Sorry, but my guest author was not able to come. However, I’m all over the place today. Please join me at www.thedashingduchesses.com where I’m talking about marriage, divorce and annulments during the Regency, and at http://rueallyn.com/2012/11/30/please-welcome-ella-quinn-to-friendship-friday/ where I’m talking about myself. Not as interesting, I know, but I’d appreciate it if you’d drop by and say hello.
Archive for November, 2012
by Susan Spann
Today we continue our trek through Author Business Plans with a look at Part 3: Marketing.
The business plan section on Marketing Strategies has three sub-sections: pre-release, release phase, and post-release.
Please help me welcoming award-winning, multi-published author, Barbara Monajem. (applause)
Ella: Barbara, thanks so much for being here today. As you know, I am such a fan of your Regencies. Tell us a bit about yourself and what made you decide to start writing?
Barbara: I’m an escapist from way back. I found that the best way to stop fretting about what I couldn’t control was to focus on something else. Reading worked for many years, but I realized that making up stories is an even better distraction from real life. Of course, now that I’m published, making up stories is real life, so I’m learning to accept that in the end there is no escaping. Fortunately, making up stories is still a lot of fun.
Actually, I started writing when I was about eight years old, so I guess it was a love of stories that really started me—the escaping bit came later. From reading stories to writing them was a natural, inevitable step for me.
Ella: What drew you to the Regency era?
Barbara: Georgette Heyer. I have read most of her books over and over. Although I wrote in other genres first—children’s fantasy and paranormal mystery/ romance—I had always imagined writing in a Regency voice but didn’t quite have the nerve to try. Then, when Harlequin put out a call for short historical novellas for the Undone line, I couldn’t resist.
Ella: I love Georgette Heyer. Your latest book, A Lady’s Lesson in Seduction, was recently published. It’s your first Christmas novella. Why did you decide to take the plunge?
Barbara: My editor pushed me in. Okay, to tell the truth, she asked politely, but she must have known I would agree. I have been fascinated by old-fashioned Christmas customs ever since reading a delightful children’s story called Hobberdy Dick by Katharine Briggs. Only a small part of that book is about Christmas, but it was my inspiration for A Lady’s Lesson in Seduction. I loved the little hobgoblin in Hobberdy Dick so much that I couldn’t resist having a similar sort of fellow lurking in the background in my novella.
Ella: What’s next for you?
Writing my Christmas story reminded me of how much I enjoy folk magic, so my next two Regency novellas are based upon a rather racy custom to do with finding one’s true love on May Day morning. History and magic—what a fun combination (and an excellent escape)! I hope I get the chance to write more of the same.
Ella: That sounds like so much fun! On to the blurb.
A Lady’s Lesson in Seduction:
Once a notorious rake, Camden Folk, Marquis of Warbury, is now consumed by desire for only one woman: beautiful young widow Frances Burdett. The Yuletide festivities at his country estate present the perfect opportunity for seduction…
After her brief, unsatisfying marriage, Frances swore never to become tied to another man. Then a passionate kiss under the mistletoe reawakens longings she thought buried forever. Can she give in to the pleasures of the body with a rogue like Cam—without losing her heart?
Frances should never have agreed to go to the orchard with the Marquis of Warbury—to gather mistletoe, of all things. She sent him a fierce, furious glare. “If you must have it, I don’t enjoy kissing.”
He eyed her from behind the apple tree. “Not at all?”
“No.” She pressed her lips together.
“Come now,” he teased. “Surely you’re exaggerating.”
Her voice was low, suffused with passion. “You can’t possibly judge how that—that invasion made me feel.”
“That bad, was it?” The marquis reached up and snipped with his shears. “You’re right, I can’t judge, but the general popularity of kissing tells me you were merely unlucky.” He came around the tree, a sprig of mistletoe in his hand.
What a fool she was; in spite of bitter experience, she wanted to kiss him, wanted kissing to be wonderful. How stupid! She was much better off—much safer—as she was.
He kissed the fingertips of his gloves and blew. “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”
He picked a berry from the mistletoe and dropped it. “We’ll make it a very light kiss,” he said, coming closer. “Short and sweet.”
She didn’t trust him; she wanted yet didn’t want—
A flurry of snow tumbled from the branches above, distracting her. He swooped in, dropped a swift, cold kiss on her lips, and drew away—but not far. “Was that too unbearable?” Another mistletoe berry fell to the snow.
“No, of course not,” she said, “but—”
“Well, then.” He took her hand and pulled her behind the tree. “If you don’t want me to invade you—accidentally, needless to say—you’ll have to keep your mouth shut.”
“You mustn’t do this—”
“Of course I must. No talking.”
She gave up, shutting both her mouth and her eyes. It was her own fault for coming to the orchard this morning, but she’d enjoyed their time together in the middle of the night so very much. It was only a kiss.
Nothing happened. She opened her eyes again. He was contemplating her mouth from under his lashes. “You have lovely lips.”
Through her teeth, she said, “Get it over with.”
“I’ve never kissed a martyr before.” His lips curled in a lazy smile, and then he pressed his mouth coolly to hers and withdrew again. “It requires a more careful approach than we disgustingly hasty men are used to.” He flicked another berry off the sprig.
She couldn’t help but watch his mouth. What was he going to do, and when?
“Close your eyes, and whatever happens, keep your lips together.”
This time his mouth lingered on hers a few seconds, then pressed light kisses from one corner of her lips to the other. Kiss. “One.” Kiss. “Two.” Kiss. “Three.”
Syllabub (or sillabub, and other variants) had been known in England since the sixteenth century, but by the eighteenth century this alcoholic dessert had become particularly popular, especially in its whipped variety.
Mrs Raikes' 'Everlasting sylabubs' is a typical recipe:
a pint & ½ a Gill of cream a Gill of Rhenish ½ a Gill of Sack 2 Lemons half a pd of loaf sugar; sift the sugar, put it to the cream, put in the rinds of the Lemons grated, squeeze the juice into the wine, and put that to the cream.
getting receiving tons of love at Writers In The Storm this week. As part of our "thank you," we're bumping this amazing post of hers up by several days. ~ Jenny
by Sharla Rae
The idea for this blog was generated at one our recent critique meetings. We were critiquing a first draft and whoa! I heard an echo of one particular word all over two pages.
I shouldn’t say I almost forgot to post today, but I did. Between Nanowrimo and company in for the holiday, I’ve been in a fog. Additionally, my muse has taken this story in directions I didn’t expect. So today, you have a choice, you can post an excerpt from your WIP, preferably one you are working on for Nano that surprised you, or any holiday excerpt from your work or another that you like.
Here is mine from the tentatively titled Lord Merton’s Suitable Bride. Lord Merton (Dominic) has a reputation as being a prig. Against his better judgment he took in a child thief his betrothed, Miss Dorothea Stern rescued. They know the child’s mother is dead, but Dorothea finally got him to tell her who he is. This excerpt is a rough first draft.
Dom raised his eyes from the documents he’d been reviewing when Thea entered his study followed by his mother. He rose until they’d taken their seats on two chairs facing his desk. He was glad to see the two of them getting along so well.
He smiled, then noticed neither of them seemed particularly happy. Could it be the house, or God forbid, Mrs. Sorley. “Is anything wrong?”
Thea slid a small piece of paper across the desk. “Tom finally told me who he is. I’d planned to go directly his family’s rooms on St. George Street, but your mother convinced me to discuss it with you first.” Her voice hitched in anger. “I shall confront Mrs. White.”
Dom put down his pen. “The landlady?”
Thea’s lips formed a thin line. “The very one. I surmise she sold Tom to the blackguards who were teaching him to steal.”
Leaning back in the tufted leather chair, Dom tried to catch up with her. Whatever the boy had said obviously overwrought Thea’s sensibilities. “Start from the beginning and tell me what you know.”
It’s all on the paper. Mrs. Sorley was correct, he is gently bred.”
“If that is the case, we need to find his family.”
Thea rubbed her temples and shook her head. “What I do not understand is why the stupid woman didn’t contact the Earl of Stratton.”
Glancing back and forth between his mother and Thea, Dom interpolated, “Stratton?”
As if he hadn’t spoken, she continued, “Surely he would have paid her more than those blackguards.”
“I’m not sure, my dear,” Mama responded, “the earl a hard man. What if his son had married a woman of which he did not approve?”
“But to take it out on a child?” Thea clenched her small hands into fists. “That is criminal!”
Dom ran a hand over his face. What the devil were they talking about? “Would one of you please tell me what the Earl of Stratton has to do with Tom?”
Thea glanced at him with wide eyes as if Dom should know. “He is Tom’s grandfather, of course.”
“Dominic! You will not use that language in front of either me or Dorothea.”
He growled and grabbed the slip of paper from his desk. “Yes, Ma’am.”
James Cavanaugh and Sophia Cummings. He shook his head. Tom’s father was likely several years older than Dom and the only person he could think of to ask about it was Worthington. Damn.
“We could approach the earl first,” Thea said.
“I don’t know, my dear,” his mother responded. “Better to discover if there is any bad blood between them first. Oh, why have I spent so much time immured in the country and at Bath?” She stood. “Let us see this Mrs. White, though I’ll own myself surprised if that is her real name.”
Thea rose as well. What did they think they were doing? Hadn’t they come to him for advice?
“Dominic, I shall take Dorothea home after we visit St. George Street.”
Apparently not. Had all the women in his life gone mad? Well, he probably should have known Thea would go and confront the woman, but Mama?
His mother smiled as she was doing nothing more than paying a social call. Oh, hell. He’d sort them out later.
“Wait a minute. I’m going with you.” He jerked on the bell pull and a footman’s head popped in. “Get the town coach, immediately.”
Katherine: Thanks for inviting me, Ella!! I hope you don’t mind me bringing along some pirate bootay? (The undead monkey is your responsibility.)
Ella narrows her eyes: What booty and what undead monkey?
Katherine: Now, Ella. Get your mind out of the pigpen. Gibbs hangs out there anyway and he’s no use to us today. By the way, no need to bring out the BeeGees either. I’m talking about pirate treasure, doubloons aplenty, silver and gold.
Ella: My mind is not er, with the pigs. That meaning as applied to the word booty dates to 1920 and we’re in the Regency period. Now about the monkey…”
Katherine: well… Barbossa made Jack acquiesce to bring him along.
Ella sighs: Ah. Well I guess that explains it. Now, let’s get down to business. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Katherine: My travails are many, Ella. You see, I was abducted at a young age by Captain Jack Sparrow and raised on the Black Pearl, took a fancy to gold earrings at an early age, (so I’d never have to worry about paying for me own burial), and learned how to ride two sea turtles to Tortuga.
Ella: Katherine, I know you were not abducted.
Katherine: Who told you that? (Stomps foot)
Ella: I realize you’re caught up in your story, but please do remember you are the author.
Katherine: Oh man… That means you want the truth?
Ella nods: Indeed.
Katherine: All right… I’ve been enamored with pirates since Kathleen Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsey, and Fern Michaels published books about sea captains and brigands years ago. Growing up a military brat, I had to learn to fit in fast, learn things on the fly, oftentimes a different language in order to get by. Being exposed to diverse cultures at an early age contributed to my zaniness and my muse. In art school, I met my own rogue, a dashing lieutenant who drove a yellow 280Z with black stripes! (Pirate!) Seduced by his effects, and charm, I allowed him to whisk me off my feet to that weathered horizon. It was during my years as a roving military wife and mother, with a compass pointing to what I wanted most, that I first felt the stirrings to write my own books.
Ella: Much better.
Katherine: Hey, I’m a writer. What’s better than disappearing into fiction?
Ella: You’re here today to promote your debut novel, Duke by Day, Rogue by Night, but first tell us how it feels to finally be published.
Katherine: It’s like rowing up to a hidden cove, plundering a cave’s depths and discovering barrels and barrels of rum. No… wait! That should be bootay— ‘er treasure. (Sashaying across the ship)
Ella glances briefly up at the ceiling: Katherine, please behave!
Katherine: Ooh, Ella. You do get straight to the point, don’t you?
Ella: I can but try.
Katherine: All right. Truth can be stranger than fiction. Becoming a published author has been a 20 year journey with gales in my wake. Before you cringe at how long it’s taken me to get to this point, you have to know that I was very involved as an Officer’s wife and in my children’s lives during this time, volunteering to help with events and fundraisers. So when I wrote, I only did so in spurts.
Then seven years ago, when my youngest child was in high school, the muse nudged me to seriously seek publication. I joined RWA and my local writing chapters, took online classes, and attended conferences. My philosophy has always been writing is about readers. And, as a reader who spent countless hours curled up with a book when my kids were fast asleep and my rogue was far away from home, my greatest joy has been maintaining the idea that one day I might be able to return the favor.
Ella: So how does it feel to be a published author?
Katherine: It’s a phenomenal boon to my spirits that I can now share my swashbuckling adventurous stories with readers everywhere. If I could ride two sea turtles to the moon and back, I would.
Ella: What made you decide to write Regencies?
Katherine: Regencies rock! But I didn’t always write them. My first book was a Native American/Post Civil War/Shapeshifting/Western historical/paranormal. (I hope you read that right, because you won’t want to read it again!) LOL!!! Sadly, editors and agents liked the premise but couldn’t figure out what to do with the book. Then came Pirate by Night, which is now Duke by Day, Rogue by Night. The book flowed out of me like melted chocolate poured into a pre-shaped mold. (Pirate!) And as with any book, it went through many molds before it became what it is today. So, why the Regency period? After all, going from westerns to Regency seems to be a great leap. (Shoots the undead monkey)
Ella: I am not going to be responsible for that.
Katherine: It’s not as if you can kill him.
Ella sighs: I suppose not.
Katherine: Pardon me… I digress. What draws me to the Regency period? Within both genres, there are overlapping core values. The sense of self-discovery women explored. The alpha male who would do anything to protect the ones he loves. Eager gentlemen, top hats, rules of society, and the unshaken core of duty that drove nearly everyone to maintain a stiff upper lip, even when faced with deprivation or starvation. But what drew me to the Regency period more than anything else, however, was— England. No longer was the setting arid, desolate and rugged, but steep, forested, with hills and valleys and of course, filled with men like Mr. Darcy, who lived in castles and manses dotting the landscape, complete with historical mores and legends too numerous to name. And did I mention names? Here’s one example for your pleasure: Percival Avery, Marques Stanton, 7th Duke of Blendingham. With characters and setting, musical exhibitions and ballroom extravagances, the Regency period is pure Technicolor to a writer and a reader, and when properly done— sheer literary joy to the soul.
Ella: All historicals require a great deal of research. Was there anything particular that struck you?
Katherine: This is a great question! As you know, in order to create a three-dimensional story, a writer has to do his/her research. And when writing a novel, the research should be detailed. In Duke by Day, Rogue by Night, I knew I wanted to set my story in England. I also knew I wanted to write about pirates. What few people know, and what I learned during the research process, is that piracy did not end in the Golden Age of Piracy and the Caribbean. No, piracy existed in Europe until the capture of Benito Del Soto in 1833. When I discovered this little-known fact, I felt like I’d uncovered gold doubloons. Yes, piracy existed in my time period— 1804! As I dug deeper, I learned that the wars between England, France and Spain, created a market for smugglers to provide what the demi-monde and upper-crust desired to enhance their daily lives, things like brandy, tobacco, silk, and coffee. The majority of these smuggling groups established bases along the Cornish Coast, where Zephaniah Job led a thirty year monopoly beginning in the late 1770’s. So I had proof, setting, and the basis of conflict. What of my protagonists? While searching for ideas, I came across another great thread— Admiral Nelson. Prior to Trafalgar, Nelson was the key strategist in almost every naval encounter. He was highly respected, but he also never went without his tea, surprisingly— even during battle. This tiny tidbit about Nelson intrigued me so much, I thought, what if tea was code for mercenaries he called upon to carry out secret duties for the crown? What if these men were first sons from every walk of life, beyond suspicion? And what if these duties and pirate activities along the Cornish Coast coincided with the occupations of the men of Nelson’s Tea? Historical java, mates!
Katherine: Yes. One lucky commenter will win one of my pirate treasure trunks full of bootay: bubblegum and chocolate doubloons, a postcard, bookmark and pen with my logo and book info, one of my stress bones, pirate rubber ducky, pocket watch, and more. (Shipped to US & Canada only)
Constance Danbury is fleeing an arranged marriage to lecherous Lord Burton, a man who has blackmailed her father and is nearly twice her age. Her escape takes her aboard a merchantman bound for Spain, where she hopes an aunt will help her procure funds to save her father’s dwindling reputation. But fate intervenes. Constance is captured by a pirate with a wit and stubbornness to match her own, and a secret he’ll do anything to keep.
Nobleman Percival Avery is a member of Nelson’s Tea, an elite group whose members are first sons from every tier in society. Undercover, he disguises himself as a pirate to infiltrate the gang of cutthroats responsible for his sister’s death. But when his vessel attacks a merchantman with valuable cargo, Percy is forced to choose between vengeance and saving the life of his commander’s niece, Constance Danbury. Mutiny is sure to obliterate his well-laid plans. It also aligns him with the one woman sure to see through his disguise. Forced to play the fop by day to outwit his enemies, he masquerades as a rogue by night in order to avenge his sister’s death – and to win his true love’s heart.
“Resisting me is pointless, Constance. I know what you need and I’m more than willing to provide. Only say the word and I will gladly show you how thrilling it is to sail with a pirate.”
“I’d die first,” she hissed.
“So you’ve said and nearly done.”
“You’re a vile, despicable beast!” she railed.
“A hungry beast,” he said close to her ear, taking one lobe between his teeth.
The hair on her neck stood on end as his breath energized her skin all the way to her lower extremities. Sensations prickled along her spine as his lips traced light kisses from her ear to her shoulder. Unbelievably, Constance felt her body reacting to his touch. Her legs weakened, her womb constricted strangely, and she let out a defeated moan. Encouraged, he pushed her blouse down the top of her shoulder and flicked his tongue across her neck, working up to her ear in a circular pattern.
“I’ll not pluck your petals unless you allow it, sweeting,” he whispered.
“Never,” she moaned.
“So you say now. Mark my words— you’ll be craving what I can give you before long.”
Crimson Romance: http://ebooks.crimsonromance.com/product/duke-by-day-rogue-night
“Duke by Day, Rogue by Night is a rollicking romp of a pirate romance in the classic style. From ship deck to London ballroom, Katherine Bone’s story is packed with intrigue, and the disguise of her rough and dangerous hero as a town popinjay positively delights.” – Katharine Ashe, author of Captured by a Rogue Lord
“Ms. Bone has weaved a captivating tale of cat and mouse that will keep the reader turning pages long into the night.” – Michelle Beattie, author of Romancing the Pirate
“Katherine Bone is an author after my own heart! Duke by Day, Rogue by Night is a sexy, adventurous romp guaranteed to keep you reading into the wee hours of the night.” – Shana Galen, author of The Rogue’s Pirate Brid
Here’s your chance to post your favorite excerpt. It can be from a work of your own, or from a book, TV show, movie, poem or song. If you’re not a writer, tell us how we’re doing.
My excerpt is from Lady Grace’s Rendezvous. Grace has been caught in a storm while traveling back from an elderly relative’s house, without her maid, and taken refuge at an inn where she and her family are well known.
An hour or so later, she was engrossed in the latest romance from the Minerva Press, when another carriage arrived and the inn door slammed opened. The voice of Mr. Brown and another man, a gentleman, reached her. Her heart skipped a beat. Worthington? She hadn’t heard his voice in four years, but she’d never forget it.
Opening the door slightly, she peeked out. It was him. The man she’d wanted to marry her whole first Season and had never seen again. His dark brown, almost black, hair was wet at the ends where his hat had failed to keep it dry. When he turned, she knew she’d see his startling lapis colored eyes and long lashes. “Could you not ask the traveler in the parlor if I might share it with him?” Worthington asked the landlord.
The kernel of an idea began to form. Swallowing her trepidation, Grace stepped boldly into the hall. “Mr. Brown, his lordship is welcome to dine with me.”
“If you’re sure, my…”
She flashed him a quelling glance. If he said, my lady, there’d be too many questions.
Smiling in relief, she said, “Yes, you may serve us when his lordship has had time to change.” Grace curtseyed to Worthington and returned to the parlor. Closing the door, she leaned back against it. This was her opportunity, maybe her only one and she was going to take it.
“What are you doing, my girl? Are you out of your mind?” Her conscience said.
No one will know. Brown will deny I was here.
“How do you expect to preach propriety to the children when you are…”
Oh, do be quiet. When will I have another chance? Answer me that. Am I to have no joy of my own? I just want one night to last me the rest of my life, that’s all I’m asking.
So be it.
Grace’s hands trembled and her stomach lurched.
“So much for your grand plans. You don’t have any idea how do go about this.” Her conscience sneered.
I am sure he’ll help. How hard can it be, after all?
“He’ll recognize you. Then where will you be?”
He won’t. I’m sure he never took a second look at me. I was just one of many girls who came out that year.
Grace took a breath and called for wine. By the time Worthington arrived, she’d calmed her jangled nerves and her conscience had decided to leave her to go to hell in her own way.
Inquiring readers. My first JASNA AGM in Brooklyn started out with a bang. Not only did I room with the wonderful Deb Barnum (Jane Austen in Vermont), but the first workshop I attended was given by Lisa Brown, co-coordinator of the Rochester and Syracuse Regions of JASNA (and the official photographer at the AGM, it seems). She presented a fashion show and workshop demonstration of Regency fashions, including detailed instructions on how to rework 1970s and 1980s gowns into very creditable Regency costumes.