Lisa Manifold

Writing From the Top of the Street

Category: Blog (page 1 of 7)

What’s on the agenda?

Here we are at the end of March, and I’m looking at the beginning of second quarter, which I mentioned in the last blog post a couple of weeks ago. I’m looking at what I’ve done writing-wise.

Here it is so far:

Book 1 of new series (novel)
Started book 2 of the same series (novel)
Started book 1 of another new series (novel)
Started novella for PNR project

Romance Pen Name
Jan novella
Feb novella
March novella
April novella
April novella
May novella
June novella
One part of group novella

Fun Pen Name #2
Short story 1
Short story 2
Short story 3
Short story 4

Sci Fi Pen Name
Started book 1 of new series
Wrote a novella for a shared world series

What I need to do still:
Finish book 2 of new series (Lisa)
Finish book 1 of second new series (Lisa)
Finish novella for PNR project (Lisa)
Finish book 1 of sci fi series (Sci Fi Pen Name)
Plot book 3 of new series (Lisa)
Plot books 2 – 3 of second new series (Lisa)
Plot books 1-3 of RH series (Lisa)
Plot books 2-3 of sci fi series (Sci Fi Pen Name)
Plot 5 book series for contemporary romance (Rom Pen Name)

This all needs to be done by the end of May. If I get all of the above done – and I will – I will have all my publishing goals ready to be met through the summer. That allows me to write through the summer in my Lisa stories, and both pen name stories. I want to finish writing all my books for the year by the end of the summer.

Summer is bracketed by two big events for me. Denver Pop Culture Con at the end of May and then Dragon Con at the end of August. I’m working at both and will be on panels and on the exhibitors floor. I’m really excited for both, and will be showcasing a couple of books at both that won’t be available anywhere else for a time. As we get closer to Denver Pop Culture Con, look for three different cover reveals, and I’ll share my pen name with the folks in my newsletter.

Pen names are weird. I’m not sure I’m going to out myself – at the moment, I think I am. I might even out myself in regard to my romance pen name. I don’t know.

At the beginning of the year, I was really intimidated by the thought of pen names. Now, I like having several different genres to work on. Right now, I just finished a metric ton of contemporary romance. I’m writing PNR, urban fantasy, and sci fi,  and I love having so many projects to work on.  Today, it’s all about the edits. And then back to the writing.

Cover reveals are coming soon. Promise!!! As a teaser, because they are done, I’ll leave you with this.

First Quarter of 2019… what’s cookin’?

So here we are in March, last month of first quarter. I’ve been pretty quiet as far as publishing this year so far.

There’s a reason for that. I’ve been writing my fingers off. By the end of March, I plan to have nearly 400,000 words in first draft format. And boy, do I have some amazing new things coming.

My romance pen name is rolling merrily along. I publish every month with a group of authors under that name. We write short story contemporary romance, and I’m having a ball. I’m ahead at the moment, working on my project three months out. Which for me, is great.

For you all, you’re like… uh, hello? Where’s all the things you’re supposed to be writing under Lisa’s name?

Well, those are coming. The Dragon Thief is in production. I have two new series that are also coming out this year that are in active production as well. I kept trying to fend them off, but I was dreaming about them. That’s when you listen to your subconscious, folks. It was time to get those series started. I’m really glad that I have. It’s given my creativity a boost.

I also, as I told you all earlier, have changed up how I’m working. I have goals. LOL, a lot of them, actually. And what I have finally figured out is that I need to write more words to reach my goals. So I laid out a plan, and I am working the plan. There are a few hiccups, mostly because I can’t write 24/7 as I’d like to. People in the house need to eat. Be taken places. Laundry. Thing like that.

So that is what I am doing. Focusing on getting the words going. I recently upgraded my Dragon dictation software, and dusted those skills off. That’s helping, although it’s not like riding a bike. You need to put some time in to be efficient at it if you’ve not been dictating for a while.

What can you look forward to? After I share with my newsletter folks, I’ll be sharing the cover and snippet from my new book one that is debuting at Denver Pop Culture Con. There may be more than one, but I am making no promises.

I have a new paranormal romance also coming out in May that I’m working on with other authors, and this one promises to be really fun. That’s on the schedule for the next week or so.

I’ll have at least three new series this year, although I’m not tying myself down to dates at this point. But it’s time for all three of them, so you’ll be one of the first to hear and see the covers! I can’t wait to share them with you! Sitting on covers is one of the toughest things for me because I am always so in love with them.

There’s more – but I’m not willing to say anything more. I feel like my head has a non-stop hamster wheel in it. It’s always going, and while that sounds exhausting, it’s exhilarating! Just an update. Just to let you all know that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’m working, and my creativity is flowing, which is absolutely marvelous. I’m really happy with the things that are in the pipeline, and I can’t wait to share them with you all!

Not much longer, I promise. Now it’s back to work for me!


Welcome to 2019!

So to recap, 2018 was challenging. I had a lot come up in non-author life that made author life a tad more difficult. Despite that, I managed to publish six novels and three novella/short stories between my name and my pen name. It’s nothing to sneeze at. I’m annoyed, however, because it was not what I wanted. LOL, you know, in that way where we get kind of snitty that what we wanted didn’t happen.

The fact that I didn’t DO the things… well, that is beside the point. Details, schmetails.

I do recognize this fact – that one must do the things. I started my personal evaluation after Thanksgiving, to see where I could improve. And I’ve come up with a few things. I want to share them with you, because I learn a lot by reading what others have gone through.

1. Decide what is important. 

For me, I have to balance my author life with non-author life. I’d love to go hide away in a cabin in the woods in permanent mild winter with consistent grocery delivery, but that is not going to happen. My non-author life has a prominent place in my life, in how important it is to me, and all the things I need to do in my non-author roles. Complaining is NOT going to get the job done.

What does that mean for my author life? It means I need to use the time I have when non-author life is at a lull. That means, when school is in session. I need to maximize that time. I’ve laid out what needs to happen for my author life. That way, once it’s time for Mom/Wife/Taxi driver/Keeper of the Keys/etc. to take over, I can, and not be bitter about the fact that I still have more things to do.

I’m always going to have more things to do. I have so many ideas I want to write, I can barely keep up with them all. I have them listed on a page close to my desk. So that I don’t forget them. I add to the list as inspiration strikes. I am not going to run out of ideas. I’m not even getting into the publisher side of being an author. I’m still working on fitting that in.

Nor is my non-author life going to slow down. I’ve got a number of years before the family things become less prominent.

I’ve chosen to divide my day. My life is smoother when I manage all my bits while people are in school, so that’s what I’m going to do. Deciding to accept that was tough. But I have, and so my days are more settled. I also decided that I am not going to work on the weekends. When I planned out how much I want to write, I did so on a five-day week. And I took off a couple of weeks for holidays.

I’ve also been practicing since I began making these decisions. It’s not easy but I know I can do it. It’s a matter of sticking to the things that have to get done. I managed it during my practice time. I can do this moving forward.

2. Decide what is NOT important.

I love learning about my business. I could talk aspects of business until I fell over blue in the face. I find my business fascinating. However, trying to learn all the things that all my colleagues do all the time – that doesn’t allow for the most important thing, which is to write. I looked at the courses and classes I took, to see which brought value, and what I put into practice.

I’ve streamlined my courses and learning for 2019. I have one big course I am working through, and I will go from there. Sometimes, I think we get in our own way. That may not be true for everyone. I know people that can juggle a college course load of classes while still writing. I’ve had to accept I am not one of them. Until I make it through this big course I’m doing, I’m not going to take on anymore. Trust me, that is HARD. I LOVE courses. But there is finite time, and I have a goal to meet. Which is more important?

Take a look at what you’ve been doing to help further your business. Has it helped? Did you learn something valuable to you? Was it worth the time invested? If any of those are a ‘no’, or even a ‘maybe not’, you need to re-evaluate whether you need so much learning. Particularly if it’s at the expense of your craft.

And I know this is not for everyone. If this is not you, ignore this piece on courses – but take a good look at what is important in your life. Look at your goals. Are the things you are doing helping, or hurting? For me, I know I need to stay the heck off Facebook. I read a lot while messing around on it, and that needs to slow way down for me.

Be honest. Not only about what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it. It’s okay to love to do something. There’s nothing wrong with you  doing things you love. But if you’re trying to manage a creative’s schedule, be honest about the things you add to it. (I get twenty minutes to read on Facebook at night, LOL. That’s my compromise.)

3. Narrow down your goals.

Boy, am I guilty of this one. I have ALLLLL the goals. ALLLLL of them. I want them ALLLLL.

Totally unrealistic. I cannot achieve them all yesterday. I made a list of what was important, from most to least. To me, these goals are all important but I had an honest debate with myself about which were more important. Now I know which I need to attain sooner rather than later.

For example, I have a word count goal for 2019. I’m working on it today, right after I finish this post. That is finite, doable, and a goal that will be met within a year. Within that goal, I have daily, weekly, and monthly word counts. This keeps me on track, and focused. I have a small, medium, and larger goal. This is also one I’ve been practicing, and I’m finding that breaking the elephant of my monster word goal into daily numbers allows me to take one bite at a time from the goal. At the end of the year, I expect to meet my goal, if not exceed it.

There is also a goal for something I want to do for my family. I have three to five years to attain that goal. I can make progress every year, but I don’t have to get it done tomorrow. It’s a goal that will be met by me meeting the smaller goals.

Finally, I have a ten year goal. I know where I want things to be for me as an author in ten years, and I need to make progress each year to that goal. At the end of 2019, I’ll take a look at my goals, and see what I did in 2019 to meet them. Then I evaluate what needs to change to get closer to them. I also plan to look down the list to see what might be able to be achieved as I’m rolling along.

LOL, can you tell I love lists? They help me to organize my thinking. Lord knows I need it.

The point is, make a list of your goals. Be honest about what you can achieve during a certain time period. And be okay with some taking longer than others. I personally believe that as long as you are making progress toward them, you are doing well.

4. Take time for yourself.

This is a big one for me. I do not take personal, lazy, no-scheduled time for myself. I’ve been working on doing something to feed my artistic side weekly, AND IT IS TOUGH.  When you wear many hats, personal time usually doesn’t get one. But it’s time to make a personal time hat, and insist that not only other people, but YOU honor it. I will be honest – forcing myself to do the things I have set up for myself has been the hardest part about “personal time.”

Self-care is also included in this. I started working out this year, and it has not been easy. Part of it is taking the time for yourself (see above) and part of it is dragging your ass to whatever it is you’ve scheduled. I’ve been going to a gym regularly now for four months, and I am seeing the payoff from it. I feel it – I feel better. I’m sleeping better – and that makes SOOOO many things work better. Now I just need to eat less crap. I’m an avowed junk food junkie. I stopped drinking my diet soda for the umpteenth time, but this time, I’m sticking to it.

Take care of yourself. If you’re an author, you spend a lot of time with butt in chair. It’s easy to grow roots. But do something for you, for your health – just one little thing a day. Like one less soda. Or take a side of vegetables instead of the fries. Go for a bike ride, or even a walk around the block. Something.

We only have one body. In spite of the threats of AI taking over the world, you can’t easily get another one.

5. Learn to say NO.

In loud tones. We do not have to do all the things for all the organizations and all the people who ask. I don’t like saying no. I prefer to say yes, and be a part of helping others to get to a goal. (It’s much easier to focus on the goals of others than our own….) I like helping other solve problems. I’m a volunteer. I’m a doer.

But toward the end of 2018, I realized that I was saying yes to others more than I was saying yes to myself. While that makes me a heck of a helper, it doesn’t help me help myself. I don’t mean you need to turn into Scrooge here, and bah-humbug everyone that comes near you. What I mean is being honest about what you are being asked to do.

Does it take from my creative time?

Does it take from my family time?

Does it take from my me time?

If yes to any of the above, how much? Can you spare it? If you can, and saying yes to others gives you something positive, then go for it.

If you find yourself thinking about your art, your family, your self-care – you need to reassess if this is a good investment in your time. We cannot be everything to everyone. We just can’t. And you sure can’t if you are not being everything to yourself.

For me, for right now, I need to put me first. I already have a lot of demands on my time with my non-author life. I only have a certain, designated time for me to be creative, to make my art. So if I’m going to take away from that, it has to hit a lot of marks for me. I’ll tell you honestly, this was the hardest piece of this post to write. No one wants to be seen as a stingy miser – not with money, not with time. And I sort of felt like that. But I pushed through. I need to speak for me, and my time. If I don’t, no one else will.

Before you say yes again – ask yourself the three questions above. Weigh as to whether it gives you enough in return to give up from those pieces of your time. If it does not, say NO.  And don’t feel bad.

I hope this helps you all. Putting this post together really helped me, and it’s helping me to not only focus on my creative time to write, but the time with my family. It’s allowing me to take care of ME.

And that is the best way to start a new year. Peace and love to you all.



It’s fall, finally…

…and wow, what a summer it’s been. My oldest entered high school, and without knowing it, due to extracurricular activities, I took on another job, LOL! The summer flew by!

Dragon Con was fantastic! It was so great to meet new people, and see old friends. It’s one of my favorite cons. Thanks for stopping by at the panels and at Bard’s Tower.

So what’s new on the reader/writer front? DRAGON FOUND came out in August, and Createspace (those of you who saw me at Denver Comic Con understand this) finally delivered all my copies of the books I’d ordered. So I was able to get print copies of THE COMPANION TALES VOL II out into the world, and what a good feeling that was! I love seeing all those stories about the people of the Realm. I hope you all enjoy them.

Currently, I’m working on DRAGON REVEALED (book 3 in the Dragon Thief series), and DEFENDERS OF THE REALM (book 4 in the Aumahnee Prophecy series) and those will be out by the end of the year. I’ve got two more books in the Dragon Thief, and one left in Aumahnee – it’s hard to believe those series are heading towards the last books! When I started them, the end seemed so far away.

Then I will be moving into new series – and I’m really excited about them. LOL, I have to finish the current series first. As a writer, those sexy series ideas birds in the bush are always so much more alluring the series bird in the hand. I wondered for a long time if that was just me, and it’s not. Most of the writers I have talked to about it struggle with hand vs bush in terms of appeal.

Speaking of other writers, I spent a lot of time hanging out with my tribe. Some are my well-known friends. If you follow me on Facebook, you know I did a #30dayslive challenge this summer. Talking to your phone feels odd at first. But now, it’s old hat. My writer friends and I have started a page on Facebook called Authors Unwritten where we discuss the various aspects of being a writer. Some are more author specific than others, but as I watch them all, I enjoy seeing the perspectives of my friends.

I also spent more time getting to know people I didn’t know as well, and with whom I might not have had as much in common career-wise. It was a good lesson in not limiting yourself. I have made new friends, which is always a good thing.

It’s not been as productive as I would have liked. When you work from home, and your kids are still minors, they, and your family concerns come first. Except for deadlines with publishing – when that happens, I put on my headphones and no one talks to me unless bleeding, loosing an appendage, or the house is on fire. But other than that, family comes first. I’m fortunate that I can make that choice, but holy hell, it plays merry hob (guess who I quoted?) with my writing schedule sometimes.

The long and short of this is that I have taken care of all the fires that have popped up this summer, and am ready for the fall. So tallyho, to quote Miss Charming from Austenland. Let’s get busy!

Post Comic Con blues…

Well, here it is Thursday. A week ago this time, I was finishing up with my set up for Denver Comic Con 2018. I got up at the crack of dawn and hurried over to the Convention Center so I could meet my partners and get things going.

Today, I rolled out of bed at 9 am. Practically decadence.

I love cons. All cons. No matter whether I work at them, attend them, or help with them. There’s an energy, a vibe–at any and all cons I’ve ever been to.

This year, Denver Comic Con was one of the best.

What made it different, and better? I had the same two partners-in-crime, Shawn Harper and Corinne O’Flynn. We work extremely well together, and they are fun to be with. We all had more books. There was more to talk about, to share.

But the people at Con made all the difference. The fans I got to meet, or see again, and talk books with. There is nothing like talking the intricacies of plot with a fellow reader. The other authors I was able to chat with about new releases, marketing, the latest on-dit in the indie world. Trends, things we’re noticing…it was fantastic. Being on panels and discussing not only the ins and outs of being an author, but things I am a fan of as well – the Outlander panel, the Wynonna panel,  and the fan fiction panel were probably my faves because of the audience participation. I love being around other fans.

And I love working a table on the exhibitor floor. I love the energy, people looking for something new, wanting to find a new world to dive into. As well as meeting up again with people who are already reading your work. In my case, I enjoyed meeting the fans of my partners’ work. When any one of the three of us succeeds, we all succeed.

The volunteer staff are some of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with. They are responsive, and, while this may seem trivial – they make sure you stay hydrated all weekend long. They were amazing.

But the thing I noticed most was that I was home. I was with my tribe. My tribe of fellow authors. My tribe of fellow readers. My tribe of fellow fans. (It is SO gratifying to continue to find Labyrinth fans. I just cannot describe the joy!)

When I made the decision to take on being an author as a career, I was scared to death. There were, back in 2013, lots of posts about ‘don’t quit your day job’ and other dire warnings. Not to mention the whole idea of finishing a book. I was updating my author CV this week, and I counted – I have authored 16 full-length novels and 4 novellas under 2 different names. The novellas are co-written, as are two of the novels.  I’ve got 2 novels in the works (that I am avoiding tasks on as I write this blog, LOL) for the next month, and my Wish List to write is never-ending.

I’m three years in, and I’m getting to the point where I don’t struggle so mightily with impostor syndrome. I feel like I can call myself an author, and not cringe, or hope that no one challenges me.  I finally feel as though I have a very good idea of what I need to do in order to get where I want to go. Trying to figure that out took…oh…a while.

Because being around all the people that I was lucky enough to be around this weekend has told me it’s all worth it. Every bit of it. This is the community where I want to hang my hat; this is the world I want to live in.

You know, if I can’t live in one of my imaginary worlds.

Thank you to everyone who made Comic Con the absolute best. It was amazing. I can’t wait to do it again.

April is here – what’s shakin’, bacon?

Lots. That’s what’s shakin’. Lots.

First, YAY! The entire Djinn Everlasting series is OUT! It’s complete! That means I have completed both of the series I wanted to within a year. The Realm and Djinn Everlasting are done. That doesn’t mean they’re gone – just that the series are complete.

How can I say that? Well, DRAGON LOST, the first book in the Dragon Thief series, launched at the end of March. It’s about Aodan George. He’s a thief. And a dragon. These two aspects present…challenges. In DRAGON LOST, you’ll see some familiar faces. Series may end, but that doesn’t mean characters go quietly into the night. Not mine, anyway.

DRAGON FOUND will be out in May, and the third book in June…just in time for Denver Comic Con!

That’s another YAY! I love the Denver Comic Con weekend and not only do I have a booth there with my awesome partners Corinne O’Flynn and Shawn Harper, I’m a guest and will be sharing knowledge on panels of some sort (more on that to come). At least, I hope to share knowledge. I’ll definitely fangirl with folks. There’s no question of that. So stay tuned for booth info, and panel info, and all the things.

Corinne and I will also have the second novel in our Aumahnee Prophecy series out for Denver Comic Con as well. Which is just as exciting as anything I’m writing solo.

The summer is two things – family, and writing. I have an ambitious schedule this year, and so far, I’ve hit my deadlines. It ramps up for me over the summer because while plotting the Dragon Thief books, I came up with another idea. There is NEVAH enough time for all the IDEAZ!!!! #writerslife

The summer wraps up with Dragon Con. I just got the word that I’m an attending professional again, and I am delighted! To be a guest at one of my favorite cons is such an amazing thing. I get to do it twice this year. Again, stay tuned for panels and info.

I’m leaving you all with the most amazing cover image for DRAGON LOST. Thank you to my friend CK Dawn for her amazing work with this. I could watch the wavy dragon for hours. It’s huge, I know – but boy is the whole thing gorgeous! Steve Novak did the cover, and Dean Samed and Daniel Gemsa were the photographer and model. One of the best things about being all in to my cover design is how I am able to pick the models, and work with the artists. It’s a wonderful thing.

Djinn Everlasting!

Oh my God, I’m so excited!

In December of 2015, I released THREE WISHES. I had been writing the story for years, and it’s one of the books that is really close to my heart. (They all are, but in different ways.) I had great plans for the next two books – and then I got caught up in my Realm series. While I love Brennan and Iris and all the stories of The Realm, it meant that Tibby, Xavier, Bryant, and Dhameer languished, waiting for me to get back to them.

A little over two years later, I have remedied the neglect. Last month, Xavier’s story went live in FORGOTTEN WISHES. In five days, Bryant’s story is out in the world in HIDDEN WISHES. I have so so enjoyed getting to know this group of friends. I thought I knew Tibby, but she and I got to be even better friends as I wrote the stories of her two besties.

The best part of many best parts is that while all this creating and getting-to-know-you business was going on, Dhameer shared his story. If you have read either THREE WISHES or FORGOTTEN WISHES, the link for the first part of his story is in those two books. With HIDDEN WISHES coming out, the second part of Dhameer’s story is about to happen. What’s fun for me is that I sat down to write Part Two, and I had an outcome in mind. That went completely out the window, and a different ending happened.


I’ll be in party mode for the next week or so. This trilogy is a work of love, as are all my books. And to discover that Dhameer has his own story, and that it’s FAB, has made the love all the better.

I hope you all enjoy it as much as I have!

Smooches and xoxo,



It’s almost 2018…

And wow, where has the year gone?

I feel like I was just doing a post about 2017.

I hit a lot of my goals this year. But there are some I missed, and I feel like I’m at the point where they are about to be met.

First, I am finally done with the series about the djinn. I’m renaming it – from Heart of the Djinn to Djinn Everlasting. There’s a reason for this, and if you pick up any one of the books, you’ll see why. Dhameer has finally given me his story, and I’m really excited to share it with you. I’m relaunching book one, THREE WISHES – which is already out there. But I wanted to do the series justice, so I pulled the book, and I’m starting it over. Book two, FORGOTTEN WISHES, will be out January 24, and is already on pre-order. Book three, HIDDEN WISHES, will be out February 21. And then the series will be complete! YaY!!!!

Second, if you are one of my amazing readers that has subscribed to my newsletter, you might notice some changes. I think it’s a good thing, but you all will have to let me know.  Keep an eye out!

Finally, you’re about to see a TON from me in terms of publishing. I have a new series that will be out in March, and I am SO. EXCITED. for this series! I’m working on the covers right now (I think that may be my fave thing outside of the book itself) and you’ll be seeing them soon. It’s called the Dragon Thief, and it’s about a guy named Aodan. (Hint – you all have seen this name somewhere before.)

So that’s it from me – I’m getting ready for THREE WISHES coming out again, and the rest of the Djinn Everlasting series. Then it’s on to Dragon Thief, and there will be more Aumhanee stories as well. The second book in The Aumahnee Prophecy is scheduled, as is the second installment of the stories Corinne O’Flynn and I began in THE PORTAL KEEPERS and THE GIMCRACKERS.  If you remember Penelope, you’ll be seeing her in 2018 as well.

It’s gonna be an amazing year. Happy holidays to you all, and be safe. Have a wonderful New Year, and I’ll see you 2018!


Up too late reading…

This has been a busy summer and fall, and all of a sudden, it’s nearly winter. Well, it’s trying to be, here in Colorado. I’m in the midst of working through National Novelists’ Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and although it’s been four days of no words, because life,  I spent the last day reading.

In my defense,  I spent the day before at a bazaar, and then another author event, so I am giving myself a pass.

And here I am, up late – or early – as hell, because I slept in this morning, and couldn’t sleep. That, and I got caught up in reading.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a speed reader. I took a semester-long class in school, and I’ve been able to race through books ever since.  Tonight, I made it through a series that had me laughing so hard I cried. Like, snorting crying laughing. It woke up the dog in the vicinity and he started to growl ominously at me. I think his eyesight’s on the way out, so I won’t hold it against him. I did burst out laughing.

I also laughed in all of the books, which means the author was amazeballs at keeping up the humor. Her dialogue is hilarious, as are the characters themselves. They think in funny. I know we all think we’re friggen comedians, but the main characters in the series are, and they don’t even know it.

So without further gilding of the lily, the series is called THE REGENCY ROMP. It’s by Maggie Fenton. The first book is THE DUKE’S HOLIDAY, the second VIRTUOUS SCOUNDREL, and the final is called THE ALABASTER HIP (is that a great name or what?).

These are Regency romances. They follow the genre well, which, as a lover of Regency, I’m glad about. They are not overly steamy, although there is definite heat and a bit of steam. So if you’re looking for multiple sizzling encounters, these are not it. Don’t let that deter you, however.

We meet the first of the cast of characters in THE DUKE’S HOLIDAY.  The Duke of Montford (called Cyril by no one ever), has to head to York to sort out a family who has a lease on one of the ducal estates. There’s a hint that somehow, the Honeywell family got one over on the Montfords, and while the current Montford has no idea what it is, he’s all out of sorts about it. He’s so funny – even at the beginning, when you start to realize that he’s really not. That funny borders on frenzy.

So he is all determined to make things neat and tidy and boot the scheming Honeywells out on their upstart arses, but of course, it doesn’t go the way he plans. The way that Maggie Fenton shows you his progression from neat and orderly to real and living is both heartbreaking and howlingly funny. Ms. Fenton is brilliant with words. Witness:

“Marlowe sniffed. “And it’s no less than you deserve. Really, Monty, don’t know what’s come over you. But even I don’t tup a wench in the middle of the King’s Highway. It’s just bad form.””

I stopped reading to sit and laugh for a good five minutes over this scene. A great deal of the dialogue is like this. God help whoever comes across Aunt Anabel, as well. She needs her own story. I’m just saying, Maggie Fenton.

There is also a Wesley, and a Princess Buttercup. I knew when I was reading this I was reading a fellow fangirl. Which warmed my fangirl heart.

The second book is VIRTUOUS SCOUNDREL. This book focuses on Sebastion (I love that name) Sherbrook, the Duke of Montford’s BFF, a couple of years after the happenings in book one.

Virtuous Scoundrel (The Regency Romp Trilogy Book 2) by [Fenton, Maggie]

He’s coming home after rattling around through Europe, and he lands face first into a scandal of monstrous proportions. Apparently, he’s been a complete rake whilst on the Continent, and a weeping, formerly virtuous young lady has confessed all to her father. Dad is now demanding Sherbrook marry said formerly virtuous daughter. He’s also inherited the title of Marquess of Manwaring, but that doesn’t stop his descent into social Siberia.

He’s also plagued by the wife of the recently deceased Marquess, who happened to be his uncle. They were estranged, and it was never reconciled. The Dowager Marchioness Katherine, who was far too young for his uncle (IMO) haunts him. We met her in book one, and she was cool as a cucumber and droll as hell. But still waters run deep for both Sebastion and Katherine, as does their love of Beethoven. The descriptions surrounding the scenes where music is forefront are lovely.

The witty writing continues. Ms. Fenton titles her chapters. As a fellow author, I commend her. I never feel clever enough to title mine, and she titles every single one.

Things like:

In Which Our Hero’s Hessians Die An Ignoble Death
In Which Fate Takes an Unexpectedly Unpleasant Turn in the Dodgy Part of Soho
Followed by a chapter break, titled Meanwhile, in the Chic Part of Soho…
In Which The Bad French Melodrama Proceeds Apace on Bruton Street

The chapter titles are just the openers. Romance aside, this is where we meet Soames, a secondary character that pops up and mangles the ever-loving daylights out of what is supposed to be the English language, and you just cannot help yourself. You lean back, and laugh some more.

Katherine and Sebastian, like Montford and A. Honeywell in book one, have a metric ton of challenges that face them. I would like to think I could be so droll and witty in times of crises, but I’m not sure I would be.

Finally, in THE ALABASTER HIP (note to Ms. Fenton – your poetry was fine, and it came from the heart), the main focus is Marlowe, the non-King’s Highway tupper from book one. He’s the last of the BFFs to be a swinging single, and while he moves about London dressed in a manner I had to Google, he’s not thrilled with being a bachelor, no matter how resigned he is.

In comes Minerva (we’ve met her before, and if you’re a good romance reader, you were waiting for her to show up, as Ms. Fenton gave us a hint earlier in the series if you were looking), the woman he (and all of London, frankly) is hoping will wrangle Marlowe’s twins into some semblance of seemingly law-abiding behavior as the latest in a string of governesses. She is feisty as hell, taking no shit from anyone.

This book was where I KNEW, having merely Strongly Suspected before, that Ms. Fenton is a member of some sort of fandom, because she brings one of the things close to my heart into her work – fanfiction. The Author’s Note at the back explains it further, and it was fascinating. I went and Googled that, too (I’m not telling you what it is, because it’s a pleasure to discover as you read the book).

The Leighton family matters come to a head as well (Marlowe is a Leighton) and you will roll your eyes at the unabashed and blatant behavior of some of his relations. Honestly, when I realized where this series was going, I was concerned about how Marlowe would hold up as a hero. As the sidekick and devil-may-care he has been up until getting his own book, it’s legit. But Ms. Fenton did a great job bringing him up to snuff for the hero’s…um…red Chinese silk banyan cape (another trip to Google). Finally, he’s at the place where he can put it on, and we are like, Yeah, that works. Previous books – no.

Both Marlowe and Minerva have baggage to disperse with and ghosts to face, and it was realistic, to me, at least, how these matters were addressed. The hilarity of dialogue and turn of phrase continues. The chapters are all still titled. Chapter Sixteen, In Which The Viscount Suspects Something is Amiss is so tongue in cheek, you’ll burst into laughter several times throughout. Well – how about you should burst into laughter?

Aunt Anabel is back and can I please request, again, that her story be written? She is my kind of aged auntie. I also want to know who was still making her pompadour wigs in the time period. The descriptions are fascinating.

As this is a romance, there is a happy ending. Not just for Marlowe and Minerva, but for a lot of the characters we’ve met along the way. Which I love.

I am giving all three books a thumbs-up and a recommend you should read. These won’t change the world. But they will make you laugh, and as unbelievable as some of the challenges presented in the books seem, they are approached and led up to in a manner which makes you say, Well, yeah, I can see how that could happen. You will keep turning the pages (I know I did) because the characters are real, and flawed, and you like them. The redemption of Marlowe was fantastic – and he wasn’t a villain or anything, but we didn’t meet him a hero.

Well done. I might need to read these again, because I liked the way reading them made me feel. Which is the highest praise from me. I’m a re-reader. So if your books get into my loop, that says something.

Now go get the first book. If you read Regency, you’ll be glad you did.


It’s time to Con again!!!!!!

So it’s that time of year again! WOOO HOOO! I am so excited, although this year is a funny one for me. I’m working as an Attending Professional this year rather than a person living out all her fangirl dreams. If you look down at the bottom of the post, you’ll see my schedule. And make sure you keep up with my Facebook and Instagram (. I’ll be posting updates throughout the weekend.

It’s really exciting because – Dragon Con. But it’s funny because I am taking only two costumes, which is the lowest amount of costumes ever brought by me. I have more regular clothes than costumes. Another first. I have only ONE suitcase. Yet another first, LOL!

If you’re at Dragon Con, I am on the app, so hit me up. Or message me. See you there soon!!

Title: Cast of Characters: Supernatural Variety in UF
Time: Fri 10:00 am Location: Chastain 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: One key aspect of Urban Fantasy remains the presence of supernatural beings. Our panel of authors employ different varieties in their work, many in roles as key characters.Title: Autograph Session
Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: International Hall South 4-5 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: Reading: Lisa Manifold
Time: Sun 04:00 pm Location: Techwood – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: The author of Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy series Sisters of the Curse reads from her works.

Title: Sidekicks ‘R Us: Secondary Characters in the Spotlight
Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: Chastain 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Do you sometimes wish your favorite secondary characters would get more attention? Our panelists agree & will explain the ways their creations add depth & enjoyment to their stories & worlds.

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