare Richard so disrespect her as to bring his amours into their home! How dare he reprimand her for her conduct when he treated his mistress with more respect than his own wife!

She would have thrown open the study door—despite the wide-eyed footman standing at attention just down the corridor—had raised voices from the other side not stopped her in her tracks. What fresh mystery was this? Lady Felicia arguing with Richard? About what?

Maria unashamedly leaned closer, putting herself as close to the slightly open door as she dared. The footman opened his mouth but Maria shot him a glare that effectively snapped it shut.

Felicia's voice filtered through the ornate mahogany. “You have to tell her, Richard.”

“Why? She already believes the worst of me. Shall I confirm her suspicion, Felicia? What good would that do her?”

A pause, and then, “Surely you do not believe this to be healthy for the child? Maria's fear will do them both harm. Ease her fear for your child's sake if not for hers.”

“Everything I do is for her,” came Richard's reply, slightly muffled. Maria could only assume he'd moved further from the door. “I love her.”

Maria's racing heart slowed, her fingers twisting in her muslin skirts. He loved her? And yet, he consorted with his mistress, publicly shamed his wife, and made a mockery of their marriage. The ways of Society bedamned! She'd take no more.

Lady Maria didn't throw open the door as she longed to do. No, she forced herself to nod to the footman, taking a step back so that young man could open the door for her, as befitted a duchess.

Richard and Felicia stood face-to-face, her hand on his arm. She stepped quickly away, a faint pink climbing her cheeks. But she straightened her spine and gazed at Maria, waiting for her to further humiliate herself, no doubt, with gauche behavior.

As for the duke, he sighed, sinking back against his desk and wiping a weary hand over his face. His whole being spoke of defeat. The image shook Maria to her core.

As if to emphasize her disquiet, the baby moved. Maria gasped, her hand coming to rest protectively on her distended belly.

Richard came alive at the sound. “Maria? Are you unwell? Is it the baby?”

“I am well. My daughter merely protests so much excitement.” She couldn't help the teasing edge of her tone as she mentioned their unborn child. It was her habit to insist she carried a girl. Her husband insisted she carried his heir. Though Maria acknowledged it was unusual to speak of an unborn child, vulgar even, she took heart in her husband's willingness to tease. If a duke did something, it was unlikely to be thought vulgar, merely eccentric.

The duke smiled, a genuine grin rife with amusement. The tiny indentation in his left cheek appeared, reminding Maria of how long it had been since she'd seen him smile, really smile. What cares weighed him down, she wondered now, that caused the slump in his broad shoulders and the new lines feathering his brow? Why had she failed to notice the change in her husband? What burden did he carry?

As quickly as the teasing light entered her eyes, it faded, replaced with wariness. Her eyes darted to the side, meeting those of Lady Felicia.

Richard's smile disappeared. His eyes still trained on his wife, he said, “Felicia, please excuse us.”

Maria's heart stuttered, her gaze drawn once again to her husband. Fingers clenching, she wondered if he'd reveal his secrets, finally let her into his elite little world, the world where she was at least equal to his mistress in his affections.

Felicia nodded and stepped toward the door. She paused next to Richard. “If you worry over revealing secrets not your own, I assure you it is of little import. I, nor David, would ever wish for your unhappiness.”
Having her said her piece, she nodded to Maria, murmured, “My lady,” and made her exit. A subtle hint of roses lingered in her wake.

Maria frowned. “Who is David?”

“Felicia's husband.”

“But— I thought— Is he not... dead?”

“Indeed,” Richard murmured. “For many years.” He moved away, his low voice barely carrying to her ears. “By my hand.”

“What?” Surely she'd misheard.

His sigh was louder than his words. Maria's eyes bored into his back, willing him to turn, to say it was nothing more than a poor jest. He moved further away, the distance short but for Maria it may as well have been miles.

Minutes passed. Maria fidgeted, her fingers twisting the life out of her skirt. She didn't know what to do, what to say, how to make her husband speak as she knew he must. His heavy thoughts weighed him down, the secrets he kept on Felicia's behalf, David's behalf.

Enough was enough. If Richard wouldn't come to her, offer his secrets so she could share the burden, she would go to him.

Her fingers brushed the rough wool of his coat. He tensed, turning about to meet her concerned gaze. “Tell me, Richard. Tell me what plagues you so. Why do you say David died by your hand?”

Richard stiffened and pulled away. Maria felt his departure in the deepest part of her soul and mourned the loss.

“David was my best friend. I'd known him since we were in short coats. We attended Eton and Cambridge together. Then he married Felicia.”

He stopped, pacing away from her. Maria wondered if he'd continue, wondered if she'd have to prompt him to do so, but he only took a moment to gather his thoughts.

“It was the stupidest thing, really. He took a mistress and I, idealistic young man that I was at the time, thought it was unfair to Felicia. I challenged him to a duel and he accepted.” He glanced at Maria, a self-deprecating smile tilting his lips. “Ridiculous, isn't it?”

“A duel?” Maria, reminded of another duel her husband had fought, didn't know what to think. Duels were illegal, yet Richard had engaged in two of which Maria had knowledge. How many more had he felt were necessary to preserve honor, as gentlemen claimed was reason enough to engage in such barbaric behavior?

“A duel. My first duel. I killed him.” He paused, his gaze flying upward. “I'd never fought a duel before because I was a notoriously bad shot. He chose pistols. I turned and fired. He died. Felicia and I covered over the truth, claiming it was a hunting accident. Being a duke had its advantages. No one questioned my claim.”

“You challenged him believing you would lose.” The thought filled her with horror, the sensation sinking all the way to her toes. “When you challenged Lord Derringer—”

He laughed, a deep, surprised sound that jarred her. “Hart was never a threat. He's all bluster. He shot over my head and I winged him, accidentally.”

“So that's why he left London,” she mused. With the loss of her father just after Richard's duel with the Duke of Derringer, Maria hadn't time to think of what had become of Derringer. Her husband had no response to her conclusion and the last person she wanted to think about was the hateful duke.

She returned to the subject at hand. “What if David had killed you? What would that have proven?” She took a step, closing a portion of the distance between of them, her skirts rustling in the silence.

The wrinkles in Richard's brow attested to his confusion at her response. “It was a point of honor. He wronged his wife.”


“I know it makes little sense to you, Maria, but to a gentleman honor is everything.”

A smile tipped his lips, one that Maria felt was a trifle patronizing. How would he react if she slapped him the way she suddenly longed to do?

“But why did honor demand you challenge him? I am given to understand it is common for Society gentlemen to take a mistress, married or no. What made David and Felicia's situation different?”

She dreaded the answer. Tension settled itself over her shoulders, stiffening her spine until it would surely snap.

“Felicia loved him, trusted him. And she never believed he would play her false.”

“And that warranted your intervention?”

Richard exhaled in a violent breath, throwing his hands into the air. “What do you want me to say, Maria? That I loved her? That I couldn't live without her? That I was jealous of David and wanted her for myself?”

Heart thumping in her chest, child flipping in agitation, she closed more of the distance between them. Then she asked the one question she didn't want to, the one question whose answer could very well shatter any hopes she harbored about her husband's affections.

“Do you love her?”

Richard's tawny gaze snared hers. “Would it matter if I did?”

He studied her face, nothing of his own emotions showing on his own, and Maria didn't know what answer he wanted to hear. So she said nothing.

“You believe Felicia is my mistress.”

“Is she not?” Maria demanded, amazed by her own daring. “Everyone whispers she is and though they try to hide their whispers behind fans and snuff, I am not deaf, nor am I stupid.”

The emotions that flickered through Richard's eyes were too swift for Maria to identify. But she caught regret and her heart sank.

Despite that, it was derision that settled on his face. “Society is desirous of a delicious on dit for the gossip mill,” he scoffed. “Truth is not required.”

“Indeed,” Maria agreed, “yet most rumor has basis in fact.”

Richard's eyes widened, boring into hers. “What do you believe, Maria? Do you think I long for her the way I long for you? That I dream of kissing her the way I kiss you? That my every waking thought is taken up with the moment that I can once again hold her in my arms, the way I want to hold you?” He stepped closer until the space separating them was only a few inches. “Do you think I love her?”

“Perhaps not,” Maria allowed, knowing full well a gentleman didn't have to love his mistress to engage her services.

Richard chuckled, a tinge of bitterness coloring the sound. “Perhaps not,” he repeated, the dimple in his cheek peeking out. “The truth is, Maria, I do love her.” Maria sucked in a hurt breath. “Much the way I would love a sister, if I had one. Felicia was never my mistress. I have never been unfaithful to you.”

The air whooshed out of Maria's lungs, a lightheaded sensation making her teeter on her feet. Richard reached for her, no doubt to steady her, but he went one step further and slid his arm around her waist. He brought their bodies together, their unborn child nestled uncomfortably between them.

“Why did I marry you, Maria?”

“Money,” she breathed, her heart in her throat.

He frowned, eyes narrowing. “Why do you think that?”

“Father told me you'd squandered your inheritance,” she admitted, cheeks heating at the embarrassing subject.

Her throat caught on the memory of that conversation with her father. He'd not told her to hurt her; indeed, had he known how attached she'd become to the kind young duke who visited them on a daily basis, he'd surely have said nothing at all. And when he revealed the truth, she didn't dare tell him how much she admired the gentleman.

“Your father told you that?” Richard squeezed her tighter, eliciting a squeak from Maria and an impatient jab from the baby. Her husband pulled away and glanced down. “Was that—?”

Maria nodded, watching the wonder in her husband's face. He grinned and looked back into her eyes. “He's an active one, I dare say.”

“Yes, she is,” Maria replied, unable to resist the opportunity to insist she carried a girl.

They smiled at each other, a wave of peace settling over Maria. This was what she wanted, this understanding, this contentment, this unshakable certainty of love and acceptance.

Then his smile faded, replaced with sadness, regret.

“Your father was mistaken, Maria,” Richard murmured, tucking a stray curl behind her ear. “I didn't need his money, at least, not like he thought I did. I needed you.”

Maria's breath caught, pure joy and uncertainty coalescing in her heart. “You needed me?”

“Oh, Maria, my love,” he breathed, “what fears have plagued you this past year?” He leaned in, pressing his lips to hers, telling her as certainly as if he'd spoken that he loved her and her alone. “I didn't marry you for money. I would never marry for money. The title can go hang for all I care.”

In that moment, there was only one thing Maria could do. And though it was against all the ladylike training she'd received at her mother's knee, she did it anyway, throwing all caution to the winds.

She reached up, pulled his head down and pressed her lips to his, pure joy blossoming at the contact. With her marriage vows came the acquisition of a title and position in Society. Security.

With her marriage vows came love.

This concludes the [sometimes] bittersweet romance of Maria and Richard. I hope you enjoyed this final installment as well as those previous. Look for the compiled version of this story, coming soon to a major eBook retailer near you!

If you recall Lord Derringer but are unsure where, his tale can be found in Heartless, one of the novels in my Regency "series." He also enjoys a rather infamous appearance [or two] in Deception

Random bit of My Lady Coward trivia: The original story (Part 1) was inspired by country song Why They Call It Falling by Lee Ann Womack.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Bon Jovi ~ I'll Be There For You

Saturday, November 17, 2012

~Sweet Saturday Sample~ Heartless

Today's Sweet Saturday Sample is another excerpt from Heartless. This is from chapter one, as our hero and heroine share a meal during which he eventually persuades her to marry him. Enjoy!

Leandra’s eyes widened. The gentleman was very handsome in a non-fashionable way, very elegant…and very dark. Everything about him was dark. He wore a black cloak over a black jacket, a black shirt, and black buckskins with black topboots. Even his cravat was black. His gloves, tossed on the table beside his plate, were black leather. His black hair was worn long and tied back with a black velvet ribbon. His eyes were black and his skin was tanned dark.

She wondered a trifle breathlessly if his handkerchief and smallclothes were black as well. He quirked a black brow at her even as she assessed his appearance.

“Do I pass muster on a purely physical level?” he asked, voice tinged with sarcasm.

“Do you have a black horse?” Leandra heard herself asking before she could stop herself.

A sharp bark of laughter escaped him. “As a matter of fact, I have several black horses as well as a black cat and a black dog.”

“Oh, my,” she murmured.

If you'd like to read more, click on over to Amazon and grab the eBook sample for your Kindle.

For more Saturday Sweetness, visit 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Staind ~ The Corner

Friday, November 16, 2012

~Photo Friday~ What is it? (#20)

Time for another mystery photo taken by yours truly! Can you tell me what this is? 

Comment with your best guess. This is all in fun so don't expect a prize if you guess right. The answer will be revealed next Friday (11/23). Happy guessing!!

*Image ©2012 Laura J Miller. All rights reserved.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing 
♫♪ Evanescence ~ Hello

~Photo Friday~ What is it? (#19) REVEALED

Have you been wondering what last week's mystery photo was? Well, here's your answer: 

You may not believe it but this is a blackberry. The blackberries were ripening and this particular bunch hadn't quite gotten there yet. ♥ 

Stay tuned for a new mystery pic later today! 

*Image © 2012 Laura J Miller 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥ 

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Hayley Westenra ~ Dark Waltz

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Heartless Gratitude

I am amazed and humbled by the amount of popularity Heartless is experiencing in the short week since its re-release. It is far more than I expected. I am not a very outgoing person and every time I put myself out there, whether in a book or simple blog post, it's not easy. I appreciate the support more than I can possibly express. 

Two days ago I decided to check out Amazon's Hot New Releases in Regency Romance. I was never more shocked and pleased than when I found Heartless in the #56 spot. I've watched it since then and in that time it dropped down to #82 only to jump back up to #60. It is a thrilling experience! 

If you'd like to get your very own copy of Heartless, CLICK HERE. If you don't want to or can't buy it right now, clicking the little "like" button on the book's page, tagging the book with appropriate tags, and telling your friends about the book are all great ways to show your support without costing you a penny.

Thank you, all, for your support!

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Nashville Cast ~ If I Didn't Know Better

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

~Regency Wednesday~ Sixes and Sevens

I've become very lax in my Regency Wednesday posts. Well, in an effort to get back into the groove, I'm gonna start with a simple cant definition. You all remember what cant is, right? (For new readers of this blog or the Regency genre, cant is slang.)

Here's my trusty 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, one of the best slang references, in my opinion. And the random term for this week is.... 


Left at sixes and sevens: i.e. in confusion; commonly said of a room where the furniture, &c. is scattered about; or of a business left unsettled.*

*Taken verbatim from the Kindle edition of 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Get it for free HERE

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ OneRepublic ~ Apologize

Saturday, November 10, 2012

~Sweet Saturday Sample~ Heartless

Hello again, readers! Welcome to another Sweet Saturday Sample in which you will get to read another excerpt from one of my bits of writing.

Today I've selected a few opening paragraphs from Heartless, my newest release. Enjoy! 

The third Duke of Derringer slammed his fist on the solicitor’s desk. An inkwell, a pen, a tea cup and Mr. Grimsby jumped. 

The black-haired, black-eyed duke gave him a searching look. Did the little man jest? If so, he was less intelligent than Derringer had thought. But Mr. Grimsby looked more terrified than amused so he decided that the bespectacled gentleman was not lying. 


“Just so, your grace. I can only apologize that we did not find this until recently,” he added with a nervous swallow. His large Adam’s apple bobbed and Derringer found himself distracted. The man was not blessed with any amount of good looks, the duke thought. He pushed his thoughts back to his present problem. 

The Duke of Derringer had just been informed that he could not have his inheritance unless he married by a certain date. He’d always had whatever money he wanted, been given free rein with his finances. Then, after the death of the senior member of the solicitor’s office, a clause to the late duke’s will was discovered. 

Now Derringer sat across from this spindly-legged little man awaiting the date of his life sentence. 

“How long do I have?” Derringer snapped.

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into the opening of this novel. It is now available in Amazon's Kindle Store. ♥ 

For more Sweet Saturday Samples visit 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Clint Black ~ Desperado

Friday, November 9, 2012

~Photo Friday~ What is it? (#19)

It's that time again. Time for another mystery pic! 

What is this? 

Comment here with your best guess. Remember, it's all in fun. The answer will be posted next Friday (11/16). Happy guessing!!

*Image ©2012 Laura J Miller

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Fiona Apple ~ Sullen Girl

~Photo Friday~ What is it? (#18) REVEALED

Hi again! Happy Friday! Here's the answer for last week's Photo Friday "What is it?" post: 

Did you guess carnation? If so, pat yourself on the back! 

Stay tuned for a new mystery photo later today!

*Image ©2012 Laura J Miller

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Seether ~ Fine Again

Thursday, November 8, 2012

~General Updates~ InD'Tale, Heartless, My Lady Coward

The new issue of InD'Tale Magazine hit inboxes about a week ago. The latest installment of my serial Regency is in there, as well as the usual offerings from my fellow columnists Tammy Grant (Soapbox Blather—always funny) and Jimmy Thomas (cover design advice—always informative). In this particular issue there's an entertaining article with author H.P. Mallory, an article on the Steampunk genre, another on pixies, articles on writing, and any number of great tidbits. And don't forget the book reviews. If you haven't subscribed, click on over and do it now. Subscriptions are still FREE.

Meanwhile, I've turned in part 5 of The 11th Commandment. YAY!!! Look for it InD'Tale's December issue.  

After agonizing over the back cover blurb for Heartless, I finally came up with something satisfactory. I posted it over on my Heartless blog, so click on OVER THERE and give it a read. 

Also in Heartless news, I've closed review copy requests and all eBook copies have been sent out. The new edition is now live in the Kindle Store. After Feb 4, 2013 Heartless will be made available at Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, Sony, Apple, and Diesel. I'll keep you all updated on that. 

My Lady Coward....
I've been transcribing part 10 and I'm almost POSITIVE this time that part 10 will be the final installment of this Regency serial. (Yes, I know I said I'm transcribing it, but I haven't actually reached "The End" on the handwritten version.) As it stands (without counting part 10) this story is just over 11,000 words. I think that's a nice length for a short story, don't you?

Until next time.... 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Bon Jovi ~ Always

Saturday, November 3, 2012

~Sweet Saturday Sample~ Heartless

I finally joined the ranks of authors who every Saturday post a short excerpt from one of their works. I've chosen to share an excerpt from Heartless, the next of my works to be published (hopefully in the next few days). This portion was taken from Chapter 15, shortly after Hart, the Duke of Derringer, manages to locate and rescue his cousin Gabriel. Enjoy!

“Yes,” snapped the duke, “I am your cousin. The same cousin who pulled you out of the briers on too many occasions to count. The same cousin who defended you more than once when your father tried to beat some sense into your thick skull. The same bloody cousin who sent you off to war and nearly got you killed in the process!”

Shock sucked the air from Gabriel’s lungs. “You blame yourself, Hart? Because I enlisted?” The duke’s self-conscious shrug was his only answer. “I was army-mad, Hart. I would have gone if I’d had to take the King’s shilling to do it. You know that. There was never anyone closer to me than you. You know, Hart.”

Derringer stood and went to the one porthole in the cabin. He stared out into the night at the myriad stars hanging in the heavens. He didn’t want to talk about this. He didn’t want to be free of the blame. Deep down, he knew he was responsible. He was responsible and no one else. 

“You are not my keeper,” Gabriel repeated emphatically. “I made my choice and now I must live with the consequences.” 

Derringer didn’t turn around. “How did you lose your arm, Gabe?”

Gabriel glanced down at the missing appendage, then laid his head back and closed his eyes. “Waterloo,” he said. “Shrapnel lodged in too many places to be easily removed. Infection.” He threw his remaining hand up with a flourish, intoning dramatically, “Goodbye, arm.”

The hand he waved was, naturally, the one that held the thick brandy glass. Thankfully, it was empty. It did, however, fly from his hand to land with a thwack against the door of the cabin. Derringer jumped at the sound and swung around to see his cousin doubled over. He rushed over, fearing the worst, and was astonished to realize Gabriel was laughing.

If you'd like more info on this book, please click over and check out my Heartless blog. Thank you for taking the time to read this little excerpt!

For more Sweet Saturday Samples, check out the list at

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Staind ~ Save Me

Friday, November 2, 2012

~Photo Friday~ What is it? (#18)

Welcome back for the next "What is it?" Photo Friday post! 

Do you know what this is? 

Comment with your best guess(es). This isn't a contest or competition. There is no prize. It's just for fun so enjoy yourself! The answer will be posted next Friday (11/9). 

*Image ©2012 Laura J Miller

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Blackmore's Night ~ Play Minstrel Play

~Photo Friday~ What is it? (#17) REVEALED

Did you guess pink flower, fringed tulip, or tulip? If so, great job!

Some of you may recognize this flower from my old Heartless cover.

Stay tuned for the next "What is it?" image later today! 

*Image ©2012 Laura J Miller (Jaimey Grant)

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Blue Foundation ~ Eyes on Fire

Friday, October 26, 2012

~Photo Friday~ What is it? (#17)

The year is nearly over and I finally get back on the ball with my Photo Friday series of "What is it?" images. 

Here is this week's image: 
Do you know what this is? 
(Ignore the watermark.*)

Comment with your best guess, as many times as you like. This isn't a competition or contest, just a fun little guessing game. The answer will be revealed next Friday (11/2). Have fun!

*Image ©2012 Laura J Miller (Jaimey Grant)

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Hoobastank ~ The Reason

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I need a few Heartless reviewers....

Do you like FREE books? Do you review everything you read? Then I have good news for you! I'm giving out review copies like candy. Well, I haven't actually sent any out since I don't have the formatted files yet, but if you click over to my Heartless blog, you can find out how to get on the list for review copies. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ The Fray ~ Over My Head

Monday, October 22, 2012

The First Annual Romance Novel Convention... and a cowardly lady...

Screencap of RNConvention Home Page. Click the image to go to the site.

Next year the very first annual Romance Novel Convention will be held at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, August 7-11 (Wednesday-Sunday). This 5-day event is being hosted by Jimmy Thomas of Romance Novel Center and InD'Tale Magazine. Are you going? 

I AM!!! SQUEE!!! 

And I just can't express how stinkin' excited I am about it! Hubby promised to take me and I didn't even have to twist his arm. He's always been my biggest fan, my most loyal supporter.

....and he really wants to see the shark tank. Even more since he learned an episode of CSI was filmed there. In that episode a shark got into the pool. Hubby's such a ghoul. :OP

There are so many things to be excited about that I'm not sure where to start.

I'll get to meet my fellow InD'Tale colleagues face-to-face and I can hardly wait! They are a fabulous bunch of people. (If you haven't subscribed to the magazine, what are you waiting for?? It's FREE, go do it NOW!)

And Day 1 happens to fall on my 15th wedding anniversary. How's that for PERFECT?

So I'm eager to know which of my friends/followers/fans are going too. I mean, what better chance to meet for the first time than at an event that's all about the love of romance novels!? SQUEE!!

OK, now that I'm done embarrassing myself, squeeing all over the place (doesn't that sound gross?), I'll chill out and add that I've also posted Part 9 of My Lady Coward on my website. Click on over and check it out, if you've been following this tale from its start and want to know the latest. I thought Part 9 would be "The End" but it's not. There will be a Part 10. Enjoy!

Have I mentioned that this story will be compiled and made available for download once it's finished? It will be. And I'm thinking $1 will be a sufficient price to charge. If you don't have the $1 to spend, each part will still be available for free, if you don't mind a bit of site hopping to read all the parts. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Evanescence ~ Hello

Saturday, October 6, 2012

~Blog Poll~ Romance Ebook Pricing Results

Remember when I asked about the sweet spot of romance eBook pricing? I put up a little poll in my sidebar and asked visitors to tell me the MOST they'd pay for a romance eBook. The results are in! 

As you can see, the majority (31%) said they'd pay no more than $4-5 for an eBook. But 17% said $2-3. I consider the $2-3 spot the sweet spot of romance eBook pricing. I think I always have.

To be honest, I was surprised by the fact that less than 8% voted that they'd pay no more than $2. I figured with the influx of free eBooks that those numbers would have a MUCH bigger showing. I wondered just how much the free wave would lower the value of an eBook. 

I wish I'd been able to get results from hundreds of voters but I'm pleased 35 were willing to stop in and let me know what they thought. Thank you, all, very much! This will be a great help in pricing my own eBooks, especially with Heartless' re-release just around the corner. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing 
♫♪ Linkin Park ~ Somewhere I Belong

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

~My Lady Coward~ The End is in Sight

Many of you are fans of my very first serial Regency, My Lady Coward. You've anticipated every installment of this sporadic story, wondering just what mischief Lady Maria will get into while trying to make her husband fall in love with her. You eagerly await the conclusion, where you are sure I'll finally give her the HEA she deserves. 

But being the proper lady that Maria is, though not technically a lady (tradesman's daughter), will she really be able to tell Richard how she feels? I'm halfway through the final installment and even I'm not sure she's gonna shed her cowardly exterior and say what she needs to say. I'm sure some of you would be very upset with me if she doesn't get her HEA so I'll try my hardest to steer her in that direction. I've already managed to surprise myself with a twist that I didn't expect. But there's been so much about this story that surprised me. After all, it was only meant to be the original short, posted over on Clever Fiction.

Are you caught up? New followers of this blog (or my facebook page) may not have seen the billion places I've posted the links to this story. So here they are again. Make sure you're caught up before I finish the final installment!
  1. Original short on Clever Fiction for the prompt All Day/Speechless/Dinner 
  2. Clever Fiction prompt Darkness/Faith/Perplexed 
  3. Clever Fiction prompt October/Bad Luck/Compass 
  4. My website, using the Clever Fiction prompt Stormy/Family/Holidays 
  5. My website, no prompt, scroll down past Part 4 
  6. Clever Fiction prompt Thoughtless/Blue Skies/January 
  7. My website, no prompt, scroll down past Parts 4 and 5 
  8. Clever Fiction prompt Late/Anxiety/Continue 
All links will open in a new window or tab, depending on your browser settings. If you'd like to comment on any of the installments, please do so. Commenting is enabled on the Clever Fiction website. For the parts located on my site, feel free to comment here (the blogger or goodreads end). Enjoy! 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Alicia Keys ~ Why Do I Feel So Sad

Saturday, September 8, 2012

~General Updates~ Blog Poll, Heartless, InD'tale

Blog Poll.... 

There's still time to vote in my little blog poll, located in the right hand sidebar on the blogspot end of this blog. What's the most you'd pay for a romance eBook? Is there a perfect price for an eBook?   


I'm still waiting on one proofreader's comments and then I'll give this book one final read-through, get it formatted, send it off to the best formatter I know so she can make sure it's perfect, and then upload it to all those lovely eBook retailers. Soon, my lovelies, soon.... 

InD'Tale Magazine.... 

I am now officially a columnist for InD'Tale Magazine! That means when The 11th Commandment reaches its inevitable conclusion, I get to start a new serial romance. SQUEE!! I've already pitched my next idea to my boss and she approved it! Woo-hoo! I can't say anything about it yet, though, so enjoy 11th Commandment while you can and anticipate the next story as much as we are. If you haven't subscribed to InD'Tale yet, what are you waiting for? Subscriptions are FREE!! 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Fireflight ~ Unbreakable


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