Book Hangover: Mary Balogh’s Only Enchanting

Balogh-Only-EnchantingThis past week, I read Mary Balogh’s upcoming (10/28) release Only Enchanting. You know those books that make your heart squeeze tighter with each page? How you love the characters and are hoping they make it through? Yup. I got the worst book hangover from that one, I haven’t even wanted to read a romance since*.

Balogh has written some of my absolute favorite books ever, and she’s also written a few that I’ve DNFed. But even the ones I Didn’t Finish were written beautifully, I just didn’t connect with the characters or the plot in some way.

But Only Enchanting–it is just stunning, and it’s not like it’s got any kind of huge dramatic action. If the two characters didn’t end up Happily Ever After, it’s not as though the world would have shifted; they just both would have remained unfulfilled in their lives. Which would have been sad for them, of course, but not been a crisis.

Refreshingly, when there is a misunderstanding, the hero and heroine TALK to each other. And things aren’t always perfect after, but at least they’ve communicated.

So, beyond highly recommending this book–it got me to thinking about why writers write; we want to capture that heart-squeezing moment on the page and hopefully cause that reaction in our readers.

In me writing news, my editor accepted the revision for my February 2015 novella, When Good Earls Go Bad; this week, I’m revising Put Up Your Duke, which is due to my editor on Halloween (spooky!). And then, no deadlines for a while, good timing with the holidays approaching.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend reading and writing!

Megan

*I’m reading William Gibson’s Neuromancer, which is mind-blowingly awesome.

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NJRW Conference, NaNoWriMo and Histromnet

Sorry for the alphabet soup in the title!

Diane already talked about the New Jersey Romance Writers conference, where she, Gail and I were fortunate enough to hang out together and celebrate Diane’s finaling in the Golden Leaf with A Marriage of Notoriety. I enjoyed the published authors’ retreat (they serve wine and chocolate pretzels), workshops on the business and craft of writing, and just being with other Regency authors (there are none in my local writing circle). Here are pics of Gail and me at the booksigning.

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Gail and I also spent some time on Saturday night brainstorming individual story ideas. I’ll leave it to Gail to talk about hers when she’s ready. All I’ll say is the beginning parts she read to me were delightful! As for me, I’m feeling more ready to go ahead and write prequel and sequel novellas to Lady Em’s Indiscretion.

nanowrimoIn fact, I think I’m going to join others in doing the National Novel Writing Month challenge. For anyone who’s unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, the idea is to draft 50,000 words of a new novel within the month of November.

There are naysayers who say it’s impossible to write 50,000 of publishable, readable fiction in one month. Actually, I know people who can do that (not me!) but for most writers, that is true. I’m sure loads of dreck is produced during NaNoWriMo. Probably some of it will make its way, unedited, into Kindle Direct Publishing but that’s no big deal, really. Others, like me, see the challenge as a fun way to generate ideas. We’re very aware that more time will be spent afterwards to rework and polish our ideas into readable fiction.

In years that I’m busy editing in the fall, I don’t do NaNoWriMo. But when it fits where I’m at in the writing–as it does this year–I join in. I admit, I love watching the progress meter rise! So wish me luck and anyone else doing the challenge, feel free to add me as a “Writing Buddy”. My NaNoWriMo ID is Elena Greene, with just a space in the middle.

Finally, something for all the historical romance lovers out there who would like to spread the word about this wonderful genre. A group of authors have created the Historical Romance Network. One project has been the creation of a video celebrating the variety of historical romance. Check it out here.

You’re all also invited to join the Fall Back in Time Facebook event. On November 1st, post a selfie taken while holding a historical romance. What a great way to celebrate historical romance (and an extra hour of sleep). :)

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Elena

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Austen, balloons, mystery purchase

L+DWho else is planning to watch Death Comes to Pemberley next Sunday? I thought the book was not one of PD James’s best, but quite often not so good books make good tv, so I’m cautiously optimistic. Here’s the preview. What do you think of Matthew Rhys/Anna Maxwell Martin as the dynamic duo?

More Austen news–I attended the JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) AGM in Montreal a couple of weekends ago and here are a few pics:

An amazing bonnet, with a booklet on how it was made, being offered at silent auction. It would be the sort of item that, if you could afford it, would have to be placed reverently under glass and gazed upon:

DSCN1796The view from my hotel room, early in the morning:

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We gather, most of us all dressed up, for a banquet and ball (there were French officers [!!!] with very interesting headgear in attendance, but you’ll have to take my word for it because naturally I didn’t get any pics of them):

DSCN1813Old Montreal on a lovely sunny day:

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And back to the topic of tv, did you see the amazing edition of NOVA this evening, Ben Franklin’s Balloons, in which French people, some of whom were descended from the Montgolfier brothers, and most of whom wore very stylish scarves, successfully duplicated early balloons and flights. You can view the preview here.

And now for the mystery household purchase:

Class Five Flushing Technology Provides Tremendous Bulk Waste Flushing Performance And Best-In-Class Bowl Cleanliness

Pure poetry.

And can you explain why not so good books make the best tv?

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Rogue Spy – Interview with Jo Bourne – Giveaway

Interview and Giveaway With Jo Bourne

Welcome to the Risky Regencies, Jo Bourne! I am so excited to have you here to visit. Please, do come down from the pedestal I keep you on…

About Jo Bourne

Author photo of Joanna Bourne. She has short curly hair and glasses.
Joanna Bourne

Joanna lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge with her family, a medium-sized mutt and a faux Himalayan cat. She writes Historical Romances set in England and France during the Napoleonic Wars.

She’s fascinated by that time and place – such passionate conviction and burning idealism … and really sexy clothes.

 

Where to Find Jo

Website: http://www.joannabourne.com/
Blog: http://jobourne.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joanna.bourne.5
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jobourne

About Rogue Spy

Cover of Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne
Cover of Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne
Ten years ago he was a boy, given the name Thomas Paxton and sent by Revolutionary France to infiltrate the British Intelligence Service. Now his sense of honor brings him back to London, alone and unarmed, to confess. But instead of facing the gallows, he’s given one last impossible assignment to prove his loyalty.

Lovely, lying, former French spy Camille Leyland is dragged from her safe rural obscurity by threats and blackmail. Dusting off her spy skills, she sets out to track down a ruthless French fanatic and rescue the innocent victim he’s holding—only to find an old colleague already on the case. Pax.

Old friendship turns to new love, and as Pax and Camille’s dark secrets loom up from the past, Pax is left with a choice—go rogue from the Service or lose Camille forever. . .

Read an excerpt: http://www.joannabourne.com/

Our Risky Interview

Q: At the Riskies, we love research stories. Can you tell us about some of the research you did for this book?

The problem with talking about research in a book that’s hitting the shelf now, is that I wrote it and did the research for it a year or more ago. I have trouble remembering the research I did last Tuesday, (hint: it was about small rivers in Kent,) let alone what I was looking at in April a year ago.

I do remember Rogue Spy was stuffed with foreign language — Latin and Italian mostly — but with odd bits of this and that tucked in various places. I spent the whole writing year up to my keister in lists of Latin phrases, trying to find something Classical that would work in my dialog.

The Italian about drove me crazy. (Note to fellow writers — Google Translate is NOT sufficient.) I am soooo glad I was using Tuscan, the mother of modern Italian, rather than some other two-century-old Italian dialect.

Can I give a shout out to my publisher, Berkley? They gave me a copyeditor who apparently spoke all these languages (or knew how to do really good language research.) Anything I got right, the copyeditor did it.

Q: Have you ever come across a historical fact where you just went “Huh. Who’d a thunk it?”

One factoid that struck me recently . . .

In the Work in Progress I send my protagonists riding through deserted stretches of countryside, headed from London to the southeast coast of England. The Dover to Folkestone area.

Did you know the big road running down to Dover and Folkestone is a Roman road?

Okay. Okay. Everybody else in the world probably knows this.  Maybe I even knew this.  But I’d never thought about it.

The A2, Dover to London Road, is Watling Street, a Celtic trackway that was there when the Romans invaded and started paving everything. This is probably the road Chaucer’s Pilgrims travelled.

That was all not-so-useful factoid because I didn’t use the A2. My action was better suited to the A20.

I spend a lot of my time looking at period maps.

Q: Have you ever wanted to write in another historical period?

If I couldn’t write Regency/Napoleonic War books — let’s say the market dried up or became saturated or whatever — I’d probably scuttle over to Urban Fantasy.  It would be such a relief not doing half an hour’s research to find out when the bridge in Farningham, Kent was built. (It’s Medieval.)

If I were going to write in another historical period . . . Classical Rome. What delightful, ruthless, aristocrats. What politics. What clash of ideals.

Did I mention the really cool Roman clothing?

Q: Read any good books lately?

Oh yes.  Yes. Let me list a few Historical Romances that just came out or are about to:

  • Grace Burrowes, What a Lady Needs for Christmas.
  • Donna Thorland, Mistress Firebrand. (Okay. That’s not actually out yet.)
  • Mary Jo Putney, Not Quite a Wife.
  • Jeannie Lin, Gunpowder Alchemy. (Umm … that’s another one not quite on the shelves.)
  • Shana Galen, Love and let Spy.

Q: Volcanoes. For or against?

One has to applaud the showmanship. The edge-of-the-chair anticipation. The brilliant reds and oranges. The ionized lightning that flashes from the ominous plumes of black rising to the sky.

On the other hand, there’s the possibility one of them may bring civilization, as we know it, to an end. Or destroy all life on earth.

Not good.

So I’m fence-sitting on this topic.

Q: Favorite historical weapon?

Black, well-honed, carefully balanced throwing knives.  They are not so much weapons as works of art.  But you knew I was going to say that.

Q: What’s next for you?

I’m working fitfully and with varying levels of success on the Séverine story. We will see how that comes out. Eventually.

Giveaway

We’re giving away three copies of Rogue Spy! Digital or print, winner’s choice.

Rules: Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 to enter. For a digital copy, you need to be able to accept a gift card from a US-based vendor.

Winner chosen at random from among the commenters at the blog. Comment before midnight Eastern, Friday, October 31, 2014. Alternate winners will be chosen for winners who do not reply to my notification after 10 days.

To enter, comment with your guess as to Jo’s favorite color. (Being right or wrong on this has no bearing on your chances of winning, so feel free to be creative.) Like, “Jo Bourne’s favorite color is the soft blue of the sky at dusk.”

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Deadline Mania!

LadyHighwaymanHelp!  I have a WIP due in (gulp) less than two weeks, and am, as usual, a bit behind.  So let’s have a contest!  I have a DVD of a wonderfully horrible 1989 movie (from a Barbara Cartland novel!), The Lady and the Highwayman.  It has–wait for it–a young Hugh Grant as a Restoration highwayman.  With a mullet!!!!  This film MUST be seen to be believed, and I will give it away to one commenter on today’s post.  Just tell me–what’s your favorite “so bad it’s great” movie?  What do you watch when you need a laugh, or a comfort-watch?

See you on the other side of my deadline!

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Risky Regencies Meet!

This weekend I attended the New Jersey Romance Writers Put Your Heart In A Book annual conference. My A Marriage of Notoriety was a finalist for their Golden Leaf contest. Alas, it did not win. That honor went to Caroline Linden for Love and Other Scandals.
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But it was a great consolation to me that I had two of the Risky Regencies at my side to console me. Elena and Gail and I got to spend a little bit of time together and that was really wonderful. Here’s our selfie as proof:
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On Sunday after the conference I went into the City (New York City, of course) to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and gazed upon some familiar and loved paintings of “our” era (well, a little before our era), like this 1790 Thomas Lawrence of Elizabeth Farren, the Irish actress who later became the Countess of Derby.
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But I also saw some new-to-me portraits.

Sir Joshua Reynolds’ portrait (1766) of The Honorable Henry Fane, Inigo Jones, and Charles Blair.
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The Inigo Jones of this portrait (left) is a descendent and namesake of the celebrated architect of the same name.

Henry Fane (center) (1739-1802) was the second son of the 8th Earl of Westmorland and was once describes as “very idle and careless and spending much timie in the country”–with friends like Charles and Inigo, I wonder? He became a MP for Lyme Regis, the family’s rotten borough. He married the daughter of a banker and had 14 children!

Charles Blair (right) is Fane’s brother-in-law, about whom there is nothing in Wikipedia (even I appear in Wikipedia). To me, he is the most prominent figure in the portrait.

Another portrait I’d not seen before was this Henry Raeburn portrait of George Harley Drummond.
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Drummond’s life reads like a character from a Regency novel…and I don’t mean the hero! He was born into a banking family but was orphaned at the age of five and brought up by relatives. His father was a terrible spendthrift and gambler and left his son with huge debts, but those banking relatives managed to build up the fortune again by the time Drummond reached his majority. He turned out, though, to be just as reckless as his father. The relatives, recognizing this, did not let him become a partner in the bank, although he received an income from it. He made a hasty marriage, built a castle he couldn’t afford, and became an MP for two terms. In 1820 his debts caught up with him. (He was said to have lost £20,000 to Beau Brummmell in one session at White’s). He deserted his wife and ran off with the wife of a Navy captain. Ultimately he fled his creditors and escaped to Ireland where he lived the rest of his life.

This painting, though, was more renowned because of its depiction of the grazing horse. To paint the horse in this position was a very difficult endeavor. No one knows why Raeburn painted the horse with its hindquarters so prominent, but I think the artist might have been trying to say that the subject of the portrait was a horse’s ass.

The painting does show a gentleman’s clothes in great detail, though.

All in all I had a wonderful weekend! Risky Regencies, fellow writers, famous paintings and a horse’s ass!
How was your weekend?

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Regency Masquerades Ball ~ Winners!

RiskyRegenciesRMHeader2Congratulations to all our winners!

Lord Langdon's Kiss by Elena GreeneThe winner of Lord Langdon’s Kiss by Elena Greene is Library Pat.

 

 

 

 

poeticjusticeThe winner of Poetic Justice by Alicia Rasley is Susan/DC.

 

 

 

 

rakewallflowerThe winner of The Rake and the Wallflower by Allison Lane is Maribelle.

 

 

 

 

pjourneynewThe winner of A Perilous Journey by Gail Eastwood is Melody Gonser.

 

 

 

 
gabriellaThe winner of Gabriella by Brenda Hiatt is Barbara Literski.

 

 

 

 

rakespinsterThe winner of The Rake and the Spinster by Lynn Kerstan is Edea Baldwin.

 

 

 

 

Winners, Elena Greene will email you to coordinate giving you your prizes.

Thanks to everyone for visiting the Regency Masquerades Ball! We’ve all had a lovely time. :)

For anyone who hasn’t yet purchased the Regency Masquerades set and would like to, get it now while it’s still at the introductory price of 99 cents!

Regency Masquerades is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo Books. Buy now for just 99 cents!

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Regency Masquerades Ball ~ Lucy in Disguise and Giveaway

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Meet the hero and heroine of Lucy in Disguise by Lynn Kerstan, Book #2 in Regency Masquerades, six sparkling Regency romances in one ebook–currently 99 cents!

lucyindisguiseIn Lucy in Disguise, Christoper “Kit” Etheridge, a charming aristocrat in trouble is rescued by a young woman, Lucy Preston, who is disguised as a Lancashire Witch. Love comes swiftly, but she’ll only agree to wed if they protect her friend, a fearful heiress, from a greedy and dangerous family.

“Lynn Kerstan’s talents continue to reach new heights as she explores all aspects of the human heart: the good, the evil, and the passionate.” – Romantic Times

In this scene, Lucy and Kit go to a ball, posing as an engaged couple in order to investigate the shady character who wishes to marry Lucy’s friend Diana.

Excerpt from Lucy in Disguise

“The cotillion is forming, I see. Would you care to dance?”

Her cheeks drained of color. “No, please. I am quite sure I’ve already forgot the steps.”

“Then we shall make a grand circuit, arm in arm. You will gaze insipidly at me while I look down my nose at everyone else.” He threaded her arm through his, feeling her tension, keenly attuned to her mood and to the warmth of her body and the faint fragrance of lavender that hovered about her. Ordering his unruly body to behave itself, he led her in procession along the edge of the dance floor, smiling coolly at the people he knew without approaching them and ostentatiously ignoring the others.

Lucy despised the role she was playing this night, he knew, but he was even less at ease. In other circumstances, he’d have greeted old acquaintances instead of shunning them, danced with the prettiest girls and with the wallflowers, too, and flirted with all the dowagers. He was unused to walking high in the instep, as he was doing now, and found it devilish unpleasant.

Kit turned his attention to the other guests, recognizing several wealthy landowners and a few notable parvenus. Not one of Westmoreland’s aristocratic families was represented, although they must have received invitations. If Crawley was so bold as to send a card to the Earl of Kendal, he’d not have overlooked peers of lesser distinction.

“I do believe,” Kit remarked to Lucy, “that I quite outrank everyone here. And considering how frightfully low on the order of precedence we younger sons of earls are to be found, that is something of an accomplishment.”

“How pleased you must be. But is that of any significance?”

Trust her to come directly to the point. “It is to our advantage, I believe. No one with a speck of good breeding will approach us, which I am sure you are delighted to hear. But more consequential is the pronounced smell of ambition in the air. I surmise that Sir Basil has a fancy to climb the social ladder, and a wife of impeccable birth and breeding would give him a great boost up.”

“Yes, indeed.” Her brow furrowed. “That would explain a good deal, wouldn’t it? I wish we knew more about his origins. Diana said only that he used to live in Manchester and that he was granted a knighthood on recommendation of the Prince Regent.”

“Then we may assume he purchased it, at least indirectly. Prinny is in debt up to his several chins. When my brother has sniffed out how Sir Basil came by his money, I’ll be very much surprised if he acquired it honestly.”

“Where do you suppose he is? I see no one matching the description Diana provided me.”

“Nor do I. Not precisely a cordial host, our dear Sir Basil. But perhaps he is disappointed at the turnout and considers the few guests that did show up to be unworthy of his attention.”

“Which would make him nearly as toplofty as the highest ranking gentleman in the room,” she observed with a sly smile. “We came here only to meet him, Kit. There can be no reason to stay if he’s already toddled off to bed.”

“Nice try, moonbeam, but we’ll keep our anchor in the water a bit longer. The cotillion is forming, I see. Would you care to dance?”

Her cheeks drained of color. “No, please. I am quite sure I’ve already forgot the steps.”

“Then we shall make a grand circuit, arm in arm. You will gaze insipidly at me while I look down my nose at everyone else.” He threaded her arm through his, feeling her tension, keenly attuned to her mood and to the warmth of her body and the faint fragrance of lavender that hovered about her. Ordering his unruly body to behave itself, he led her in procession along the edge of the dance floor, smiling coolly at the people he knew without approaching them and ostentatiously ignoring the others.

Lucy despised the role she was playing this night, he knew, but he was even less at ease. In other circumstances, he’d have greeted old acquaintances instead of shunning them, danced with the prettiest girls and with the wallflowers, too, and flirted with all the dowagers. He was unused to walking high in the instep, as he was doing now, and found it devilish unpleasant.

They were making the turn that would lead them in front of the orchestra’s stage when he glanced toward the ballroom door and saw five men enter. One, a large stocky man with spiky black hair, he recognized immediately. It was the man who had shot him.

“What’s wrong?” Lucy asked softly, following the question with a fatuous giggle.

Good girl! “Don’t be obvious about it, but steal a look at the men who just came into the room. Could any one of them be Crawley?”

“Yes,” she whispered after a moment. “He’s the tall man with the beaked nose. But we must leave here immediately. Bartholomew Pugg is with him.”

Kit seized a flute of champagne from a passing servant and turned to Lucy, shielding her with his body. “Who the devil is Bartholomew Pugg?”

“The Bow Street Runner. The one who came to the cottage. The one who is coming this way right now.”

“Damn.” Feigning a laugh, he held the glass to her lips. She sipped obediently, pretending to look into his eyes while she watched the Runner. A tiny shrug of her left shoulder told Kit when Pugg was close to them, and on which side. With a move designed to appear casual, he drifted a turn, keeping himself between Lucy and the spot where the Runner had halted. He felt the man’s sharp gaze pronging into his back.

“What are we to do?” Lucy mouthed silently.

“Nothing. Go on as you are. Touch my cheek and act besotted.”

Her fingers lifted to his face and curled around his jaw. For a moment he nearly forgot the Runner, and why they were there, and everything else on the planet.

Regency Masquerades

Read Lucy and Kit’s story in Lucy in Disguise, one of six sparkling Regencies in Regency Masquerades, an ebook set which also includes books by Brenda Hiatt, Allison Lane, Gail Eastwood, Alicia Rasley and Elena Greene. Regency Masquerades is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo Books. Buy now for just 99 cents!

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For updates and news on Regency Masquerades and the authors in the set, like us on Facebook.

And now for a giveaway!

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The Rake and the Spinster (A Drewe Sisters novella)

Lady Magdalen Drewe has devoted her life to her orphaned sisters, fiercely determined to protect them from the attentions of predatory males like the too-charming Earl of Keverne. But it’s the spinster who has caught his eye, and when he carries her off to his estate by the sea, she knows he is every bit the scoundrel she had thought. But he also understands her as no one has ever done and shows her how to create a flourishing life of her own. Well, after she puts a bullet in him….

“Kerstan is a superbly talented writer.” Contra Costa Times

We hope you enjoyed this excerpt. Comment for a chance to win an e-copy of The Rake and the Spinster in the format of your choice! All winners will be announced tomorrow (Sunday).

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Regency Masquerades Ball ~ Daring Deception and Giveaway

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Meet the hero and heroine of Daring Deception by Brenda Hiatt, Book #1 in Regency Masquerades, six sparkling Regency romances in one ebook–currently 99 cents!

At the ballroom door…

Master of Ceremonies: Ah, the lady and gentleman just arriving—what a well-matched couple! Judging by the way they move, their fine figures and what I can see of their faces beneath their masks, they are a handsome pair. But… Oh, it appears I was mistaken. They have not come here together after all, for I see no sign of interaction between them. In fact, is that scorn I see gleaming in the lady’s eyes as she gazes upon the gentleman before her? Hm. I do love a good mystery.

“Good evening and welcome. Sir, if I might have your name?”

Gentleman: “Seabrooke.”

Master of Ceremonies: “Ah! Allow me to congratulate you, my lord, on your recent elevation to earl. A fitting reward, I should say. The heroism of Major Gavin Alexander against Napoleon’s forces has been widely celebrated.

Gentleman: “Yes, well, I’ve discovered some rewards come rather dearly bought.”

Master of Ceremonies: Hm. No doubt he means the injury he sustained in his last skirmish—though I see his limp is but slight now. Still, it was thoughtless of me to mention it, I suppose. At least his identity gives me a clue as to why the lady is regarding him with distaste. Lord Seabrooke’s reputation with the fair sex is far from spotless.

(Bows the earl toward the ballroom and turns to the lady.) “Madam?”

Lady: “Miss Frederica Chesterton. However–”

Master of Ceremonies: “Miss Chesterton! Then I perceive my congratulations must be expressed to both you and Lord Seabrooke. I saw news of your betrothal in the papers Thursday last.”

Clearly my first surmise was correct and they have come to the ball together after all. But why did Lord Seabrooke seem so startled just now by the sound of her name? And he continues to regard her most intently—curiously, even. Odd, that.

Lady: “If you please, sir, as I was about to say, I am attending incognito tonight. You see, my formal debut is still some days off and it is not generally known that I am already arrived in Town. Tonight’s masquerade is a practice run, as it were.”

Master of Ceremonies: “Of course, madam! A very clever plan, if I may say so. And perhaps, by pretending to be strangers, you and your betrothed will get to know each other better before your nuptials.”

Gentleman: “No pretence will be necessary. As it happens, Miss Chesterton are only now meeting for the first time. Our betrothal was…handled by proxy.”

Master of Ceremonies: So, a marriage of expediency! I do recall hearing that the Seabrooke title came encumbered by debts, but if so, the earl has kept up appearances remarkably well. So much so that most concluded that the rumors were just that. But perhaps not?

“Then I very much hope you will find this an evening of pleasant discoveries about each other. Ah, it appears the music is about to start…”

From behind a Greek-inspired column…

Brenda Hiatt here, vicariously enjoying the festivities… It’s small wonder if Miss Chesterton seems a bit familiar to Lord Seabrooke, for unbeknownst to him, they have indeed met before this evening. In fact, he knows his betrothed quite well—in the guise of frumpy, bespectacled Miss Cherrystone, whom he hired as live-in nanny to his little ward, Christabel. Of course, Miss Chesterton is well aware of this, as she has intentionally infiltrated his household in hopes of proving him a scoundrel and fortune hunter, so that her brother will allow her to cry off this travesty of a betrothal. Interestingly, although Lord Seabrooke and “Cherry,” as Christabel has dubbed her, often lock horns, both are coming to rather enjoy their verbal sparring matches. Though what will happen to their budding friendship when the lovely Miss Chesterton’s deception is revealed, I don’t like to think…

daringdeception“A first rate book that no Regency reader should miss. It will warm the cockles of your heart.”  (Romance Reviews)

Read Gavin and Frederica’s story in Daring Deception, one of six sparkling Regencies in Regency Masquerades, an ebook set which also includes books by Lynn Kerstan, Allison Lane, Gail Eastwood, Alicia Rasley and Elena Greene. Regency Masquerades is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo Books. Buy now for just 99 cents!

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For updates and news on Regency Masquerades and the authors in the set, like us on Facebook.

And now for a giveaway!

gabriellaHe lost a wager . . . but won a treasure.

Due to a lost wager, the Duke of Ravenham is obliged to bring a pretty little nobody from the country into fashion among the high-sticklers of London Society. Ravenham would never refuse a debt of honor, no matter how unorthodox, so he overlooks Miss Gordon’s vulgar relations to do what is necessary, escorting the unsophisticated chit to balls, etc. But what he expects to be an irksome duty turns out to be something quite different as he falls under the spell of his protege’s innocent charm. When he lost that wager, he definitely never counted on losing his heart as well!

First impressions can be deceiving.

Miss Gabriella Gordon only came to London at her mother’s and sister’s insistence, for she’d much rather assist in running her father’s veterinary practice than attempt to fit into fashionable society. No sooner has she arrived in London than the exalted (and exceedingly handsome) Duke of Ravenham comes to call. The reason is less than flattering, however: due to a lost wager, the Duke is forced to bring Gabriella into fashion, a “favor” she would certainly refuse if her family would let her. But the more time she spends in the dashing Duke’s company, the more conflicted she feels— particularly when she discovers they have more in common than she ever dared dream.

“With all the elan and grace of a reigning Regency beauty, talented new author Brenda Hiatt makes a wonderful debut in this most demanding of the romance subgenres.” – Romantic Times

Do you most enjoy the anticipation of when a secret will out, or the actual moment of truth? (Examples?) Comment for a chance to win an e-copy of Gabriella in the format of your choice! All winners will be announced on Sunday.

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Regency Masquerades Ball ~ The Lady from Spain and Giveaway!

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Meet the hero and heroine of The Lady from Spain by Gail Eastwood, Book #4 in Regency Masquerades, six sparkling Regency romances in one ebook–currently 99 cents!

At the ballroom door…

Master of Ceremonies: Hmm, this next pair is arriving a bit late –many of the guests are already assembled. He is handsomely attired in evening black, with a fine white silk waistcoat and a cravat that shows considerable artistry. But, with his half mask I can’t quite be certain who he is. Possibly Lord Danebridge? He is on the list and has not yet arrived. I’ve heard he has just returned from abroad and made his appearance at Drury Lane the other night.

The woman with him is attired in a Spanish costume, a tightly fitted black dress adorned with rows of long fringe. She has an admirable figure, indeed! But her lace mantilla hides most of her face. Most ladies are not wearing exotic costumes tonight, so I would lay odds this is the mysterious lady the gossip columns are calling “the Spanish Spitfire,” who was with the baron at the theater. These two are so deeply engaged in their discussion they don’t seem to notice they are approaching the entrance! I can’t help overhearing at least part of what they are saying.

Lady (in a hushed voice tinged with Spanish accents): “You know I did not want to come here, or to socialize with anyone at all. Please tell me we shall not have to stay very long.”

Gentleman: “Ah, but señora, to have refused the invitation would have been the height of discourtesy.”

Lady: “You had no need to involve me. This is not at all how I should be spending my time!”

Gentleman (in a soothing tone): “Did you have a more pressing engagement? Or an expectation to find the men you are hunting for, this very evening?”

Lady: “No.”

Gentleman: “Well, then, I believe the ball should be vastly more entertaining than however else you would have spent the time.”

Lady: “I did not come to London to be entertained, I assure you. This is a mistake!”

Gentleman: (stopping and turning her to face him) “Is it? I am enjoying your company, and I thought you did not seem terribly averse to mine. What could be the harm in it? Are you afraid somehow I will uncover your secrets? (He looks at her intently.) I wish you could bring yourself to truly trust me.”

Master of Ceremonies: This is becoming quite personal! Time to interrupt them. But I do wonder what secrets she is hiding.

Waves to get their attention. “Ahem. Sir? Madam? Are you attending the ball this evening?”

Gentleman: “Oh, I do beg your pardon. Yes, we are. Didn’t mean to stop the flow of traffic, as such.”

Master of Ceremonies: “Not at all. Welcome! May I ask is that you behind the mask, Lord Danebridge?”

Gentleman: “Yes, indeed. You are very sharp tonight, my good man. And the lady with me is Doña Sofia Alomar de Montero, recently of Spain.”

Master of Ceremonies: “Welcome back to Town, my lord. You have been missed. And welcome to London, doña.”

The lady’s striking green eyes seem somehow familiar, although at this moment they are noticeably filled with misgivings. Those do not appear to be the eyes of a Spanish doña. Yet how could she seem in any way familiar? Danebridge did not sound altogether convincing when he stated the lady’s name. And what men could she be hunting for? It is too much of a puzzle.

Giving up, the Master of Ceremonies simply bows to her. “I hope you will enjoy your stay, madam, and enjoy your evening with us here.”

From behind the drapery by the balcony French doors…

Gail Eastwood here, secretly observing. I know that both Jeremy Hazelton, Lord Danebridge, and this lady supposedly from Spain are harboring secrets, from each other and everyone around them as well! Although she just recently arrived on a ship from Spain, the doña is really Falcarah “Falcon” Colburne, returning to England on a mission to avenge her parents’ deaths in Spain. Jeremy has been secretly working for the government during the war, and now on his way home has been asked to do one more assignment –learn if the lady from Spain is a spy. His desire to be with her has moved far beyond investigating her and unveiling her secrets. He would like to unveil a great deal more –including her heart. When his mother and his young son arrive in London, too, and his investigation and “help” expose Falcon to graver danger than she already courts, the course of love is not going to run smoothly!

The Lady from Spain by Gail Eastwood“A wonderful love story full of cleverly plotted intrigue and deception topped off with an intensely powerful resolution.” -Romantic Times

Read Jeremy and Falcon’s story in The Lady from Spain, one of six sparkling Regencies in Regency Masquerades, an ebook set which also includes books by Brenda Hiatt, Lynn Kerstan, Allison Lane, Alicia Rasley and Elena Greene. Regency Masquerades is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo Books. Buy now for just 99 cents!

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For updates and news on Regency Masquerades and the authors in the set, like us on Facebook.

And now for a giveaway!

A Perilous Journey features another risk-taking heroine, Gillian Kentwell, who runs away from home to escape a loathsome betrothal. Unable to dissuade her from this, her twin brother tags along on this road trip from Devonshire to Scotland, with Bow Runners in pursuit. Along the way, they are aided by a man who steals Gillian’s heart, but who is he really, and is their love meant to be?

pjourneyoldpjourneynewWinner of the 1994 Golden Leaf Award “Best Regency” and finalist for CoRWA’s Award of Excellence

Also, winner of two national competitions for Regency Romance writing:
–“Top ‘o the Trees” Competition sponsored by The Regency Plume
–“Romancing the Novel” Competition, Regency Division, sponsored by NE Ohio Chapter RWA

“A delightful read that will warm the cockles of your heart…an adventuresome journey, jam-packed with enchanting characters and lively drama.” –Affaire de Coeur

Do you like heroines willing to take risks to act on their goals? Do you forgive characters whose goals may turn out to be mistaken? Comment and fill out the Rafflecopter thingy to be entered to win an ebook copy of my very first Signet Regency, A Perilous Journey. All winners will be announced on Sunday.

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