Saturday, November 09, 2013

Lord Rivenhall Returns

'Lord Rivenhall Returns' is the first book I sold to DC Thompson way back in 2005 – they now have 16 of my books. They will not have any more because all my new books go directly onto Amazon; I couldn't do this if DC Thompson was going to publish the title. As I can also sell my new books to large print without them having been published by traditional publisher the necessity for publishing with DC Thomson has now been removed.
Lord Rivenhall began life as an exercise in a workshop at my first RNA conference in Leicester. This was a historical novel workshop run by Nicola Cornick. It has been published by Regency reads, My Weekly Pocket Novel, Linford Romance and now as an indie published book on Amazon.
Last year Amanda Grange told me about Amazon Kindle books and since then I have republished eleven Regency books and added two new titles. I will be putting up Lady Charlotte's Deception at the end of this month. Three years ago I was making more money from PLR and ALCS then I was from sales – now I am earning more than I did as a full-time teacher. Even though e-book sales have flattened, especially in the States, I still believe this is the way forward for any writer with a long backlist. Regency titles are especially popular at the moment.
Here is an extract from the first chapter:

Amelia, closely followed by Martha, hurried downstairs eager to discover the identity of the stranger. Foster was waiting to announce her. The library, the only other room where a fire was still lit every day, was at least warmer than the cavernous, marble tiled, entrance hall.
The butler opened the door and announced her. ‘Miss Rivenhall.’
The tall, dark haired man turned from his thoughtful contemplation of the fire. He bowed low. ‘Good morning, Miss Rivenhall. Thank you for receiving me. I have brought some information from your lawyers, Metcalf and Metcalf. Perhaps you could oblige me with somewhere to change whilst you read them, for as you can see, I am somewhat damp.’
Amelia realized that he was, in fact, standing in an ever-growing pool of water. ‘Good heavens, of course you are. I shall have you taken upstairs immediately. Martha, could you ring for Higgs?’ The housekeeper bustled in, all anxious enquiry. ‘Good,’ Amelia said, hiding a smile. The woman must have been outside the door in order to have arrived so quickly. She was not the only one enjoying the unexpected break from tedium. ‘Could you show this gentleman to the Blue room? And please find him something suitable to wear whilst his own garments are being restored.’
The gentleman in question exuded good taste, and full pockets, from the cut of his dark blue, superfine topcoat to the superb fit of his buff inexpressibles and once shiny black Hessians. He bowed again. ‘Thank you, Miss Rivenhall, but that will not be necessary. My man, Peters, will bring up my boxes as soon as he has seen to the horses.’
Although rather surprised by this presumption Amelia returned his bow politely, with a nod of her head. ‘Higgs, please direct Peters to the Blue room, when he appears.’
‘Very well, Miss Amelia. Come this way, sir, if you please.’
The man picked up the package of papers that he had placed on the mantel shelf, and offered them to Amelia. ‘I am sure that these, Miss Rivenhall, will explain my unexpected arrival here.’ Automatically she reached out and took the proffered documents. ‘I shall rejoin you soon. Then we must talk.’ At this, the man strode after the departing housekeeper.
Amelia, her hand shaking, already suspected what would be amongst the legal papers she had been given. Inside she found several certificates and a letter from the family lawyers, Metcalf and Metcalf.
The first document she looked at was a record of the marriage between, Edward Rivenhall and a Miss Mary Marshal. The second, a birth certificate for Richard Edward Rivenhall; from the date she realized it made him almost eight and twenty. The third, and final, document was the death certificate for Edward, dated scarcely three years after his marriage.
Amelia barely glanced at the letter of introduction from the lawyers. At last their worries were over. There would be money to pay the bills and life could return to normal. The privations of the past eighteen months, which had so damaged her mother’s delicate health, would soon be forgotten.
She gathered up the papers and rang the bell. Almost immediately the door opened, and Foster appeared, bristling with curiosity.
‘Foster, please take these documents up to Lady Rivenhall.’ She paused, enjoying for once, the opportunity to have more information than the butler. ‘Lord Rivenhall will be re-joining me here. I
would like luncheon served at noon in the small dining-room. Tell Cook that we would like soup, cold cuts, and the remainder of the game pie. Thank you, Foster, that will be all.’ She turned to Martha, beaming beside her. ‘This is wonderful news, is it not, Martha. You had better go to Lady Rivenhall for she will wish to come down to meet her nephew.’
The butler retreated clutching the papers and Amelia knew he would know their contents before her mother. His officious manner was a constant irritation to her, but his loyalty to the family could not be questioned. Martha, still smiling hurried after him.
The sound of footsteps approaching heralded the imminent arrival of her new relative. Quickly Amelia sat down, not wishing to appear too eager. The door swung open and her glance was drawn to the man who appeared to fill the entrance. For a second their eyes locked, and something, she did not understand passed between them.
He smiled and immediately looked less intimidating. His teeth gleamed white in his darkly tanned face. Remembering her manners, Amelia gestured to the large leather Chesterfield opposite her position by the fire.
‘Please be seated, my lord. We obviously have a lot to discuss.’
The fact that this time they were alone, unchaperoned, appeared to have escaped his attention. Rivenhall flicked aside the tail of his coat and sat down, relaxing instantly against the sofa, his long booted legs crossed casually at the ankles.

‘Miss Rivenhall, you have obviously read my papers and must know that I am your cousin, Richard.’ His voice was deep and attractive, his expression sincere.

Fenella J Miller

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