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Monday, December 19, 2011

Deverell's Dilemma Jacket Cover

   GOOD NEWS. I have just received the jacket cover for my book Deverell's Dilemma. The publisher has even used my title, which they don't often do. I understand it will be available sometime in February 2012 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
     It is exciting to finally see it coming together. Can't wait to hold it in my hands.
   Here's a teaser:
   It was just another dinner party until Alexandra shows up, a ravishing auburn-haired beauty. Deverell Bromfield doesn't recognize her as the spindly legged redhead with the fly-away hair he'd known as a youth. He hasn't trusted women since Ariadne threw him over for a viscount. Can he set that aside to pursue the delightful, unpredictable Alexi?
   At last convinced she truly loves him, he wants to marry her, but scandal rocks his family. His brother is accused of murder. Alexi's father forbids the match. Deverell searches for Nat to assure himself the boy is safe. He finds him in the backstreets of London, working in a warehouse. Determined to save him and win  Alexi's hand, Deverell sets out to find the real killer only to discover the evidence points to her brother. She is infuriated by his pursuit of her brother.
   The enticing Ariadne, now widowed re-enters Deverell's life with information he needs to prove the real murderer's guilt. Will she lure him back to her arms?
   Deverell is on the horns of a dilemma.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Favorite Authors Through the Years II

   Georgette Heyer has been one of my all-time favorites for at least 45 years. I know, I'm giving away my age. She is one of the authors whose books I have collected and re-read several times. My sister-in-law and I discovered them in the library and took great delight in trying to out-do each other in the use of Heyer's famous cant terms. Some of my favorites are 'dicked in the nob', 'faradiddles', and 'make a cake of oneself".
  Miss Heyer's use of humor and witty stories along with her description of the Regency period sparked my interest then and still does today. The ball, the dress, the courtly manners drew me right in. But I loved even more the heroines who spoke their minds and ignored the strict rules of the day.
   The irrepressible Leonie and the dangerous Duke of Avon make for an unlikely hero and heroine in These Old Shades, but the story is delightful and one you will long remember. Faro's daughter, The Grand Sophy and Frederica are also enchanting along with the more than fifty books written by Miss Heyer.
    She was a very private person and because of her success was forced to keep her life hidden from the public. Her first novel was published at nineteen, but her breakout book was These Old Shades published in 1926. She was her own greatest critic and would be amazed at the number of people who still read and adore her work.  If you like English history you MUST read Georgette Heyer.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Favorite Authors Through the Years

Years ago I read Helen MacInnes. She was born in Scotland lived in England and married an Oxford Don. Later they moved to the United States. Her books were full of intrigue and espionage. Above Suspicion,  her first book, was an immediate success and set her on the path to becoming an international best seller.
   I loved her stories set in Greece and Crete after World War II.  Decision at Delphi and North from Rome are two Her descriptions of the area gave you the sense of being there amongst the temples and coliseums. Some of the characters were in more than one book and it was hard to tell if they were friend or foe, but I enjoyed the twists and turns the plots took.
   Several stories were based in England and Europe and dealt with Communism. I've read all her books until some on my shelves are falling apart. The Salsburg Connection and Above Suspicion were made into movies.
From England to Crete and everywhere in between Mary Stewart spins tales of intrigue and romance. Mary traveled with her husband, a professor of geology at the University of Edinburgh. Those travels gave her a wealth of knowledge about  far off places that filled her stories with realistic backgrounds.
   Romance played a larger part in her stories than in MacInnes', but the suspense kept you turning the pages. From her first book Madam Will You Talk  for over thirty years she kept her audience wanting more. Today she is considered the writer who created Romantic Suspense.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Will They or Won't They

   I've been putting most of my time and energy into getting my second manuscript ready to send to my publisher. I took two characters from my first story and wove a romance between them. My critique group helped smoothed out the rough places and and  fill in the holes. They are a great bunch of girls and we work hard for each other. Their encouragement is a lifeline.

Now that the manuscript is in the mail the waiting game begins. Will the editors like it or not? That is the BIG question.

In the meanwhile five chapters of my new novel are finished . This one is written in an earlier era, 1200-1300 and it's set in Burgundy and the Middle East. No, it is not about the crusades. It is a love story with a different twist and I am researching diligently. I am a history lover so it has been enjoyable to learn about another time and place.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Regency Romance (part two)

   In Regency times before a man could court a young woman he had to ask her father's permission. The father might ask if the girl was willing and allow her to make the choice. Or he might tell her the young man would be offering for her and she was to accept.

   During the courtship the fellow would squire his lady to the theater and other entertainments. After the engagement, stolen kisses, love letters, small gifts and moments alone would be allowed, but a chaperone would be somewhere lurking about. Of course we all know more intimate things did happen, but not in a sweet romance.

   The Prince Regent set a rather profligate tone for the era with mistresses and many illegitimate children. Some of the noble families followed his example. Young women were warned to ignore their husband's mistresses.

One of the interesting customs for a married woman was the attachment of men called cisebows. Some husbands did not care for the round of parties and soirees their wives  attended so the women had male friends who escorted them. They showered her with flowery compliments and acted the gallant, all with her husband's approval. these relationships were supposed to be platonic, but it does make you wonder.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Regency Romance

   Romance among the upper crust of the Regency was not as romantic as it seemed. Some marriages were predetermined by the parents of the young man and woman, often for financial purposes. Sometimes because of neighboring properties. One family might have money; the other  a deteriorating castle or lands. A title might be the reason; a rich baronet's daughter marries the dukes eldest son. In some cases little thought was given to the boy and girl as to whether they would suit or even liked each other.
                                                                                                                                          BALL GOWN
  Then there was the 'Season', late January to early July in London. It was really another name for a marriage market. It coincided with Parliament's session. The girls' parents bought them the finest wardrobes their money could buy. Several morning gowns, riding habits, walking dresses, ball gowns, shawl and wraps, gloves, hats etc. There was also the court dress for the presentation to the queen, always the finest and most expensive. It would have been an embarrassment to be seen in the same dress twice, especially ball gowns. Just the excitement of a brand new wardrobe of that magnitude would be enough to set most girls heads spinning.

  There were parties, dinners and balls; one was expected to attend one or two crushes each evening. Then there was Almack's. A committee of high- born ladies administered vouchers to those favored to enter it's doors. There a night of dinner and dancing where the cream of the ton, male and female could be found. A voucher was so sought after that the patronesses became very powerful among the ton. Some prerequisites to entree were careful dress, graceful dancing, beauty, wit, and good taste. The cream of Nobility was on parade.

The young women would be escorted by their mothers or an older female relative to the parties, etc. They were never allowed on the streets alone, but were escorted by a brother, abigail or other paid servant when shopping, going to the public library or visiting. A young man and woman had to be introduced by a third party known to both, and rarely were they alone together before they were engaged.

More next time on why we find this all so exciting.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Modern Fairy Tale

   I've just had this wonderful idea for a story. The hero will be a handsome prince named William, and the heroine a commoner named, hmmm--let's see-- Kate will do. They meet at university and are attracted to each other. She is beautiful and he's down to earth, for a prince.

   Life hasn't been easy for our prince. His parents divorced when he was an adolescent. It was scandalous for a prince and princess of the realm to part. The newspapers were filled the story, and the paparazzi followed his mother everywhere. William hated it for her and himself. He was a private person. A few years later his mother was killed in a tragic car accident. His scars were many and kept deep inside. After all he was a prince. He must carry on.
   The beautiful Kate was born into a family far removed from the spotlight. Her parents both worked for an airline when they met, but later started their own business which soon grew to multi-million dollar status. Life had been simple until  university and William. It was flattering and exciting to be wooed by a prince and there was no doubt she deeply cared for him. They developed a close friendship, but did she want to live in the glare of  all things royal? For several years their romance was on again, off again. Would she give in to her love for William or pursue her career in her family's business?

   At last love won out and the two were wed in the pomp and circumstance of Westminster Abbey with all of England and half of the United States watching that sweet kiss of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge from the balcony of Windsor Castle.

   Aaah -- sweet romance --

   OOPS! I think the story has already been told.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Regency Gentleman

The rules of the Regency were a myriad of does and don'ts. Even the men did not escape, though they had far more freedom. Remember when you were told the man always walks on the side of the lady closest to the street? In the late 18th and 19th centuries there was a very good reason for that.
Whether dirt or cobbled, the gutters of the streets were filled with refuse of the most disgusting kinds. Rain puddles and horse droppings also pervaded the avenues. Thus the man walked next to the street to protect the lady from splashes of mud and garbage or heaven forbid, a runaway horse-drawn vehicle.
When alone in a carriage with a lady, he must take the seat facing backwards across from her. They may not sit side by side unless they are related.
He must never introduce himself to a female he does not know but must be introduced by a mutual friend or relative. The gentleman is always introduced to the lady, never the other way around.
   Education was not compulsory, but most upper class boys attended boarding schools or universities, ie Eton, Cambridge or Oxford. Their studies consisted of the classics, mathematics, history law and philosophy.
Here many made life-long friends.

Away from their homes and the discipline of parents and the guiding hand of a governess or tutor many fell into gambling, drinking and wenching. Thankfully, they matured and went on to become the handsome, debonair heroes of our modern day writers. Unless, of course, you like your hero a bit more mysterious and unpredictable.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Publishing Date

I have a probable publishing date for my Regency Sweet Romance. February 2012. At this point they couldn't give me a definite time. But I'm excited to know that it's really going to happen, even if it is almost a year away.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Young Women of the Regency

     The well-bred girls of the nobility and gentry were considered school children until they were seventeen. They dressed simply and were not to speak in public unless spoken to first. Then at eighteen all that would change with their first season in London. There would be new gowns of all descriptions including ball gowns,  walking dresses and morning gowns.

     The season began with her debut at St. James Palace. Then an  endless round of parties and balls. The desire of every young lady was a voucher to the exclusive Almack's club where she would be seen by the cream of eligible Regency bachelors. To be betrothed at the end of her first season was every girl's dream, although it sometimes took a second and third. It was during this time that families hoped for suitable alliances amongst others of the same class. Wealth might be important, but rank was supreme and a title most desirable. All this was to be accomplished in the five months time.

     For most women, her greatest aim was to be married. Spinsterhood was frowned upon and a single woman's life was bound by many restrictions. She could be 'auntie' to her nieces and nephews or live with her parents. Life had to be lived carefully so that scandal was not brought upon the family. But you can be sure there was some rebels who lived their lives as they saw fit.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Regency England

     In 1811 King George the third was no longer able to rule England due to his 'madness' now known to be caused by the disease Porphyria. His son George became the Regent, or the ruling power. The period lasted until the death of George the third in 1821 when the Regent became George IV. I have found variations on these dates in different articles and books. Jane Austen began to write her novels in 1797 which is usually included in this era.

     The war with Napoleon was being waged in Europe as well as the American War of 1812 -1814. In 1815, the end of the Napoleonic war, soldiers came home to an economic depression. Riots raged amongst the laboring poor across the country because of unstable prices and working conditions.

     In the midst of all this most of the the nobility continued their lives as usual. The Prince Regent the most extravagant of all. He built luxurious homes including the Pavillions which he regularly redecorated at the slightest whim.

  Next time Romance in the Regency.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Historical Fiction and Why it's My Favorite Read

   I started reading historical novels as a teenager and they are still my favorites. Georgette Heyer is a particular love of mine. Her humor and cant terms of the Regency period in England caught my attention first. Also her grasp of the mores and culture of the time are fascinating to me.

   Then there are the stories of Jane Austen. I have read them all, and I have to admit they are a bit wordy for me. But the stories are delightful and I love the movies that have been made from them. The costumes, the architecture and furnishings all spark my imagination

    Who has not swooned over Colin Firth as the inimitable Mr. Darcy. Or loved Ciaran Hinds as Captain Wentworth in 'Perusasion'. Then there is Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson in 'Sense and Sensibility'.

   I could go on and on, but I shall just say these are the reasons I have chosen to write about the Regency Period. I'll tell you more about it next week.

Friday, March 11, 2011


   While I am waiting to hear from my publisher I am editing,editing, editing my next book. For every word you write you edit three times, at least that's how it seems to me.
   I guess there are some authors, who are so practiced or talented, they can write, edit once and it's done. I am neither practiced or that talented. I am sure I will be editing my book even after that beautiful hardback copy is in my hands.
   I do belong to a wonderful small critique group. I would never have made it this far without them. I am  thankful for their gift of seeing forgotten commas, lack of emotion, unnecessary words, etc. They find  all these after I have edited the pages at least three times.
   The best thing about this group is we cheer each other on, hold each other's hand in the down times, and celebrate the good times. What a blessing.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Waiting Game

   There is nothing like the thrill of 'the call' and signing your first contract. Unless it's the third and the fourth, etc. The shock is simply amazing. It takes days, actually weeks, to come down to earth. Each new step in the process is exciting and a little scary. Will I do it right? My insecurities are showing.
   One morning, you open your e-mail and there is the editorial letter. How many pages? Less than two. Not too bad. Nothing big, just minor stuff. Revisions sent back and accepted. Yeah.
   Now I'm in another waiting period. Waiting to see my manuscript in print. Is that when it becomes real? I'm waiting to see.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Beginnings

   There's a new look to my blog, a new energy in my life and a new venture in my writing.
    Late in December, while I was with my critique group, I received a phone call from Avalon Books. Their question took my breath away. "Is your book Deverell's Dilemma still available?" When I could speak I assured her it was. "Would you like a contract with Avalon Books?" Would I like a contract? I could hardly contain myself. "Yes," I gasped. I heard a soft chuckle on the other side of the line.
   Meanwhile my partners were listening intently. When I hung up I was in shock. "They want my book." Pandemonium broke loose. Screaming and jumping and hugs all around. Needless to say not much was accomplished after that. It was days before I could think straight.
  It is all a bit surreal yet. Maybe when I get my publishing date or see my book cover I'll believe it. I'll let you know.