Claire Delacroix's Blog

December 4, 2015

The Frost Maiden's Kiss audiobook


We’ve started this month of audiobook giveaways with three copies of The Frost Maiden’s Kiss in audio. This medieval Scottish romance is book #3 of my True Love Brides series and my latest audiobook release. It’s narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, who has narrated this series and my Jewels of Kinfairlie series.



The Frost Maiden’s Kiss in audio is available at Amazon, Audible and Apple.


The first four winners this month are:

1. Barbi Davis

2. Tabitha

3. Sherrie Lamb

4. imbulky


Please check your inboxes for an email from my VA, Angie, with instructions on how to get your audiobook prize. Thanks to everyone who entered. Please be sure to enter today’s giveaway with a different audiobook prize! There will be two giveaways posted each week, one on Friday and one on Tuesday, so there are lots of chances to win!


Filed under: Audio Editions, Medieval Romance Tagged: audiobook, giveaway, Historical Romance, medieval romance, paranormal romance, Scottish romance
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Published on December 04, 2015 08:00 • 28 views

The Highlander's Curse audiobookNext up in #XmasAudio are four copies of The Highlander’s Curse, my medieval Scottish romance with paranormal elements. This is book #2 of my True Love Brides series, and is narrated by Saskia Maarleveld.


Here’s an audio review from Lil Miss Molly:

“I loved The Highlander’s Curse so much I listened to all 10 hours in one day. I just couldn’t put it down and chose to continue listening rather than have “date night” with my husband. This is my favorite historical romance by Claire Delacroix so far!”



The Highlander’s Curse in audio is available at Amazon, Audible and Apple.


For your chance to win, add a comment to this post explaining why you like audiobooks – or why you’d like to try one. Only those who have not already won an audiobook from me this year are eligible to win. As always, if and when you win an audiobook, it’s lovely for you to leave a review. :-)


There are four prizes, one for each of four days, so we’ll pick and post winners on Tuesday. There will be another audiobook giveaway posted then.


Good luck!


Filed under: Audio Editions, Medieval Romance, Scottish Romance Tagged: audiobooks, Historical Romance, medieval romance, paranormal romance, Scottish romance, XmasAudio
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Published on December 04, 2015 05:00 • 35 views

December 3, 2015

A few weeks ago, I saw some book trees on Facebook. They were Christmas trees, but made of carefully stacked books. Some of them were decorated, and some weren’t. When I finally saw one with lights on it, I knew I had to build one.


Here it is:Deborah Cooke's Book Tree


Building a book tree isn’t particularly complicated, but it does take time. I started with eight big books, placed in a circle on the rug, then began stacking. I found that I needed about half of the books to be hard covers for the tree to be stable. The rest are trade paperbacks, because mass market paperbacks were too light. They wanted to slide away. You also need to pay attention to the thickness of the books, so that any two beside each other have spines of roughly the same thickness. This keeps each layer of the tree on the level, and also helps its stability.


Mine finished out at about 5 feet high. (And no, I have no idea how many books it took. A lot. I had to keep getting more!)


BookTree5I found some snowflake LED lights in the holiday decorations. We’d bought these last year at Ikea, intending to put them around some windows, but that never happened. They were still in the packages. I used two lengths to decorate the tree – they’re 45 feet long each or so. It’s easy to “fasten” the lights – I just tucked the cord between two books at regular intervals.


TheBookTree4Then I had some silk poinsettias and sprays of glittery beads that I used at our old house to decorate the cedar roping we hung on the porch in December. They’ve been sitting in a box ever since we moved, but were perfect choices to give this tree a bit of sparkle. I just poked them between the books. There was also some gold bead garland in the same box. I have no recollection of where it came from, but it went on the tree too.


The final question was the star. Hmm. Mr. Math came up with the solution. When he was single, his sister made him a little tree, so he could pull it out of the box each year and have a Christmas tree in his apartment. It’s not even a foot tall but is very cute. We usually put it on the fireplace mantle, but he suggested we use it as our “star”. I was skeptical, but it’s perfect.Deborah Cooke's Book Tree


At first, I’d thought this tree would just be temporary and a fun addition to the dining room for a family dinner we were hosting, but I quite like it. There are no dropping needles and there’s no need to water it. Fortunately I chose books that I didn’t think we’d want to read before the new year, so I’ll leave it there through the holidays. The bookshelves are due for a cleaning and a sort anyway, and reorganizing them will be a good way to start the new year.


What do you think?


Filed under: Miscellaneous Musing, Reading Tagged: alternative trees, book tree, fun, holiday decor
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Published on December 03, 2015 05:00 • 9 views

December 2, 2015

The Crusader's Kiss, #3 in the Champions of St Euphemia series of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixI promised you a downloadable EPUB sample of The Crusader’s Kiss in November, and I just barely made it. It was available on the 30th, even though I’m only telling you about it today. You can download the sample at iBooks or Kobo, or get a copy at my online store.


I have moved the publication date out a bit on this book. Adding Duncan and Radegunde’s story has made my schedule a little busier, but we’ll still have Bartholomew and Anna’s story in January. It’ll just be on the 31st instead of the 19th.


Filed under: Medieval Romance, Uncategorized Tagged: coming soon, crusades, downloadable sample, free chapter, medieval romance
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Published on December 02, 2015 05:00 • 11 views

December 1, 2015

Last August, a group of authors put together an audiobook promotion called #AugustAudio. Most of us gave away an audiobook per day for the month of August. We’re doing it again for the month of December – welcome to #XmasAudio.


The Frost Maiden's Kiss audiobookSo, let’s start the month of audiobook giveaways with three copies of The Frost Maiden’s Kiss in audio. This medieval Scottish romance is book #3 of my True Love Brides series and my latest audiobook release. It’s narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, who has narrated this series and my Jewels of Kinfairlie series.



The Frost Maiden’s Kiss in audio is available at Amazon, Audible and Apple.


For your chance to win, add a comment to this post explaining why you like audiobooks – or why you’d like to try one. Only those who have not already won an audiobook from me this year are eligible to win. As always, if and when you win an audiobook, it’s lovely for you to leave a review. :-)


There are three prizes, one for each of three days, so we’ll pick and post winners on Friday. There will be another audiobook giveaway posted then.


Look for the hashtag #XmasAudio on Twitter for more chances to win!


Good luck!


Filed under: Audio Editions, Medieval Romance, Scottish Romance Tagged: audiobooks, giveaway, Historical Romance, medieval romance, Scottish romance, XmasAudio [image error]
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Published on December 01, 2015 05:00 • 6 views

November 30, 2015

I have a new profile page at The Romance Reviews – you can find it right here.


This is a site that reviews romances. Once I’m approved as an author, I’ll list my new books with them.


I’ve actually been quite pathetic about getting my books to reviewers since going indie, but am now trying to get more organized in that regard. The landscape of reviews has changed considerably – I suspect that many people rely upon the reviews posted by other readers at the online portals and at Goodreads.


Where else do you look for reviews?


• I have sent the first two Champion books to InD’Tale magazine, and they’ve reviewed The Crusader’s Bride.


• I don’t think there’s much point in pursuing reviews from the industry standards like Publishers’ Weekly, Kirkus Reviews or Library Journal since they’re geared to bookstore buyers. Plus I don’t like that they require indie authors to pay a fee for consideration.


• Romantic Times used to be the go-to place for romance reviews, but they have a long lead time, which seems very long for indie books. I’m not going to delay publication of my books on the chance that I might be reviewed there.


So, I’m a bit stumped. Where do you look for reviews of romances? Are there blogs that you find helpful when looking for new historical romance reads? New paranormal reads? Give me some suggestions, please!


Filed under: Historical Romance, Promoting Tagged: historical romance reviews, medieval romance reviews, review sites
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Published on November 30, 2015 05:00 • 6 views

November 28, 2015

Be mine


Thanks to all of you, The Countess has had a wonderful day!


At Amazon.com, Eglantine and Duncan’s story is sitting pretty, at #2 overall free, and #1 in both Scottish and in Medieval Romance.


Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 7.32.56 AM


We’re in excellent company!


Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 7.43.59 AM


Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 7.46.18 AMScreen Shot 2015-11-28 at 7.46.56 AMAt Amazon.co.uk, The Countess is #10 overall in the free store, and #1 in Scottish romance.

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 7.34.03 AMAt Amazon.ca, The Countess is #3 free overall in the Kindle store, and #1 in both Scottish and Medieval romance. Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 7.34.27 AM I can’t see the Apple US charts, but The Countess is #2 overall free at Apple Canada, which is very cool.Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 7.37.58 AM


And, Eglantine and Duncan are #1 at iBooks US! Woo HOO!


Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 9.13.31 AMWhat a fabulous Black Friday sale! Thank you to everyone who picked up a copy.


The Countess, book #1 in the Bride Quest II trilogy of Scottish medieval romances, by Claire Delacroix


The Countess will be free until November 30, so don’t miss out.


Filed under: Historical Romance, Medieval Romance Tagged: black friday, first in a series, free read, Historical Romance, medieval romance, Scottish romance
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Published on November 28, 2015 05:00 • 7 views

November 27, 2015

Last week, I started to explain how I line my knitted and felted bags, and explained how to put bases into them and feet on them. This week, let’s start on the actual linings.


entrelac1


Sometimes the shape of the bag defines how it will be lined. I prefer bags to have a closed top – usually a zipper – but the top black edging on the Noro Hujitsu shrank more than the bag itself. (It’s knit of a different yarn.) It’ll be a bear to get a zippered top flap to look good, so it’s going to be an open-topped tote bag.


The simplest way to line a bag is with the fewest seams, IMO. I cut one big rectangle of the lining that will make the sides of the interior, then another smaller rectangle for the base. Since anything knitted square won’t necessarily be square after felting, we need to be a bit flexible in lining the bag.


The best place to measure the interior width (the long side of that big rectangle) is right inside the top edge of the felted bag. This is where the lining will join the bag, so it’s the one place that the measurement needs to be accurate. Take a measuring tape and, marking your starting point, measure around the interior of the bag top, ensuring that the felted wool is flat and so is the measuring tape. You’ll need to do it in increments. Write down the final number. To use 5/8″ seam allowances, add 1.25″ to that number and circle it. In my case, that’s 38″ + 1.25″ = 39.25″. This is the width of the big rectangle.


Now measure the height of your bag. It’s best to do this at the outside corners. Check all four because they might be different. On this Noro bag, for example, the depth ranged from 12″ to 13″. Not a square bag. :-) I prefer to have the lining pool in the bottom of the bag, rather than be tugged high, so I always take the larger number. 13″ + 1.25″ = 14.25″, which is the depth of my big rectangle.


The base is often a squishy number, as it might be bigger or smaller than the opening at the top of the bag. In this case, it’s a bit smaller. The seamed big rectangle will be 38″ around, so the size of the small rectangle (not counting the seam allowance) should be the same. I measured the insert and with a little wiggle, my small rectangle will finish at 12.5″ x 5.5″. That’ll make it 38″ around, not counting the seam allowance. I need to cut it including the seam allowance though – I’ll cut a rectangle (12.5″ + 1.25″) 13.75″ by (5.5″ + 1.25″) 6.75″. It’s important to cut these rectangles on the square of the grain. (The iron is your friend here.)


Sipalu bag knitted and felted by Deborah Cooke


Now, I could just sew that vertical seam, insert the base rectangle, sew the upper edge to the bag and be done. I want more. I always want an interior pocket – for my keys, maybe, or my phone. The Sipalu bag is really deep and a bit narrow, so I definitely want more pockets. Things are going to disappear in the bottom of that bag and never be seen again, so I’ll plan ahead.


Sew in the pockets before finishing the lining


Pink1


The easiest pocket is a rectangle sewn to the inside of the lining. You know I’m not going to do this the very easiest way, though!


Let’s have a pocket with a bit of style.


Here’s my phone and I’ve cut two pieces of fabric for the pocket to hold the phone, which are the same size. That’s because I’m going to line the pocket to make it more sturdy. The two fabrics have their wrong sides together.


Pink2

Here’s how that pocket will work out: keeping the two fabrics together, I turned down 1/” inch at the top, then turned down another inch – that seals the raw edges inside the top seam. Next, I’ll stitch that down along the lower edge.


Back to the iron again, to press down the outer edges on the other three sides of the pocket. Then I stitched it down to the bag lining – I chose a spot that will fall on the back edge of the bag, pretty close to the top so I can grab the phone easily.


Pink3<<<<< The finished pocket looks like this:


But on the Noro tote, I’d like my pocket to be zippered. I also want it centered on one of the long sides. To find this location, put the big rectangle flat on the table. Place one ruler along the seam line. (There’s one on the right.) Put the another ruler at the edge of the long side – in this case, 12.5″ from the seam line. I could measure my pocket and do calculations, but I generally just eyeball it. Using a striped lining makes it easier to cut a pocket that will line up with the bag. In this case, I positioned the zipper in the middle of the space, then cut my pocket the width of the zipper.


Pocket1The easiest solution would be to cut another rectangle of the striped fabric for the top of the zipper, but I want a contrasting border on mine, so I can easily find the zipper in all those stripes. Again, this isn’t high accuracy. I cut two strips of contrasting fabric the same width as the pocket and about 3″ deep. I folded them in half lengthwise and pressed them. They’re on the right. Because this striped fabric is a little lighter (and less sturdy) I decided to fully line the pocket. So I cut a bigger rectangle of that contrast fabric. Pocket2This is where those two contrast strips will go – one on either side of the zipper. Pocket3To ensure that there are no raw edges of fabric inside the pocket, I sewed the folded edge of both of those facing pieces to the zipper tab. For the lower one, the raw edges were turned to the inside and then sewn around the striped pocket. All the raw edges are sandwiched inside there.


At the top, the raw edges are still open. Pocket4I lined up the zippered front of the pocket with the lining and trimmed the lining to match. Pocket5Then I flipped the pocket over and pressed all the seam allowances to the back. Once that was done, I top-stitched the pocket in place on the bag lining. Pocket6Inside, there are no raw edges and the pocket is a bit stiffer, because this batik is like Kevlar. You can see that the zipper tape is visible on the inside. I could have made facings and hidden it away, too, but this application is faster and zipper tapes don’t fray anyway. Pocket7


Next, assemble the lining, as we’ve discussed. Sew that vertical seam in the big rectangle, then fit the small rectangle into place in the base. The easiest way to pin it is to start with that seam. Pin one corner of the base into it. I usually put a pin on the diagonal, catching a little pinch at the pivot point of the corner through both layers. Now, fold the big rectangle in half to find the opposite corner of the bag. Pin that corner the same way. From there it’s easy to pin the perimeter and mark the other two corners.


I NEVER clip the main lining at the corners to ease the seam, because that just creates a place for the lining to fray. As a result, I sometimes get some gathering in the corners. This isn’t a huge deal IMO – the only thing that will see the corners of the lining in the bottom of my bag are those mints from restaurants that I toss into my bag and forget. Sew a second seam 1/8″ away from the first one (and in the seam allowance), just to reinforce it.


Ironing time. Give the lining a good press, because once it’s in the bag, you’ll never iron it again. Press down the top seam allowance. The raw edges will be in that magic space between the lining and the bag that no one will ever see.


I always sew in my bag linings by hand, because I don’t want the machine stitches to show on the outside of the felted bag. Pin the bag in place around the perimeter. Use a buttonhole twist thread – that’s the thick one – and sew it in. The stitches don’t have to be teeny, but they shouldn’t be huge either. You don’t want to do this again. You could also sew it in by machine. Your bag makes it your choice.


Next week, we’ll line the straps of the Sipalu messenger bag, and put a zipper flap in the top of it.


Filed under: Fiber Friday Tagged: felted bags, knitted bag, lining a bag, sewing a lining, sewing a zippered pocket
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Published on November 27, 2015 05:00 • 16 views

November 26, 2015

A happy Thanksgiving to all of you celebrating the holiday today – or this weekend. I hope you have a wonderful meal, excellent company and much to be thankful for, this year and the year ahead.


Filed under: Miscellaneous Musing Tagged: happy thanksgiving
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Published on November 26, 2015 05:00 • 8 views

November 25, 2015

LOL – that subject line makes me laugh.


The Countess, book #1 in the Bride Quest II trilogy of Scottish medieval romances, by Claire DelacroixThe digital edition of The Countess, my medieval Scottish romance and book #1 of the Bride Quest II, is free from today through December 1.


Be mineAlso, Book #2 in the trilogy, The Beauty, is discounted to $2.99 for the same period, and the Bride Quest II Boxed Set is half price, at $4.99.


Buy at GooglePlay  


Filed under: Medieval Romance, Promoting Tagged: first in a series, free read, Historical Romance, medieval romance, Scottish romance
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Published on November 25, 2015 05:00 • 5 views