Keep in contact through the following social networks or via RSS feed:

  • Follow on Facebook
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Follow on GoodReads
  • Follow on Pinterest
  • Follow on Blogger

Different Versions

I got an email from a reader this morning, mentioning that she’d seen my name in a Mills and Boon 100th Anniversary collection. I wrote back immediately telling her that she probably already has this story — which is a Christmas novella called The Virtuous Widow. That’s the 100th Anniversary cover on the right.

This edition  doesn’t look either Christmasy or historical, and at the time it came out I got a few complaints from readers who, going by the cover,  hadn’t expected a Regency-era story.

Once I have contracted a book to a publisher, I have no control over what they do with it. That said, it was a huge honor that my novella had been chosen for the 100th anniversary collection, and despite the modern-looking cover, I was thrilled to be included.

The Virtuous Widow was originally contracted to be part of a Christmas collection with US authors Miranda Jarret and Lyn Stone. It was an honor to be asked, as they were well established authors and I was a relative newbie. In fact such a newbie was I that it was my first ever novella, and I didn’t have a clue how long a novella should be.

It was my first-ever Christmas story, and to prepare myself for writing it, I read several other Christmas stories, and discovered that I loved them.  I submitted mine at something like 46,000 words, and my editor wrote back, saying it should be a maximum of 30,ooo. So I had a quite a bit of cutting to do. However cutting always improves a book, I think, even though it’s quite a painful process.

I try not to lose anything important, so it’s a matter of pruning out unnecessary bits and writing tighter, punchier sentences.

I didn’t read the other stories in the book until it was published and a few copies arrived in the post, so there was no attempt to link the stories, apart from them all being Christmas stories. 

Then Mills and Boon (which is Harlequin UK) decided to release my story in a collection with two different authors — Gayle Wilson (from the USA) and UK author Nicola Cornick. They called it Regency Brides, and that’s the cover on the right.

I didn’t know Gayle — we’ve since become FaceBook friends — but I knew Nicola, and after I’d read the collection (again when my author copies arrived in the post) we joked that it could easily be called “Battered Bridegrooms” as each of the heroes in the collection had some kind of injury.

If you have the choice between any of these editions, my favorite collection is the Regency Brides one. The paperback is still around in used bookstores and amazon US is selling it here, but it’s pricey.

Since I discovered that I really enjoyed reading (and writing) Christmas novellas, I’ve written several. Two were in collections with the Word Wenches — Mischief and Mistletoe, and The Last Chance Christmas Ball

They were a bit tough to write as because there were so many of us, the stories had to be even shorter than 30,000 words. More like half that. So as usual, I wrote the story I wanted to write, and then worked hard to cut it back to the required word length.

The Last Chance Christmas Ball was also a linked series of stories — all based around Lady Holly’s annual Christmas Ball, reputed to be the occasion where people will meet their life partners. That was fun, but again I had to cut for word length. It’s the story of my life, really. <g>

And then I wrote and published my own Christmas story, The Christmas Bride. I enjoyed writing it and I plan to write and self-publish more in the future. Do you like Christmas stories?

The ARRA Signing in Sydney

I took a lot of photos of the various authors signing in Sydney, but am sharing mostly the historical romance ones here. 
And I’m wrestling with the software, so please forgive the wonky arrangement of this post.

First up is Charlotte Anne.

Isn’t her banner stunning? A lot of the authors there had large, striking banners on display.

I felt very remiss by not having one, but it’s just too cumbersome to drag around on planes, trains and taxis

Next is Clyve Rose, who had an impressive array of swag, including this lovely bird-cage-like display.

She also brought her daughter. In fact quite a few young readers were in attendance, which was lovely to see.

Next — and I’m doing this in order of their first names — is Danielle who was one of the organizers. She’s with some silly person in a feather hat.

Actually it’s just an old sun-hat and I wound a feather boas around it. I thought I ought to do something, seeing I didn’t have any swag or a banner or anything. 

Dani looked fabulous in a lovely purple outfit, and spent her time helping out. Thanks Dani. Also thanks to Debbie, the ARRA chair and superwoman organizer, who didn’t want her photo taken.

On your left is Donna Maree Hanson, who doesn’t write historicals, but since she and I were sharing a table, 

I wanted to include her. Donna writes a variety of fantasy novels.

On the right is Heather Boyd, another historical romance writer.

On the left of the screen we have one of the most enthusiastic and generous readers ever — Helen Sibbritt, who reads and reviews hundreds of books a year. And she loves historicals!

She’s standing with me, this time without the silly feather hat.
I often wear a boa in some form or other at these events, and at romance conferences. 

They’re easy to wear — I usually have them on a hat or on my head, as they tend to get a bit hot and prickly around the neck. I’m not fashionista, so I choose to be silly and feathered instead. <g>

On the right we have Joanne Austen Brown, who was at her first signing.
Go, Joanne!



And here I am with the star of the day, Julia Quinn. She was amazing — signing non-stop the whole day and never flagging with her friendly smile, and happily  jumping up to have her photo taken with people. 

Over JQ’s shoulder you can just see the other star of the signing, Audrey Carlan, who was so bright and bubbly and friendly, but I’m only featuring historical writers in this post, so . . . 

Here  on the right is Michelle Montebello, who writes Australian historical fiction. Her book The Quarantine Station has been hugely popular.

On the left we have Samara Parish whose historicals have the most gorgeous covers. 

And they’re Regency, my favorite historical era.

It was really heartwarming to see so many young and gorgeous new(ish) authors writing historicals.

Who said historicals were dead? They’ve been saying that for decades and it never happens.

As you can see from her banner, Tamara Gill, on the right, writes Regency and Time Travel romance — what a great combination, eh?

And they’re doing really well, so if you’ve never tried Regency Time travel you might want to check her out.

And finally we have Tanya Nellestein. Can you guess what she writes? Yes, the gorgeous banner is a dead giveaway, isn’t it?

So there we have most of the historical writers who were at the Sydney ARRA signing.

I say “most’ because I have to admit, I haven’t read them all and I know I  have missed some.
So many new writers — it’s very exciting — but quite a few had their QR code on display, and my phone camera kept picking up the code and connecting me with their sites, and I didn’t realize until later, when I noticed the photos didn’t all come out.
Stay tuned for others at the Sydney signing in the next post. And after that, Melbourne.


ARRA finalist

ARRA (the Australian Romance Readers Association) has announced the finalists for their annual awards — the books their members loved to read last year, and I was delighted to see that I’m a finalist in four categories.

Favourite Historical Romance 2022
The Rake’s Daughter by Anne Gracie

Favourite Continuing Romance Series 2022
The Brides of Bellaire Gardens by Anne Gracie

Favourite Australian Romance Author 2022
Anne Gracie

Favourite Romance Cover of 2022
The Rake’s Daughter by Anne Gracie (Berkley)

The full list of finalists is here.

Thank you to the members of ARRA, and the volunteers who organize these wonderful awards.

And congratulations to all the finalists!