The free promotion succeeded beyond my expectations--frankly, I'm not at all sure I had any expectations. On the bestseller lists it topped out at #14 in Historical Romance downloads at Amazon US, #23 in the UK, #6 in France, #2 for Regency in Canada, and #2 for Historical in Brazil. Considering the competition in eBooks, it's hard not to feel somewhat chuffed! Thanks to everyone responsible for these high rankings--I hope you enjoyed the story and will also sample my full-length novels!
"The Apple Blossom Bower" has reverted to the original price of 99 cents, or the equivalent in other currencies. Here are purchase links to most editions (all English language):
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The area in which the story unfolds is, as usual, one known to me. As a student I spent time in Devon during summer. I was based in Exeter, and journeyed southwards down the river and northwards to Dartmoor.
One of my most memorable visits to that region served as fodder for the novella. One spring we stayed in the area of Ashsprington and Harbertonford, seeing friends and covering the Tuckenhay-Totnes region as well as visiting the Royal Naval College and Dartmouth. (Where I encountered the real Christopher Robin Milne, who owned a bookshop.)
I remember the food of The Maltsters Arms quite fondly. It was owned by a famous television chef, now deceased, and has the most delightful riverside views.
Just prior to my move from the Rocky Mountain West to New England, my publisher invited me to provide a novella for an anthology featuring some of their bestselling authors. Time being of the essence, I plumbed my memory banks for a location that I knew so well I wouldn't have to do massive amounts of research. The answer was that part of Devonshire. My story that rose from a specific place...and next I needed to create a plausible plot that would be logical for that setting.
I chose not to deal with smuggling directly, but instead with the effect of it upon the daughter of notorious smuggler. I decided also, having driven along lanes bordered by apple orchards in bloom, and having drunk many a pint of good Devon cider, that apple trees would be incorporated somehow.
But I had an even more compelling need to write about apple trees...I was preparing to leave my own backyard orchard. Our apple trees were extremly reliable, excellent bearers. People who "knew" apples judged them to be an older variety--though I tried, I never accurately identified the exact type. I only know it was perfect for eating, cooking, and keeping. Our dogs loved to rest in the shade of the spreading branches of the largest tree.
The locations of my story are mostly fictional. However, the Royal Castle Hotel in its much earlier incarnation is the popular Castle Inn of my story.
Annis Kelland makes a lotion of primroses in an attempt to eliminate her freckles. (I've often used primrose soap on my face.) I took this primrose photo in Devon.
(I grow them in New England.)
Another personal experience related to The Apple Blossom Bower: I recall drinking a fair amount of Calvados (apple brandy) in the name of "research" during the writing of this tale. I hope it's not the worse for it!