Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Mammoth Moment!

by Anna Campbell

This is a bit of a launch party!

Whooo-hooo, drag out the cabana boys! Fill up the margarita glasses! Get Sven massaging! And tie up that rooster, he's nothing but trouble!

On 24th June (U.K.) and 27th July (U.S.), THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF REGENCY ROMANCE hits the shelves. Some of the biggest names in historical romance have contributed to this anthology - Eloisa James, Loretta Chase, Mary Balogh and Mary Jo Putney. Not to mention our very own Christie Kelley.


I have a short story in this collection called Upon a Midnight Clear. Although as it's about 50 pages (I haven't seen a final copy of the book yet so I'm not sure exactly), calling it a short story seems a bit ridiculous. That's half the size of your average novella!

I was delighted when Trisha Telep, the editor of the Mammoth books, invited me to contribute. I was doubly delighted when I had 13,000 words to play with and a chance to experiment with an idea I'd had for a while but which didn't really fit the books.

This is my first reunion story. I love that theme in romance - you know, they got it so wrong the first time but fate offers them a second chance. All that lovely redemption and forgiveness and love overcoming the bitterness of the past! Sounds right up my alley.

Upon a Midnight Clear is set in the depths of winter on the snowy Yorkshire moors where the lovely Countess of Kinvarra, Alicia Sinclair, suffers a carriage accident while she's running away with the man she hopes will become her lover. Imagine her humiliation when the only person who passes the wreck in this lonely location is her estranged husband, Sebastian, the Earl of Kinvarra.

Eleven years ago when both were very young, Alicia and Sebastian were joined in an arranged marriage. Immaturity and misunderstandings drove them apart and Alicia has been living in chaste limbo in London ever since.

Here's an excerpt:

Well, this is awkward,” Kinvarra said flatly, although she saw in his taut, dark face that his anger hadn’t abated one whit.

“I don’t see why,” Alicia snapped.

It wasn’t just her husband who tried her temper. There was her lily-livered lover and the perishing cold. The temperature must have dropped ten degrees in the last five minutes. She shivered, then silently cursed that Kinvarra noticed and Harold didn’t. Harold was too busy staring at her husband the way a mouse stared at an adder.

"Do you imagine I’m so sophisticated, I’ll ignore discovering you in the arms of another man? My dear, you do me too much credit.”

She stifled the urge to consign him to Hades. “If you’ll put aside your bruised vanity for the moment, you’ll see we merely require you to ride to the nearest habitation and request help. Then you and I can return to acting like complete strangers, my lord.”

He laughed and she struggled to suppress the shiver of sensual awareness that rippled down her spine at that soft, deep sound. “Some things haven’t changed, I see. You’re still dishing out orders. And I’m still damned if I’ll play your obedient lapdog.”

“Can you see another solution?” she asked sweetly.

“Yes,” he said with a snap of his straight white teeth. “I can leave you to freeze. Not that you’d probably notice.”

Her pride insisted that she sent him on his way with a flea in his ear. The weather—and what common sense she retained under the anger that always flared in Kinvarra’s vicinity—prompted her to be conciliatory.

It was late. She and Harold hadn’t passed anyone on this isolated road. The grim truth was that if Kinvarra didn’t help, they were stranded until morning. And while she was dressed in good thick wool, she wasn’t prepared to endure a snowy night in the open. The chill of the road seeped through her fur-lined boots and she shifted, trying to revive feeling in her frozen feet.

“My lord…” During the year they’d lived together, she’d called him Sebastian. During their few meetings since, she’d clung to formality as a barrier. “My lord, there’s no point in quarreling. Basic charity compels your assistance. I would consider myself in your debt if you fetch aid as quickly as possible.”

He arched one black eyebrow in a superior fashion that made her want to clout him. Not a new sensation. “Now that’s something I’d like to see.”



He knew he had her at a disadvantage and he wasn’t likely to rise above that fact. She gritted her teeth. “It’s all I can offer.”

The smile that curved his lips was pure devilry. Another shiver ran through her. Like the last one, it was a shiver with no connection to the cold. “Your imagination fails you, my dear countess.”

The working title for this story wasn't Upon a Midnight Clear (although I wrote it around Christmas so this second title was in the air!). It was Ill-Met by Moonlight, the first words Oberon speaks to Titania in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. At last I got some use out of all that English lit at uni, snork! AMND is at its most basic level a story about two haughty and beautiful creatures who are estranged in their marriage and who, after a series of dramatic events, reconcile at the end.

Perhaps I should have called my story A Midwinter Night's Dream instead!

You can buy THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF REGENCY ROMANCE right now from the Book Depository and have it sent anywhere in the world post free.

Or if you click on the cover at the top of the blog, you can pre-order it from Amazon. We make life easy for you in the lair!

To celebrate the release of THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF REGENCY ROMANCE, including my short story Upon a Midnight Clear, I'm giving away a signed copy today. Just tell me your favorite reunion story and why you picked it!

By the way, I'm traveling right now so I'm not sure how much I'll be around but I've got my spies to tell me that everyone's kicking up their heels appropriately!


Helen said...

Is he coming to my place

have Fun

Helen said...

Whoo Hoo the GR and I have lots of Tim Tams to eat even white chocolate ones and it is cold so we will be indoors reading.

I have seen this book already my friend Barbara ordered it from The Book Depositry a couple of weeks ago and it arrived one day last week love it and there are some great stories in it I had a quick look at it and this is one book I am really looking forward to reading.
Loved the excerpt of your story and I love stories set in winter and a reunion story YAY.
I know I have read reunion stories but for the life of me I can't think of any at the moment I am going to have to go and look at the books in my "library" and get back to yo on this on LOL.

I do hope you are having a great time at RomCon.

Have Fun

flchen1 said...

Hooray, Anna!!! I love a good reunion story! There's something about second chances that always hits me just right :) One I'm reading now is MJ Fredrick's Beneath the Surface. Also loved Sarah Mayberry's She's Got It Bad.

Can't wait to read yours in the new Mammoth collection!

Have fun with the GR, Helen!

Donna MacMeans said...

So I'm sitting here thinking...reunion story...and remembering the one that never left me about a heroine who leaves the hero at the altar and then is hired to promote his hotel...and remember that it's written by our very own Tawny Weber. But I can't remember the title -- Tawny help!!!

Cool beans that the rooster heads for Oz. He does love your grandkids, Helen.

Janga said...

Every name I hear added to the list of those who wrote for this collection gives me another reason to be eager to read it.

Reunion stories are my favorites, and most of my favorite authors have contributed at least one reunion story to my keepers. Some have written several. Since I can't choose just one from among the many stellar examples written by authors still writing, I'll name the two reunion stories I've been rereading longest--Persuasion by Jane Austen and Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart.

barb said...

Congratulations Helen

Enjoy GR but I won't be able to visit him as I am up the coast at my sons looking after the grandson.... don't feed GR too many tim tams.....

Anna... as Helen said I bought the book from book depositry but would love a signed copy LOL....
Can't think of any reunion stories as I am in holiday mode and the brain doesn't work... but congratulations Anna,,,, I am looking forward to reading your book when I get back

Tawny said...

Wooot and happy dancing for this new book, Anna!!

and Donna said So I'm sitting here thinking...reunion story...and remembering the one that never left me about a heroine who leaves the hero at the altar and then is hired to promote his hotel...and remember that it's written by our very own Tawny Weber. But I can't remember the title -- Tawny help!!!

:-D Thanks, Donna!!! That was Coming On Strong. I so loved that story. It was the easiest, smoothest I've ever written a book and I was so happy with how it came out.

I'm a huge fan of reunion stories. There's something so endearing about a second chance.

Helen said...

I am back and of course as soon as I went into the library Tawny's Coming On Strong jumped out at me loved that book whoo Hoo what a hero Mitch is. Then there is Annie West's Forgotten Mistress Secret Love-Child another great reunion story set in Australia and Italy and you gotta love Annie's alpha heros Alessandro is one very strong hero and there is a bit of memory loss in this one which makes it even more fun.

Congrats on the release Anna

Have Fun

Helen said...


Yes he does love the grandkids but he won't be seeing them this time round most of them were here yesterday and today is my day for reading and relaxing I am sure he is going to be running around looking for them and Barbara is up the coast for the weekend so he isn't going to see her either LOL.
He will just have to put up with me and the Tim Tams.

Have Fun

Christine Wells said...

Hiya, Anna! Congratulations on the release of the Mammoth Book! My copy arrived the other day and I'm looking forward to reading all these stories. I LOVE reunion stories, especially between husband and wife. There's always that undercurrent of the past running along with the present. One of my favourites was an Eloisa James -- YOUR WICKED WAYS. There must be a hundred more, though!

Yay, Helen! Congrats on the rooster!

Christine Wells said...

UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, Anna's contribution to the Mammoth book, is fantastic--there's a whole novel's worth of passion between these two! The opening scene is just superb--you can just feel the crisp winter air crackle against the heat between these two people! and there's that nice twisty surprise that makes you sit up and pay attention. Loved it!

Blodeuedd said...

Reunion stories, hm, well there was a sort of in Highland Song by Jude Deveraux, and it was great cos I needed those two to be together

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Helen.

Hi Anna,
Congrats on the upcoming release. One of my favorites is Lisa Kleypas' "Again the Magic." I loved this story because the hero and heroine had to overcome so much tragedy and heartbreak and they finally get their chance at an HEA.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Oh, one of my favorite reunion stories is actually another anthology, It Happened One Night by Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, Candice Hern and Jacquie D'Alessandro.

Lars! Could you bring me a little something to nibble on and rub my shoulders? I am going to enjoy this party.

Maureen said...

Congratulations Anna on being part of this great book. My favorite reunion story is The Duke's Double by Anita Mills because I really did believe the reasons for the split and the characters love for each other.

gamistress66 said...

Congrats Anna & Christie and the newest release. I don't usually buy anthologies or short story books but this one looks to have a number of fab authors and worth checking out. Anna -- the teaser from your story is great as usually.

As for reunion stories -- the only ones that comes to mind is Stephanie Laurens "A Secret Love" & "The Edge of Desire" though I'm sure I've read others. Guess she comes to mind since I just recently read her latest and that series brings back the couples from her prior books as (including these) as supporting players.

Hey Sven -- could you give the shoulders and back a quick massage to loosen them up for proper partying? Ah, look refreshments! I do love Bandita celebrations :) Cheers! :D

Gillian Layne said...

Oh, Coming on Strong rocked! I just loved it!

Jodi Thomas wrote the Whispering Mountain series and there was a reunion theme in there with one of the cowboy's sister and a wild young man. I can't lay my hands on the book for the life of me (my shelves are three books deep and a happy mess) but it's awesome, and you're going to want all those books in the series, anyway. :)

I can't wait to read this Mammoth! I have the Mammoth book of paranormal romance and it's so fun to have short stories to read.

PJ said...

Anna, I'm looking forward to reading your short story. It already has me hooked! Hope you're having fun in Denver. See you soon!

Some of my favorites have already been mentioned: Again the Magic, It Happened One Night and The Edge of Desire, which I think is one of the best Stephanie Laurens has ever written. I gave it 5 stars when I reviewed it.

Another favorite second-chance story is one with a twist. In When the Duke Returns by Eloisa James, the hero and heroine were married eleven years earlier (by proxy) and have never met. Wanting a husband and children, she lures him home from his adventures abroad. He offers an annulment...she wants his heart...and the fun begins!

Christie Kelley said...

She took my post! Okay, nobody laugh but in seven days there will be a post that looks remarkably like this one, except the excerpt will change. And I'll be traveling too!

And by the way, Fo, your short story turned out to be 31 pages in the book.

I love reunion stories too. One of my favorites was written by my critique partner, Kathy Love. It was her first contemporary romance, Getting What You Want.

Scorpio M. said...

Hi Anna, hope you are enjoying RomCon, saw on Pamela Clare's FB that you guys went to dinner. So cool! Love both your books!

Liz Carlyle's, Beauty Like The Night is a reunion story that stayed with me. It was a sort of Cinderella theme because the heroine was poor and Cam the hero was aristocracy. Very angsty and heartfelt.

Minna said...

I love reunion stories and I have read many of those, but only one I can think of right now is the one about Ehlana and Sparhawk written by David Eddings, because I'm reading it right now.

Deb said...

Hey, Anna. I hope you are enjoying yourself in the Mile High City.

Does the reunion story have to be a written one? My fave movie reunion is Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr meeting again at the end of the movie. So romantic.

Morning Glow from Novel Addiction said...

You know, I love the reunion stories, and I would definitely love to read your short story (and the rest from this collection!) but I can't think of a single reunion story I love. I know there's been several. Ugh.

But really, I love reading them. And since I love fantasy too, I've gotten into the soulmate sort of stories. Where they meet in the past, and their souls find each other again in the future. *Sniffle*

catslady said...

Oh, I have been hearing great things about this book - sounds wonderful. And I'm also going to admit that I'm terrile at remember titles and names unless I just read it :( I do love the premise.

Virginia said...

Congrats Helen on the rooster, have fun with him!

I have seen this book around and it looks really good. I will have to start watching for it. I love a good reunion story! I think I would really enjoy this book.

Caffey said...

Reunion stories are one of my favorites to read in historicals! Lisa Kleypas's AGAIN, THE MAGIC. This is the one where the bubbling romance of the heroine Aline is falling for a stable boy, John McKenna. When horrible disfiguring happens to Aline, she feels that he won't want her anymore so she uses her upbringing as the excuse of rejecting him and he leaves. I connected with the heroine in the way of the 'disability' she has, the loneliness, the difficulty in accepting it, and more, made me close to the heroine, that I could feel her pain as she re-united with the hero years later. I cried with her! Got to bring this out for a re-read!

cathiecaffey @

Caren Crane said...

Helen, congrats to you!!

Anna, two of my most favorite things all together: Regency Romance and YOU! This anthology will be wonderful, I'm sure. Can't wait to get my hands on it!

I love reunion stories, especially when the couple were childhood friends. One of my very favorites is Deb Marlowe's Tall, Dark and Disreputable. TONS of conflict from their past together and a simply delectable hero in Mateo Cardea - yum!

I recommend Deb's book to anyone who loves a reunion story. Not sure when the US release date is, but you lucky people in the Mills & Boon market can find it!

Caren Crane said...

Speaking of movies and Cary Grant, a GREAT reunion story is His Girl Friday which he starred in with Rosalind Russell. An exceptional story of the past coming back to haunt you and taunt you! *g*

Kirsten said...

The reunion story that I love is Catherine Anderson´s Always in my heart. A husband and wife lost their eldest son and split when their pain seperated them. Their other 2 sons hatch a plan so that the grieving parents get together again. As does their family. Very succesfully done boys.

Beautiful writing, so much emotion, I cried and laughed and cried some more. A real heartfelt story that I remember well and would recommend.

Donna MacMeans said...

Seems to me...with Anna, Christine and Christy all having stories in this book - it should have been named THE BANDITA BOOK of REGENCY. (grin)

Love anthologies where you can read one short story for a romance fix when you need one.

Andrea said...

Congrats on the GR, Helen!

Hey, Anna! Hope you're having a great time at RomCon! I am sooooooo looking forward to this book and have been for some time. Can't wait to read your story and those of my many other favorite authors. :)

I love reunion stories and have many favorites, but I'll list the last one I read: When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn Smith. Loved the story and its hero, Jack. Sigh.

Nancy said...

Helen, congrats on the GR! Oooh, white chocolate Tim Tams. He's going to be so very smug and obnoxious. . . .

Anna, your story sounds great. I've just recently discovered the "Mammoth Books" series, and they look great. I already have the Special Ops Romance one here (no surprise, I'm sure) and will be on the lookout for this one.

I don't read a lot of anthologies, but I do like to keep some on hand. With stories by you and Christie, this one's a must-buy.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Anna! Congrats on making it into the Mammoth book! I love these books. Lots of short stories by great authors who specialize in these genres!!

Lois said...

Now, I knew I have read plenty of reunion books, just couldn't think of any -- the already mentioned Persuasion and Again the Magic I have and reread, but I was desperately trying to think of something else to have a different answer. Just now as I was brushing my hair, I saw a book on the shelf, and said to self, think that might be one -- Instant Temptation by Jill Shalvis. At the very least, they've known each other for a while, but can swear one of them left for a while and maybe came back. LOL :) Still liked it regardless. :) And sure can't wait for this book to come out; so many Regency authors that I read in it!


MaryC said...

I'm really excited and looking forward to this book. Sounds like a slice of heaven.

I love reunion romances and love writing them too... I'm drawing a complete blank on a favorite so is it bad to say that my favorite is the one I'm working on at the moment?

Reading through the comments, I have to agree - LOVED the stories in It Happened One Night.

Karyn Gerrard said...

I would have to go with Again, the Magic as well, but I am on a bit of a Lisa Kleypas tear, devouring book after book from her backlist!

Beth said...

Congrats on Upon A Midnight Clear, Anna! Loved the excerpt *g* Reunion stories are some of my absoltue favorites and I can't to read yours in that Mammoth book ;-)

Pat Cochran said...

This truly sounds like a "couple"
story that I will enjoy reading!
The conversations between the two
are always so amusing and I find
myself laughing out loud. I then
have to share with Honey, so he doesn't think I'm really going
around the bend!

Louisa Cornell said...

He heard about those white choco Tim Tams, Helen and headed your way. No fool is he, our fine feathered friend!

I tend to agree that this one needs to be the Mammoth Book of Bandita Regency! Can't wait to get my hands on it. I LOVE this excerpt and I love reunion stories. Everyone had mentioned Again the Magic, which is wonderful!

Another that is a different sort of reunion story is Mastered by Love by Stephanie Laurens. She was a ward to his family, grew up watching him, stayed when he left the house in disgrace and when he returned as the duke he suddenly realizes she'll make the perfect wife. And then in the middle of convincing her he realizes she'll make the perfect love. Great story.

A reunion story near and dear to my heart is This Wicked Game - the novella that came out of the Avon FanLit event. Six aspiring authors (one of them yours truly) had their chapters chosen to tell the story of a wife who comes to London to find the husband she chased from the house on their wedding night. And when they meet in a crowded ballroom - he doesn't know who she is and worse, can't remember her name! We had a ball writing it. I THINK you can still download it on Amazon. It was loads of fun and you will recognize some of those authors' names as they are published now!

Now, where is Sven with my massage?

Anonymous said...


Gannon Carr said...

Anna, I hope you are having a fabulous time at RomCon! I will definitely be adding the Mammoth Book to my TBR pile. Hey, what's one more book when the pile is of Mt. Everest proportions!

I definitely have to go with AGAIN THE MAGIC. A keeper through and through. Don't you just love reunion stories?

Helen, that GR is one lucky bird---Tim Tams! 'Nuff said!

Shelley Munro said...

I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on this book. I'm reading Don't Tempt Me by Loretta Chase at the moment, which is a type of reunion story. Actually reunion stories are one of my favorite tropes. A writer can do so much with them.

Laurie said...

Oh The Mammoth Book of Romance sounds like a wonderful idea. I haven't seen any of the books in this series.

One of my favorite reunion stories is Debbie Macomber's 92 Pacific Blvd.

Ex-HS girlfriend Faith moves back to Cedar Cove to be with Troy,the Sheriff. Both are now widowed. However, the sheriff's daughter Megan gets upset so they break up again. Only Faith has already sold her home and moves back to Cedar Cove anyway.

Debbie creates real people. You feel for them. You route for them to overcome the obstacles and get together.