The Year Ahead

Yesterday, there was a post on the blog of my Deborah Cooke website, about my month in the garden this past May and the decisions I made while weeding. The upshot of it all is that I’ll be focussed on historical romance for the next year, to the exclusion of other sub-genres. I’m curious to see where this takes both my stress level and my sales.

This decision is why I was able to add a new Regency romance series, The Ladies’ Essential Guide to the Art of Seduction, to my schedule, and I’m looking forward to it.

So, here’s my publication schedule as it looks right now:

The Brides of North Barrows including all four Regency romance novellas by Claire Delacroix
The Brides of North Barrows
August 2022
The Dragon and the Damsel, book three of the Blood Brothers trilogy of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix
The Dragon & the Damsel
September 2022
The Masquerade of the Marchioness, a Regency romance by Claire Delacroix
The Masquerade of the Marchioness
November 2022
The Widow's Wager, a Regency romance by Claire Delacroix
The Widow’s Wager
February 2023
The Scot and the Sorceress, book four of the Blood Brothers trilogy by Claire Delacroix
The Scot & the Sorceress
April 2023
One Knight's Desire, book three of the Rogues & Angels series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix
One Knight’s Desire
July 2023

I know more and have my work planned through the end of 2024, but I’d rather share details once I have covers and pre-orders. There will be more stories in The Ladies’ Essential Guide to the Art of Seduction published next year, for example. That series is planned to have seven books and will finish up in early 2024.

You probably noticed that One Knight’s Desire is back on the schedule for publication next July. I’ll be continuing with the Rogues & Angels series, which also is planned to be seven books long.

I’ve also decided to take my backlist titles out of Kindle Unlimited (not Blood Brothers just yet) and republish them at the other portals. That will probably take until the end of September, but if you’re reading in KU, finish up your series now.

This is a pretty relaxed schedule for me in terms of writing, so I have a number of other histrom projects that I’m hoping to tuck into the plan. I’ll write those first, then list them for short pre-orders when they’re done.

One Knight’s Desire

Heloise and Lothair’s story is back on my desk. We’re heading for Sayerne, to continue my Rogues & Angels series, once the Blood Brothers series is completed. This book was delayed because Heloise threw me a curve when I started to write the story – she told me that she wasn’t Heloise at all and that I had to keep her secret to ensure her safety. That mucked up my plan, since I had known the story I would be telling and had done the research. Now I have a new outline (because I have to trust Heloise to know who she is) and the book is back on my schedule.

I’ve changed the description and lowered the book price, and scheduled it for next July. The pre-orders are up! At portals other than Amazon, I was able to change the publication date and revive the old pre-order. If you ordered the book there, your order will still stand, but it will be processed on the on-sale date at the lower price.

At Amazon, I needed to create a new listing for the book. If you had pre-ordered at Amazon, that order has been cancelled. You’ll need to pre-order again.

I’m not sure where I’ll be with Kindle Unlimited a year from now but will let you know closer to the date. The book will be available in wide distribution for at least a week. It’s possible that I may take the series wide for that publication date, since it’s been a while. I’ll make those choices in the spring and let you know.

In the meantime, you may want to read the introduction to this company of knights that appears in the prologue of the series starter, One Knight Enchanted – it’s right here.

There’s a Pinterest board for this series, which is a work in progress. Each book has its own board, plus there’s a board for Tulley, one for the gifts and one each for heroes and heroines.


One Knight's Desire, book three of the Rogues & Angels series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix

When the grim Lord de Tulley bequests his legacy to his niece and decides to arrange her marriage, the maiden in question knows that no man of sense will decline such a rich prize of a bride. Her jest, undertaken to ensure her survival and ease an old man’s loneliness, has become deadly serious. To Heloise’s dismay, Tulley chooses Lothair the Viking as his successor. Lothair is unlike the other knights in his company—just as powerful and decisive as his fellows, quiet Lothair is also perceptive. His very presence makes Heloise’s heart flutter and not just because she fears he will uncover her deepest secret. A man of honor like Lothair can only reveal the truth to Tulley and Heloise dreads the result. Can she charm her taciturn betrothed for the greater good?

A warrior and a healer, Lothair is accustomed to being caught between objectives. Still, experience has not prepared him for the temptation of Lady Heloise, the beautiful niece of his overlord. The maiden’s very presence steals his wits and renders him mute, while her barest glance fills his heart with wild yearning.

When Lothair discovers that Heloise is not the maiden she pretends to be, he is once again snared—between honor and duty, his dawning love for his new wife, and the lady’s determination to keep her secret. Can he dare to trust the woman who has stolen his heart, or is he just a willing pawn to his lady? Can Heloise trust the knight who swears to defend her forever instead of fleeing—or will her past demand its due from both of them first?

Coming July 19, 2023. Pre-order available at some portals:



The Masquerade of the Marchioness on Pre-Order

Book two of The Ladies’ Essential Guide to the Art of Seduction is listed for pre-order now. I wrote the beginning of this one before writing the cover copy and I just wanted to keep on going! Philomena and Garrett’s story is going to be so much fun.

Although The Christmas Conquest was supposed to be a novella (of 20,000 to 25,000 words), I had a hard time keeping it under 40,000 words. It just barely slid under the wire, and the bonus epilogue is another 6,000 words. For this book, I have no restriction on the word count, so it will be longer. That’s why the price went up a little bit. Remember that this series will be in wide distribution, not Kindle Unlimited. And because of that greater length, these books will be available individually in paperback editions.

Now, here’s a bit about The Masquerade of the Marchioness!

The Masquerade of the Marchioness, a Regency romance by Claire Delacroix

Philomena Wright, Marchioness of Arlingview, is universally admired for her intellect, good sense and charitable efforts on behalf of widows and orphans. She seems to have every advantage, but secretly desires that her dashing husband, the one person indifferent to her accomplishments, would notice her. The issue, clearly, is that she is too dull to hold his attention—when she is offered the opportunity, Philomena cannot resist the temptation of pursuing her husband in disguise.

Garrett Wright misses the purpose—and the peril—of his work as a spy during the war and is bored with his long-time disguise as a reckless rake. When he accepts an assignment to identify a jewel thief preying upon London society, he meets a mysterious masked beauty kindles his passion with her bold touch. Could she be the thief? Garrett becomes determined to both possess and unveil the temptress, whatever the cost.

Philomena and Garrett’s game of cat-and-mouse enthralls them both, but when Philomena is revealed, Garrett fears his wife has another secret. Will catching the thief place his beloved wife in jeopardy? Forced to choose between honor and love, how will Garrett find a means to fulfill his duty and secure a happy future with Philomena?

Coming November 22, 2022
Pre-order available at some portals.

Everything Old is New Again

Yesterday, I shared a post about Esmeralda Ballantyne’s visit to my office last winter. She persuaded me to begin a project, which I’ll talk more about today.

About fifteen years ago, in 2006, I was looking for a new publisher for my historical romances. Then, as now, Regency romances sold better than medieval romances, so my agent suggested I come up with a Regency romance trilogy. I did. It was called The Ladies’ Academy and I really liked it. A mysterious lady named Olivia Mickelthorpe arrived in London and proceeded to secretly offer instruction to respectable ladies and wives in the amorous arts. She mingled in society disguised as an older woman called Mrs. Oliver, who was grumpy and outspoken (no filter there) and just too much fun. There was a dark and dangerous duke, Lucien deVries, determined to put an end to Olivia’s scandalous efforts. Their enemies-to-lovers romance arched over the trilogy, with the final book being their story.

There was one editor interested in the proposal and I did some revisions for her but we didn’t come to an agreement. In hindsight, I suspect this was because there was a paranormal element in the original version: Olivia found new clients via her younger sister’s psychic gifts. The sister dreamed of women in need of her older sister’s advice, which is admittedly a bit thin. Paranormal historical romances always perform less well than non-paranormal ones, so that might have been the proverbial kiss of death.

Still, I liked Olivia and Mrs. Oliver and kept all of my printed files of the various versions. (This is good because Word can’t open any of them anymore.)

Esmeralda Ballantyne dug out this old file when she took up residency in my office late last year. Broken-hearted after the marriage of Sebastian Montgomery in A Most Inconvenient Earl and in need of a new distraction, Esmeralda loved the notion of teaching respectable ladies what no one else would. I still liked elements of the story, too, so played around with it to create a new series which will launch this month. No surprise that there are no paranormal elements in this one!

The Ladies’ Essential Guide to the Art of Seduction is the new series and also the name of the book Esmeralda is writing in that series. (In The Ladies Academy, Olivia held classes in secret, which would be a much more complicated matter to arrange.) Like many books-in-progress, passages from Esmeralda’s growing volume are circulated among ladies in the know. There are excerpts from the book in each story in this new series. Just as in The Ladies’ Academy, Esmeralda disguises herself as Mrs. Oliver, and also, there is a dark and dangerous duke determined to put a stop to the whole thing. He is now Damien de Vries, Duke of Haynesdale, which links him to two of my medieval romance series. (Haynesdale is Bartholomew’s home estate in The Crusader’s Kiss, while The Wolf & the Witch is Maximilian de Vries’ book.) To eliminate the paranormal element, new clients or patrons are discovered by word-of-mouth, beginning with Eurydice, who did get a book from Esmeralda in A Most Inconvenient Earl.

The series begins with The Christmas Conquest, in which Eurydice tries to help an acquaintance, with Esmeralda’s assistance. I’m enjoying how surprised Rhys is by his formerly-innocent wife’s newfound knowledge, and also how enticing he finds the change. These books are proving to be a lot of fun to write. They’re also shorter, so I’ll be able to publish them more frequently. They will be in wide distribution, not KU.

The pre-order for The Christmas Conquest is available now.

The Christmas Conquest, a Regency romance novella by Claire Delacroix

Love was not part of the plan when this marriage was arranged…

Rhys Bettencourt, Baron Trevelaine, had every intention of avoiding his family’s curse. An arranged marriage to a plain bluestocking of fortune should have ensured her survival in childbirth and the provision of at least one heir. But practical Catherine undermined her betrothed’s scheme by unexpectedly capturing his heart. The sole way for Rhys to protect her is to deny them both physical satisfaction—until he learns of her plan to leave him and knows he has to act.

Two years into her arranged marriage, Catherine despairs of ever bearing a child. She flees to Rockmorton Manor for Christmas, only to find Rhys waiting for her, determined to convince her to stay with him. Does he want Catherine or her fortune? Confused and uncertain, Catherine discovers pages of sensual advice left in her chamber, which provide hope that her marriage might be saved.

Armed with information and with little to lose, Catherine embarks upon a campaign of seduction that Rhys finds himself powerless to resist—even as he fears for Catherine’s fate if he succumbs. Caught between love and the wretched curse, can Rhys find a way to keep his cherished wife safely by his side?

Coming July 26, 2022