Is there a Realtor in the House?

I consider myself a relatively intelligent person. I passed Organic Chemistry for goodness sakes! But recently, I learned that despite watching HGTV home shows, I know absolutely nothing about buying a house.

I’m lucky my grandfather bought me home when I was in college. It’s served me well for a few years now, but with three sons, a nephew, and a dog, 1200 square feet isn’t enough space. So for a year or so now, the hubby and I have spoken about our dream home…or at least something with enough space to grow into…and beginning looking at listings to get a feel for what we wanted.

First off, you should know the hubby and I have different tastes. I actually enjoy cozy, smaller spaces, but with an open floor plan. The hubby would be happier with four walls and a roof with no rooms at all. (Not happening.) Neither am I turning a pole barn into a home. (Side eye at hubby.) Both of us grew up in manufactured homes, so my tastes veer toward those. I like modern. Hubby likes antique. But then the craziest thing happened….we finally agreed on something!

So…cue drumroll…we find a home built in the 1920’s with 3000 square feet, extremely close to my work, in an upscale area, that needs only a few, minor repairs to be perfect for us. There’s a potential to be modern, but with Southern charm. Great, right? Even better is the fact we saw this house last fall, fell in love with it, only to have a sale pending sign out front the next time we drove by. Lo and behold, it ended back on the market for $35,000 less a few days ago.

A sign? We thought so. So last weekend, we called up the listing agent and set up an appointment. The home was dated, to be sure, but the bare bones of this structure and the fact that it’s priced well below most homes in our area made it too good to be true.

Here’s where my first mistake came in. I had NO CLUE that you typically don’t ask a listing agent to show you a house. Say what?? Then why is their number on the sign? Honestly. Can someone explain this to me? I stumbled upon this tidbit while Googling. Cringeworthy moment, right? So now I’ve put myself in a single agent transaction, which apparently puts the buyer at a disadvantage of being unable to haggle prices with a realtor. I can work with this. We’re a small town, and this house has been on the market since June, and we’re happy with the asking price. If the agent and seller are okay with us using the same, I am.

But now this means, the hubby and I will have to haggle for the price on our own. The agent’s fiduciary responsibility is to the seller, which I understand, so I wouldn’t want a conflict of interest. My current plan is to email the listing agent, explain my lack of understanding, and ask if she would like me to go through another agent. It’s up to her. I can work either way. I already have my idea of asking prices anyway, and I plan to ask my cousin or friends for copies of their contracts so I can get an idea of what’s “normal”.

Next up…funding. I can’t shell out $100k on my own, so I called up my cousin who is a loan officer for a bank, but since her institution doesn’t deal with FHA loans, she can’t give us much help in the area. We then started searching online. Words like escrows and appraisals and closings have my head spinning. We move on to a mortgage company in a neighboring city, who approved us for a loan $30k over the asking price of the house. Good, right? Well now we have self-employment incomes to verify, taxes to gather, the list goes on and on and on….I’m terrified the pre-approval will fall through after we spend time and money getting to the point of real approval.

Next up, upfront money. How much do I need? What’s the max I’ll have to pay? Down payments terms I understand, but what happens when, who pays what, makes absolutely no sense to me. Can someone tell me how in the heck first time homeowners make it through this?? Maybe I’m just a worrywart, but I’m frightened out of my wits that something will happen that I can’t afford, or we’ll do something wrong, or we’ll miss something during inspections. (Which…guess what?….apparently inspections aren’t required! HUH?? Nope, just an appraisal. HGTV freaking LIED to me. Appraisals we have to pay for at $500 a pop, apparently.)

The other thing, besides my anxiety, is timing. I wanted to wait another 6-18 months to buy a home. Stars will align and financially we’d be in a much better position during that time period. But we don’t want to miss a chance on getting a home that has the potential to be a gem! I’ve already picked out paint colors and designed flooring concepts. (Flooring is one of the repairs we must do.)Good thing is I’m married to a woodworker/cabinet maker. The hubby is chomping at the bit to make an offer, while I’m trying to convince him there’s a potential the home may still be available in a couple months. After all, there is the down payment and closing costs to consider.

I need a primer on this, I really do. Anyone experience the same thing? I’ve learned Google isn’t helpful on the topic of mortgages at all. Everything I’ve learned about FHA seems to be the opposite of what I’m reading…even at the FHA website. The good news, though, is hopefully within the next 2 years, we’ll be proud homeowners!

Top Ten 80’s Rock Songs by Christy Gissendaner

I love the 80’s. I love everything about it. The big hair. The fashion. But most of all, I adore the music. I was only 12 when the 1990 arrived, but my taste in music definitely stayed in the Decade of Excess. In celebration of my new release, which focuses on a hot but tortured rock star hero, here’s my Top Ten list of Raddest Eighties Rock Songs, in no particular order of favorite, because let’s face it. No one can pick their favorite eighties song.


  1. Every Breath You Take by The Police – So it may not be the symbolic “rock” song, but this creepy stalker hit became an anthem of the 80’s.
  2. Tainted Love by Soft Cell – This electronica pop rock song remains one of my favorites, even regaining popularity in a jeans commercial in later decades.
  3. Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard – Big hair alert. Def Leppard rocked out with this party rock anthem.
  4. Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners – Ah…one of my favorites of all time. I never knew the actual lyrics until I was over thirty, but I sure sang the heck out of this, misheard lyrics and all.
  5. Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds – Hit song from The Breakfast Club. What more is there to say?
  6. Beat It by Michael Jackson – Self-avowed MJ freak right here.
  7. Welcome To The Jungle by Guns N Roses – Axl says it best. “Welcome to the jungle. We take it day by day. If you want it you’re gonna bleed, but it’s the price to pay. And you’re a very sexy girl that’s very hard to please.” Take that, Fifty Shades.(drops mic and walks away)
  8. In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins – Oh man, do I rock out to this song! I play air drums. Bang my head. Sing at the top of my lungs. Best thing? The husband does it with me. Okay, I lied. I may have an ultimate favorite eighties song after all…
  9. With Or Without You by U2 – What list is complete without Bono?
  10. You Give Love A Bad Name by Bon Jovi – The things I would do to Jon Bon Jovi. I can’t say them here on the basis they may be illegal.


So what do ya’ll think? Did some of your favorites make my list? I have tons more, but this sampling covers various rock genres that made my adolescence rock.

And speaking of rock…check out my latest release. Flashback is already available for download at All Romance and Barnes&Noble and on pre-sale at Amazon.


It’s 1985 and Percival Vane, the lead singer of Jericho, is the hottest thing in music. He has it all – the fans, the money, and a gig he adores – but underneath the smoke and flashing lights, he’s learned to bury his feelings. Battling lifelong addiction, he covers up the pain by pouring his heart into his music, penning lyrics that defy imagination and leave his fans breathless for more. Until the words stop coming.

Betsy Walker knows the dirty little secrets of life on the road. She was just such a secret, daughter of a popular 1960’s folk singer unwilling to compromise her career by raising a child. Betsy was weaned on glitter and disco, rocked to sleep by the strum of guitars. One thing she knows, she never wants to live the life her father set for her.

The absolute last thing Betsy wants is to fall for the lead singer of Jericho, who’s had more panties thrown at him on stage than most women wear in a lifetime. On summer break from college, she agrees to accompany her father on tour with Jericho and discovers beneath the guyliner and long hair is a songwriter who’s been misunderstood, molded into something he doesn’t want to be.

Can she help him find himself? Or will they both become victims of Percival’s quick rise to the top of the charts?

Christmas List and Prizes by Robin Danner

Have you heard about Love Lust and Laptop’s Hottest Christmas list contest? Check out the other blog posts or down below to learn how to win. But in the meantime, let’s talk Christmas Lists. More specifically in how to find the perfect prize for your significant other. Since I have yet to find my hubby the perfect gift, I’m probably not the one to ask for assistance, but let’s see if Nadia (the heroine in Bound) has any ideas.

Mathis is the prince of Isidor, who wants only peace for his kingdom. Unfortunately a rebellion threatens his home. Nadia is a captain in his brother’s army and is sent to bring him to Noventia for Talin’s wedding. Along the way they fall in love, but first they have to overcome the threat of rebellion before they can exchange gifts.

So what do you get a man who has everything?

Mathis is a scholarly ruler. He enjoys winemaking and books. So how about a manual on winemaking? Or perhaps a vineyard? Both are great choices for him.

Now if only it was so easy to find a present for my real life hubby….

To find out more about Mathis and Nadia, check out Bound, the first book in The Princes, a historical fantasy series that is being rereleased this winter.

the princes bound

Comment every day of the Hottest Christmas List event for more chances to win some great prizes! I’m giving away the entire Bad Angels trilogy to one lucky winner. Check out what else is up for grabs!

Belinda McBride Bad Angels books in E-format (3 books; 1 prize)
Emilia Mancini Seducing Kate in E-format
Jianne Carlo Manhandled, Sinner, and Prymal Lust in E-formats (3 prizes)
KaLyn Cooper Cancun Series in E-format (3 books; 1 prize)
Robin Danner Bound and Christmas Spirits in E-format (2 prizes)
Sara Daniel Captivating the CEO in E-format and One Night with the Bridal Party paperback copy (US only for print copy)
Tami Lund Into the Light in E-format and a silver paw print bracelet (US residents only for the bracelet). If winner is outside US – 2 EBooks – Into the Light & Dawning of Light, first & second in the Lightbearer series.
Annie Anthony One Exquisite Night in E-format and a burgundy surprise box (you’ll appreciate this surprise when you read the book!). US or Canadian residents only to win the box. Winner must be at least 18 years old. (2 prizes)

Grand Prize: a Diamond Necklace. Yep, you read that right.

Winners will be selected by and selected Dec 19th, announced on Dec 19 & 20th on the weekend blog. Winner must be in Continental US and Canada, due to shipping costs.
Please leave your email so we can contact you.
Thanks for playing and Good Luck!




The Princes are coming!

The first book I completed after becoming a mommy was Bound, book  1 of The Princes. The series was quickly signed with Liquid Silver Books and released over the next year or two. Sadly, the works never sold very well. Disappointing? Yes. But I continued the series, churning out five works before finally ending the series with Needed, book 5.

I’m proud to say that The Princes are being repackaged and rereleased this winter, starting today with Bound. I’m excited to breathe new life into my personal favorites.

Nadia is a kick-ass soldier who is sent to abduct the prince of a neighboring kingdom.

Mathis is a prince who’ll do anything to keep peace in his kingdom.

Each installment of The Princes features a Noventian noble or close friend, and each work showcases a different part of Noventian life.

The series is a fantasy historical, mostly taking place in the fictional kingdom of Noventia, an idyllic capital threatened by rebellion. Forays into Isidor and Aronia take place, each kingdom as exciting as the last.

Check out Bound, on sale today, and prepare for an epic fantasy saga!

the princes bound

Guest Author: Sofia Grey and the Navy Invasion

The Navy Invasion…

For my day job I work in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, and right in the heart of the district that surrounds parliament. It’s not uncommon to see the Prime Minister or Cabinet members, in the many coffee shops and restaurants.

However, see one politician and you’ve seen ‘em all. What gives me a thrill, and gets me texting my friends, is when the military come out of hiding. Only last week my closest coffee bar was invaded by a noisy group of sailors from the NZ Navy. There was a long queue for coffee that day, but I wasn’t complaining. The view was excellent.

Last year the French Navy were in town for a few days (that prompted a few texts too * fans myself *).

What is it about the dog tags that revs our motors so much?

teaser 6

* swoooooooon *

HTF header with cover

Excerpt from His Temporary Fix


Lost in thought, I looked up at the last minute and saw the object of my fevered imagination jogging toward me. It was hard not to stare. He only wore a pair of brightly patterned board shorts. Hard, muscled abs rippled as he moved, and dogtags bounced off a tanned chest with just a light dusting of dark hair. His tattoos were the perfect excuse to feast my eyes. Distinctive. A pair of seagulls hovered over his left nipple, and his entire left arm was inked, dark lines crisscrossing into pictures and words. I fought to lift my gaze to his face. His cropped hair was damp, color splashed across his cheeks, and today there was a hint of sparkle in his eyes along with a lip tilt that almost qualified as a smile.

“Swimming?” I squeaked.

He stopped in front of me. “Running.” He wasn’t even out of breath. Yeah, they have to keep fit in the army.

I managed a smile and prayed I wasn’t drooling. “I’m walking the dogs.” Or not. I bent and released them from their leads and bought myself a few moments as they scampered off to the water’s edge. When I thought I could look at him without blushing, I lifted my head.

He stood there, hands on slim hips, and stared at me. Raw power and energy all wrapped into a body that could have been carved as a study in male perfection. “You had breakfast yet?”

Had I? My memory had gone blank. “Uh, no.”

“Someone’s stocked the fridge for me. Wanna come?”

My panties dampened at the thought, and my face burned even more. Breakfast. He was talking about breakfast. “Yes, please.”


His Temporary Fix

Publisher: Entangled Select

Genre: Contemp military romance

Holly Jacobs loses her heart a little too easily. Never again. But when she meets the sexy soldier on the beach, Holly knows she’s in big trouble. Zack Winter is gorgeous and in pain, and when he kisses Holly, all of her resolve melts away…

Zack is on short-term leave to attend a funeral, and he’s walking a fine line. The loss is unbearable…and he’ll do whatever it takes to distract himself from it. Especially if it means a night of searingly-hot sex with Holly Jacobs. Only his brilliant idea isn’t exactly going according to plan.

One night isn’t nearly enough. But if it goes much longer it might end in broken hearts…

Trailer link:

Book links:  Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Amazon | AllRomance

For more about the Love at the Beach series, check out the series website:

Read the first chapter here:

Sofia Grey

Author Bio:


Romance author Sofia Grey spends her days managing projects in the corporate world and her nights hanging out with wolf shifters and alpha males. She devours pretty much anything in the fiction line, but she prefers her romances to be hot, and her heroes to have hidden depths. When writing, she enjoys peeling back the layers to expose her characters’ flaws and always makes them work hard for their happy endings.

Getting to Know You

Like others before me, I decided it was time for a reintroduction. Many of you know I haunt this blog as Robin Danner and Christy Gissendaner, but who is the real Christy? (I say Christy because that’s my actual, real first name.)

Keep reading to know more about moi!

I love visiting the zoo. Monkeys are my favorite.


I can’t tell the difference between my two youngest sons in baby pictures….unless they’re in the picture together. (They still sleep like this.)

The Manns 087

I played clarinet in my high school’s marching band. (I hated the white uniform pants.)


My grandparents have been married over 75 years! (My Big Momma’s had dementia over twenty years, but they’re still going strong.)


I married my first boyfriend after dating for 11 months. We honeymooned in Biloxi one month after my 29th birthday. (He started pursuing me the night of my 28th birthday.)

hard rock

I hate taking pictures, which is why you’ll typically see me behind the camera instead of in front of it. (And there’s not a selfie yet that my hubby hasn’t closed his eyes.)


I’m rereleasing The Princes, a series that is my favorite to date. Here’s a first glimpse at the new and improved cover for Bound, Book One ~ an exclusive reveal for Love, Lust, and Laptop fans.

the princes bound

Now that you know a bit more about me, check back as we bring a new, exciting post every weekday ~ with special treats on the weekends!

Collards Greens…and a Cover Reveal!

Welcome to the updated Love, Lust, and Laptops site! We’ve got exciting news coming and even more exciting ladies joining us. As Emilia mentioned a couple weeks ago, five new ladies came onboard and I can’t wait to see how things get shaken up around here. But on to the true purpose of my time here…blogging.

I, Robin Danner aka Christy Gissendaner, do solemnly swear to not forget my blogging day anymore. Or try not to forget, at least.

Today, I’m going to talk about an item very near and dear to my heart. Collards! Yes, collards. As an Alabama girl, collards were always (always!) my favorite meal and nothing gets me more excited than my grandfather telling me he’s cooked a pot of my favorite leafy, green vegetable.

Did you know collards grow in Bosnia and Montenegro? Yeah, me neither. I Googled and found that collard greens grow in several countries. So much for me thinking collards were just a “southern thang”. We southerners perfected it though, cause without cornbread, collards ain’t nothing but spinach. Sorta…

If you’ve never partaken of collards, you’re missing out. Although they smell like death when they’re cooking…courtesy of their antioxidant nature…boil them with a piece of salt pork and add a dab of pepper sauce (the juice of peppers soaked in vinegar for several weeks) and you’re good to go. Then vinegar helps kill the smell, plus pepper sauce is the greatest invention ever! And I’ve got the acid reflux to prove it.

You’re probably thinking “what the hell is she doing talking about collards”. Well, let me let you in on a little secret. Collards are Elliot Melton’s favorite food too, and Elliot is the hero in my upcoming release, Christmas Spirits. Psst….It’s a holiday novella, just in case the name didn’t give it away.

To celebrate the reveal of my beautiful cover and my love of collards, here’s two prezzies for you today. A collards recipe and the cover! Enjoy!

christmas spirits - 2 mb

Southern Style Collards:


12 hickory-smoked bacon slices or several pieces of salt pork
3 (32-oz.) containers chicken broth
3 (1-lb.) packages fresh collard greens, washed and trimmed
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper


1. Cook bacon in a 10-qt. stockpot over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes or until almost crisp. Stir in broth and remaining ingredients. Cook 2 hours or to desired degree of tenderness.

2. Serve with cornbread and pepper sauce, if desired.

Hint: Fried collards are divine. Take leftover collards, add grease in a frying pan, and “fry” the collards. Heaven in your mouth. I swear.

Eighties Rock! by Christy Gissendaner

As I work on edits for my upcoming rocker romance, set in 1985, I’d be remiss to not touch upon the greatest decade ever! True, I may have been a “young’un”, but the 80’s truly rocked. Let me share a few examples with you good people.

1. The Music

Dear Lord, the music. Karma Chameleon, Like a Prayer, Come On Eileen, and Tainted Love – just to name a few of my favorites – truly made the 1980’s a feast for the ears.

2. The Movies

Hands up if you were a fan of John Hughes’ films. Oh man, was I ever. The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and St. Elmo’s Fire fueled my imagination…and provided kick ass soundtracks.

3. The Fashion

Yes! Clothing of every color imaginable, layers upon layers, and leather everywhere. What’s not to love?

4. The Hair

Teased bangs. Yep, I was guilty. The bigger, the better. Who remembers the smell of White Rain?

5. Blue/Green/Pink Eyeliner

Thankfully I passed on this craze, but my friends looked like they had eye infections as pre-teens.

Thanks for going down memory lane with me. Be on the lookout for Flashback, a rocker romance coming soon. And as a bonus…want to see what Christy Gissendaner looked like in the 80’s? Okay….so I totally looked normal but who can forget Ronald??


Leave it to me…by Christy Gissendaner


So, a few months back, I had this idea for a New Adult romance. Something completely unlike ANYTHING I’ve ever written or thought I would write. There would be adultery, murder, suicide, sexual abuse, porn stars, and a friends-to-lovers theme. Does this holler “Christy Gissendaner book” to you? Nope, I didn’t think so. But this story came to me, and I knew I had to give it a shot. New Adult is one of my recent reading addictions, and I cut my teeth on writing NA when I was a teenager…even though NA wasn’t yet a “thing”.

So I wrote Coming Soon, shipped it off to my primary crit partner (who hated it), and I figured “Hell, why not?” Since my critter and I seldom ever like the “it” books on the market today, we thought the tale may be a hit. Of course, I love it. I wrote it, after all. But I knew it was time for more input. Two of my other crit partners loved it. My beta readers LOVED it. My ARC recipients LOVED it. So here I went, ecstatic beyond belief thinking, “This will be it. This will be my first big success.” I hit “publish” and sat back and wait for the pre-sales to roll in.

Yeah…*crickets* Today is the official release, so hopefully the sales will begin, but the lesson I gained in all of this is I will never do a pre-sale again. It’s disappointing when you don’t sell a book after it’s published. It’s even worse when you promote, promote, promote in advance and still get nowhere.

In the midst of all of this, I decided to put out a short prequel to a new series I’ve planned. Originally I meant to have them about a month apart. Instead they end up releasing within a week of each other. I figured if I was going to be stuck at the computer for hours promoting one book, why not kill two birds with one stone? Yeah…that didn’t go well either. Now I’m torn on which one to focus on. My gut is telling me Coming Soon. After all, it’s a story that has special meaning for me, but Claimed is the start of something that I hope will take flight in the future.

Both covers are lovely. At least, I think so. Hopefully the blurbs are attention-grabbing. I think the pricing is reasonable.

So why don’t I sell?

That’s the question every author struggles with. I’ve done everything I can to make a “name” for myself. Hell, my name should be memorable at the very least, even if no one can pronounce it. I’ve experimented, attempting new things to see what works. But what do you do when NOTHING works. Although my sales get (marginally) better with each release, I’m still lucky to break even. My reviews are for the most part glowing…from complete strangers! I’ve even seen the same individuals review several of my books, so obviously I have fans out there, people I don’t physically interact with on social media or in real life.

I do ads. I do blog posts and tours. I tweet. I interact on FB, not just book-related stuff although that’s the majority. I respond to each and every message I get from readers. I’d like to go the “sit back and do nothing” route, but I’ve done it. It doesn’t work, in case you wondered. A combo of 24/7 tweeting and FB posting, guest posts out the wazoo the first week, and obsessively checking my rankings is NOT the way to success. At least, I hope to hell not. I still have yet to get higher than about 5k on Amazon. Which is GREAT for me, but not where I want to eventually be.

Maybe, by the time this post hits, I can make an amendment and brag that my new releases have skyrocketed in sales, but I am a feet-grounded-in-reality sort of person. I’m optimistic, but not naïve. For every release I put out, there’s probably 10,000 more hitting the cyber waves with mine. How can I reach thousands of readers or make my release stand out in the crowd? If I had the answer, I’d be out doing it, trust me.

But until then…I’ll see you on FB, Twitter, Goodreads, and AuthorCentral!

Guest Author: Jessica Cale’s Beginners Guide to Researching Your Historical Romance

Jessica Cale

A Beginner’s Guide to Researching Your Historical Romance

Historical Romance is a great sub-genre to read and write. With dukes, highwaymen, corsets, and balls, what’s not to like? Writing in an unfamiliar time period can be daunting at first, but it doesn’t need to be. Whether you’re new to the genre or just thinking of giving it a try, here are a few tips to get you started on your way to writing your best historical:

Do your homework. Sure, you can write a historical romance knowing nothing more about the period than how the underwear was structured, but if you want to write a good one, you’ll need to do your homework. It is impossible to do too much. Read everything you can about the period you’re writing, especially the details of everyday life. How did they do their laundry, what did they use to wash their hair, what did they have for breakfast? When I read historicals, I like to disappear into the period, and it’s little details like these that make a book feel real.

Don’t rely on other novels written about the period. If you’ve read enough novels set in a particular period, it’s easy to feel like you really know it, but be careful. You can use certain points of reference as a jumping off point for your research (example: balls at Almack’s), but be sure to check everything over yourself. You can use your research to put a new spin on old subjects, and people always enjoy learning new things about their favorite period. Unfortunately, you can’t rely on the research of other authors. Of course, everyone wants to write the best book possible, but everyone makes mistakes. For example, I’ve read a few things set in the late Victorian period where characters are legitimately afraid of being hanged at Tyburn, but at that point, no one had been hanged there in more than a hundred years. (Okay, so this is a subject that’s close to my heart, but reading this was like nails on a chalkboard. Don’t do that to your readers.)

Make a timeline. Whether your characters have anything to do with court or politics, you should be aware of all of the major events that happened before and during your period. Your characters do not exist in a vacuum, and these things might have influenced their lives. Check if there were any significant news items if you can (crimes, storms, fires, earthquakes, etc), to add color, aid your plot, or just to provide interesting dinner conversation.

Keep your dialogue sounding natural. Throwing in the occasional ‘twas or a ‘twould is more likely to feel awkward than authentic if they’re only used sparingly, especially if it’s in the character’s thoughts. Historical words are great for adding color, but be sure to use them consistently throughout the book. It’s fine to have more modern-sounding dialogue if that’s what you decide to do, but be careful to avoid any glaringly anachronistic words or phrases, like calling something “cool” anytime before the end of the twentieth century. Read things that were written during the period and writing accurate dialogue will begin to come naturally.

Fact check, fact check, fact check. Once you’ve written your first draft, re-check everything. Question everything you think you know about the period. What year was that neighborhood built? Was that street/park/building called something else? What time does the sun rise and set on that date in that part of the world? How long does it really take to travel from Point A to Point B? This might sound obvious, but it’s better to check everything over thoroughly before your novel gets published, because no matter how good the story is, someone’s going to notice. You might be surprised with what you find. In my first book, Tyburn, I had to change the addresses of two of the main characters because I found out that the neighborhood I had them living in wasn’t built until twenty years after the book was set!

Don’t be put off by the amount of work that can go into writing historicals. Once you do your research for the first one, any others you write in that period will be much easier as you build on the world you have already created. Of course, it’s your book and you can do anything you’d like to with it (time-travelling steampunk zombies? Okay!), but a little accuracy goes a long way. Bring your time period to life for your readers, and they’ll thank you for it.

Happy Writing!

Jessica Cale

Virtues Lady

Virtue’s Lady
Author: Jessica Cale
Genre: Historical Romance (Restoration/Enlightenment)
Publisher: Liquid Silver
Release Date: April 13th


From toiling for pennies to bare-knuckle boxing, a lady is prepared for every eventuality.


Lady Jane Ramsey is young, beautiful, and ruined.

After being rescued from her kidnapping by a handsome highwayman, she returns home only to find her marriage prospects drastically reduced. Her father expects her to marry the repulsive Lord Lewes, but Jane has other plans. All she can think about is her highwayman, and she is determined to find him again.

Mark Virtue is trying to go straight. After years of robbing coaches and surviving on his wits, he knows it’s time to hang up his pistol and become the carpenter he was trained to be. He busies himself with finding work for his neighbors and improving his corner of Southwark as he tries to forget the girl who haunts his dreams. As a carpenter struggling to stay in work in the aftermath of The Fire, he knows Jane is unfathomably far beyond his reach, and there’s no use wishing for the impossible.

When Jane turns up in Southwark, Mark is furious. She has no way of understanding just how much danger she has put them in by running away. In spite of his growing feelings for her, he knows that Southwark is no place for a lady. Jane must set aside her lessons to learn a new set of rules if she is to make a life for herself in the crime-ridden slum. She will fight for her freedom and her life if that’s what it takes to prove to Mark—and to herself—that there’s more to her than meets the eye.

Liquid Silver:
Barnes & Noble:
All Romance E-Books:

Other Books in This Series

Tyburn (The Southwark Saga, Book 1): Notorious harlot Sally Green fights for survival in Restoration London. When a brutal attack throws them together, Sally is torn between the tutor who saves her and the highwayman who keeps her up at night; between new love and an old need for revenge. Winner of the Southern Magic Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence 2015.

Liquid Silver:
Barnes & Noble
All Romance E-Books:

Author Bio

Jessica Cale is a historical romance author and journalist based in North Carolina. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in a place where no one understands his accent. You can visit her at

Social Media Links

Twitter: @JessicaCale
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The girl was beautiful.

She had him pinned to the bed. He was helpless beneath her hands. Her long fingers spanned his chest, tracing the line where the muscle dipped and gave way to shoulder. A hint of a smile played on her lips, more than just a little bit wicked. Kiss-crushed and sherry red, they were the sweetest thing he’d ever tasted.

“Like this?” She shifted back onto his hip bones.

She hovered above him like a conquering angel, all of the fearsome beauty of heaven in her laughing eyes, as grey and deadly as any steel. He could see the evidence of her ferocity in the iron poker that still projected from the door behind her head, a temptation as much as a warning.

“Getting there.” He grinned.

His hands rested on the curve of her waist, his rough, tanned skin a stark contrast to her smooth flesh, luminous and pale as the moon.

“More,” she moaned, rocking against him.

The bed slammed noisily against the wall, an insistent rapping that increased in frequency, strangely unconnected to the movements of her hips.

Somewhere in the distance, the sound of a saw.

Mark became aware of the bedclothes tangled around his legs. The stench of the river replaced the scent of her skin. She flickered as she bent over him with a sly smile, her hair falling around him like a curtain of copper silk. He was moments away from a bone-shattering orgasm. Just a little bit longer. She increased her pace, her breath quickening as she neared her peak. Her lips hovered above his, close enough to kiss, but somehow out of reach.

Her hips flickered under his hands and he heard the warble of a flock of geese.

“Jane,” he gasped, reaching out to grasp her as she disappeared, and finding only bed linen beneath his hand.


First off, can we have a round of applause for the ladies of LL&L who remember to post on-time. I’ve been MIA the past couple times, and I apologize, but ya’ll know the drill. Life = hectic. The day job is keeping me busy, even during my “off hours”, and keeping up with writing, editing, and promotion – not to mention the family – has slap worn me out.

But now that I have that out of the way, let’s get down to brass knuckles. I’m going to stand up and say I am one of the readers who LOVE free books. I’m a cheapskate, true, but Facebook somehow learned I always click on an ad for free books and now my newsfeed is filled with such ads. My TBR pile is growing ever higher, knowing me having time to read is almost laughable. I do read them, maybe not all the way through, but I do at least make an attempt.

As a reader, yes, it’s a good thing. As an author? I’m a bit torn. I have offered two of my self-pubbed books for free. I got maybe 1000 downloads in a couple of days. I was excited watching my ranking at Amazon climb, but I still can’t managed to make the Top 100 overall.

It’s depressing, it really is, when you can’t even GIVE away a book. The sad thing is people read my books apparently and my reviews at Goodreads and Amazon prove that complete strangers actually consider my books a 4 or 5 star. Does this ever translate to sales? Nope. Not really. I only see this surge of reviews when I offer the books for free. My backlist continues to languish.

During my self-pub experience, I’ve learned I should’ve considered my options more before signing with a publisher the past couple of years. To me then, the benefit of knowing “someone in the know” liked my book well enough to contract it convinced me it was worth giving up more than half of my royalties. But being able to chose my cover art, work at my own pace, and set the pricing far outweighs my moral compass, which pointed me in the traditionally pubbed outlets.

I still love my publishers and I’m grateful for each of them. I’ve learned tons from my editors and fellow authors on the loops and such. But obtaining a fantastic set of crit partners, an author friend who excels at line edits, and freelance cover artists give me a freedom I’d never expected.

I was scared I wasn’t “dedicated” enough to make sure my books were properly edited, or spend my own money on covers, etc. but in the couple of months I’ve been self-pubbed I’ve already exceeded my sales in the first month for any of my books. I’m still nowhere near making this a full-time career, but I like the direction this is taking me.

I even enjoy giving away books. I’ve never done this for the money, but the joy I get from seeing people enjoy my books makes it all worth it. For those of you who haven’t self-pubbed, why? And for those of you who read free books, what does it take for you to buy?