Posts Tagged ‘romance’

Hi everyone!

We’re just under two weeks until the release of YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST EARL (The Worthingtons Book 5) on May 29, so I thought I’d do a quick blog post to alert you to the fun things coming up as well as some great news I’ve had lately.

Youll Never Forget Your first Earl comp

First of all, I have to say a huge thanks to you, my readers. Because of the Bookbub sale on THE MARQUIS AND I this month, and your help in getting the word out, the book hit the USA Today bestseller list (again)! I am so grateful, thank you!

I hope you’re keeping up with the giveaways I’ve been having on my Ella Quinn author page.  We’re giving away five titles a week until the release, and spotlighting the books each day, so be sure to check in and enter those.

Speaking of giveaways, Kensington set up a really cute one for the release. Between 5/17 and 6/26 you can enter to win


1 Kate Spade bag

Random assortment of ARCs of historical romance novels

Photo May 16 3 06 46 PM

Enter here:   bit.ly/2KuooFy

I also wanted to let you know that on release day (5/29) I’ll be doing an author takeover on the Kensington Facebook page (it’s here: facebook.com/kensingtonpublishing/ )  I had a lot of fun preparing the posts for that day, and I hope you’ll join me. I’ll be sharing little-known facts from my life I hope you find interesting, so stop by and discover secrets from my misspent youth! {wink}

I hope to see you around the interwebs over the next couple weeks! I’m going to be really busy, but I think it should be fun.

And in case you haven’t had the chance to buy the book yet, let me help you with that! Here are some handy links:

Amazon  –  amzn.to/2qdBBe7

Barnes and Noble  –   bit.ly/2yRdess

Books a Million  –  bit.ly/2GJDfdP

Apple  –   apple.co/2gIXLjt

Kobo  –  bit.ly/2hf1PZd

As always, thanks so much for your wonderful support and for being great readers! I can’t wait for you to experience YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST EARL.



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regency swearing

Swearing was vastly different during the Regency than it is today where pretty much anything goes. Gentlemen would have learned early on not to swear in the presence of ladies not matter how vexed they were. Ladies, by and large, were simply not exposed to swearing or vulgar language such as Cant. Do go thinking that servants would swear around them. That was a quick way to unemployment.

So, what words did gentlemen use when they swore? Here is a list of swear words and oaths I complied over the years”

Devil it, Bollocks, Bloody, Hell, Damn his eyes, Damme, (Egan uses Demmee), Devil a bit, Devil it, The devil’s in it, Hell and the Devil, Hell and damnation, Hell and the Devil confound it, How the devil . . ..

As opposed to words that could be used around a lady:

Perdition, By Jove’s beard, Zounds, Curse it, Balderdash, By Jove, Confound it, Dash it all, Egad, Fustian, Gammon, Hornswoggle, Hound’s teeth, Jove, Jupiter, Lucifer, ‘Pon my sou, Poppycock, Zeus.

Oaths appropriate for ladies were:

Dratted (man, boy, etc.), Fustian, Heaven forbid, Heaven forefend, Horse feathers, Humdudgeon, Merciful Heavens, Odious (man, creature, etc.), Piffle, Pooh, What a hobble (bumble-broth) we’re in.

You’ll notice that the word “bastard” is not listed. The first written usage appears to have been in 1830. Here are the examples from the OED:

1830   N. Scatcherd Hist. Morley 339   Bastard, a term of reproach for a mischievous or worthless boy.

1833   C. Lamb Let. 27 Apr. (1935) III. 367   We have had a sick child, who sleeping, or not sleeping, next me with a pasteboard partition between, killed my sleep. The little bastard is gone.

The first written usage of the word as it is used in modern day English is this:

1937   J. A. Lee Civilian into Soldier i. 29   ‘He’s a bastard.’ Guy used the term not for its dictionary meaning, but because among New Zealanders no term expressed greater contempt.

This makes sense. Being a bastard during the Regency was not a horrible thing. If one was fortunate to have been born to a king, he could become a duke.

So, it appears that the word as we use it today comes from New Zealand.

The word “bloody” was used frequently and was not considered offensive until sometime around 1750 when it began to be considered vulgar and profane. In 1755, Johnson calls it “very vulgar”, in 1888 the Oxford English Dictionary states “bloody now constantly in the mouths of the lowest classes, but by respectable people considered ‘a horrid word’, on par with obscene or profane language.”

It is unclear when the term “bloody hell” was first used, but during the Regency and beyond, it would only be used by the disreputable people.

Fuck is also not on the list. Although the word has been around forever, Shakespeare used it, it was not used in its current context until 1929.

Researching swear words take a lot of work as they were not normally used in written form. However, the OED online is a great source because they keep updating their dictionary.

Next – Insults

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During the Georgian era, cosmetics (mostly lead based) were used in abundance. However, during the Regency the style changed to a natural look. The beauty emphasis focused on a natural complexion spurring a variety of creams and other stratagems for the much desire milky complexion. Here are some of the products popular at the time. Milk of Roses, Olympian Dew, Gowland’s Lotion, The Bath Lotion, Bloom of Ninon. Home remedies included crushed strawberries and cucumber.

Instead of resorting to the rouge pot (still used by older ladies) for a healthy bloom in their cheeks young ladies were encouraged to “take the air” in the form of outdoor exercise: walking, riding a horse, riding in an open carriage were all the rage. Suntans and freckles—no one wanted to be labeled ‘bran faced—were definitely not in fashion, therefore large brimmed hats and parasols were highly encouraged for outdoor jaunts.

For older ladies who needed some help, Pear’s Almond Bloom was a popular foundation that guaranteed a light delicate tint. Rice power or fine talcum powder were of the few cosmetics not frowned upon. To give one’s skin a shiny look, finely ground bismuth in the form of Pear’s White Imperial Powder was used. As with most cosmetics, this was used by more mature ladies.

Power, liquid, and cream rouges could be used in a pinch.

Eye makeup was frowned upon, but it did exist. Burnt cork and mixing lamp-black with oil could be made into a paste that was applied to eyebrows and lashes. In Georgette Heyer’s, The Infamous Army, the heroine admits to darkening her lashes.

Darkening one’s lips appeared to be roundly condemned, although, cosmetics did exist in the form of Rose Lip Salve made of almond oil, white wax, and a coloring agent. Rigge’s Liquid Bloom was also popular. It apparently gave lips a rosy glow. Again, these would be used by older ladies.

Washing not only one’s body but ones teeth became much more important. Helpfully, the first commercial tooth cleansers became available. One product was called Essence of Pearl. Some of the products promised to stop decay, fasten loose teeth, and cure gum infections.

The first book on beauty, The Mirror of the Graces or The English Lady’s Costume, was published by A Lady of Distinction in 1811.

It encouraged ladies thusly, “Combining and harmonizing taste and judgment, elegance and grace, modesty simplicity, economy with fashion in dress. And adapting the various articles of female embellishment to different ages, forms, and complexions; to the seasons of the year, rank and situation in life: With useful advice on female accomplishments, politeness and manners; the cultivation of the mind and the disposition and the carriage of the body: offering also the most efficacious means of preserving health, beauty and loveliness. The whole according with the general principles of nature and rules of nature.”




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Stupid heart banner
2. OSH Prizes

Carrie and Trent, Liza O’Connor’s characters originally from Worst Week Ever, now in the sequel, Oh Stupid Heart, have come to talk about regency furniture, because I do love historic topics. Though I do wonder what else will come up in the conversation.

Ella: Hi Carrie, I love your gown. I thought Trent was going to visit as well.

Carrie Regency
Carrie: <blushes> Thank you. Trent is in NYC hiring employees. To be honest, he’s still sulking because I wanted to be Florence Nightingale over some princess who dies early in life and you didn’t take his side.
Ella: From the last time you visited me? (Carrie nods) (Ella sighs) Another difficult man. Yes, I thought his choice a bit odd. Well, I’m delighted to have you, and I see you’ve brought furniture and gowns with you.

Carrie: Yes. I’m going to do a comparison between Regency and Victoria eras.

Ella: My favorite and least favorite eras. This sounds interesting.

Carrie: I’ve concluded the Regency era appreciated comfort. It’s apparent in the non-binding clothes they wore and the furniture they built, especially when compared to the Victorians, who in my opinion became a bit masochistic especially in women’s dress-ware. However, you can see the same masochistic theme in their furniture. While beautiful to look at, the couch seats were so narrow, I fail to see how they sat on them, especially when the back bustle became into fashion.

Ella: I agree. Regency clothing was much more comfortable, but I hadn’t really thought much about the furniture.

Carrie: So let’s do a side by side comparison.

Regency vs Victorian

Carrie: As you can see, the Regency lady is not only more comfortable, but should find it far easier to undress and make love to the man she loves.

Ella: With a little care, one would not even have to remove one’s clothing. I cannot imagine how uncomfortable it would have been to make love wearing a Victorian corset. how could one even breathe?

Carrie nods: I completely agree. Now let’s look at the furniture they might make love upon.
Furniture, Regency vs. Victoria
I’m not saying Victorians didn’t have sex. I’m sure they did. But what with the rib breaking corset, it honestly would be easier to toss her skirts up and forego undressing altogether. However, that means she’s still wearing her corset. Honestly, I don’t see how sex could have been the least bit of fun for a properly dressed Victorian woman, once the corset shrunk her waist and the furniture makers shrunk her seat.
No, in this matter, the Regency era had it right and clearly had for more fun.

Ella: Especially daybeds. They play a large part in some of my books. But Carrie, I notice you seem to be focused on sex today…

Carrie: *blushes* I’m so sorry.

Ella: Nothing to apologize for. My characters talk about and have sex frequently.

Carrie: I wish it were the same for me.

Ella: Is Liza not letting you have sex? I know she was upset at Anna Marsh for indulging before marriage. Should I talk to Liza for you?

Carrie: No, it’s not Liza that’s the problem, it’s Trent.

Ella: Trent doesn’t want to make love to you? He’s not much of a rake.

Carrie: He wants to wait and take things slow. *she sighs heavily* He thinks the reason why his relationships have never worked out is because he jumps in the deep end right away.

Ella: You mean has sex on his first date with someone.

Carrie: More like the first hour, but yes. He’s blaming all his failed relationships on his desire to have sex too soon.

Ella: That could be one of many reasons his relationships haven’t worked out before. But I doubt it’s the main one. His bursts of bad behaviors and the type of women he’s chosen in the past, if Coco is typical of his past girlfriends, would be my guess of why they don’t last.

Carrie: Exactly.

Ella dumbs fingers on desk: Have you told him you don’t want to wait?

Carrie: I did, but he doesn’t give much validity to my needs. He says since I haven’t had sex in two years, I can wait another month or two. *sighs heavily* I waited because I didn’t have anyone I wanted to make love to. And it’s been four years since I made love to a boyfriend in college. And he was the only one, so I’m not very experienced. *wrings hands* I have nightmares where I don’t remember how do what I used to do and I don’t know any of the stuff Trent will want to do.

Ella: Well, if he is the right man for you, he will take the time to teach you. If he doesn’t, then you need to reassess your relationship with him.

Carrie: I love Trent. I know he’s spoiled and can be difficult, but deep down, he’s a good man.

Ella: I hope your right…

Carrie: *sets her teacup down* I should be going. Trent gets upset when I’m not attached to his side.

Ella frowns: I understand, but Carrie, Trent needs to recognize your needs as well as his own. If you two are fully committed to this relationship, then waiting will only create unnecessary stress.

Carrie: *nods* You’re right. Recently, I got jealous when a wannabe employee flirted with Trent, and he called her Angel instead of Angela. Liza painted a picture of her, which makes me concerned that I’ll be dealing with her in the future.
Ella: I hope your wrong, because she looks like a predator.

Carrie: You should see her in action. I’m hoping she won’t get the job, but I suspect Trent’s going to hire her.
Ella: Did you talk to him about this?

Carrie: I tried. He just scolded me for being jealous, saying jealously had destroyed most of his relationship, so I need to trust him so it doesn’t destroy ours.

Ella: I agree jealousy can destroy a relationship. Still, he needs to give you a reason to trust him. I remember when a former lover of Robert Beaumont’s ran him down in the study. Serena had a moment of jealousy as well, but Robert’s actions, telling the woman to leave, made her realize she could trust him. There was, um, their passionate lovemaking afterward as well. I suggest you explain to him why you were jealous, and tell him what he can to do help.

Carrie: Making love to me would help.

Ella: Perhaps you’ll have to begin seducing him. Slowly, so that he doesn’t think you’re doing it. (Ella looks at her bookshelf) I know I have a book around here somewhere. Well drat, Anna must still have it, but I’m sure you can search on line for one. Carrie it was lovely having you here today, and good luck with Trent.

Carrie: Thank you Ella, and for the advice.

Now Great News for those who have yet to buy the first of the series, Worst Week Ever.
3  Free book

Now let’s learn a bit about the new book, Oh Stupid Heart.Oh Stupid Heart_bookcover

Oh Stupid Heart
Book Two of: A Long Road To Love
Humorous Contemporary Disaster Romance
Liza O’Connor

Carrie Hanson is in love with a different species: Trent, a pampered, uber-rich socialite who’s also her boss. Everyone keeps telling her it’s a train wreck looking to happen, but her heart wants what it wants. So despite the billion and one reasons not to, Carrie commits to this inter-species relationship. But while she’s off being trained for her new job responsibilities, a beautiful ex fiancée is working hard to get Trent back and Carrie fired.


Carrie Hanson couldn’t believe it. Her four year sex-drought was about to end. She shivered in anticipation until a sinking dread over came her. Oh God, what if I’ve forgotten what to do?
Please God, let this be like riding a bike.
Trent pulled back from their kiss and studied her, his brow furrowed. “Are you cold?” He reached across her bed and tugged the edge of the comforter over her, tucking the fabric beneath her body so she became a human corndog.
She wiggled out of captivity and scooted across the bed, closer to him. “I’m fine. I’m just happy our horrible week is over and we can start anew. This time not as boss and an employee, but best friends who love each other.
Trent pulled her to his chest and kissed her. She opened her mouth to his and met his tongue with her own, determined to give as good as she got. His soft groan inspired her to do more.
She unbuttoned the waistband of his suit pants and slipped her hand beneath his boxers, determined to move matters along and end her drought forever. He broke their kiss and his hands captured hers.
He didn’t want her?
She turned away, mortified with shame…and confused. Why the hell had he kissed so provocatively if he didn’t want to make love to her? She tucked her head, so he wouldn’t read all the emotions bouncing about her confused head right now, but he forced her chin upward, his dark eyes somber and concerned.
“Carrie, I have screwed up every relationship I’ve ever been in. I think part of the problem is I gravitated to glamour girls with no brain and no personality, but I would have realized that if I had just taken a moment to talk to them first.”
This was the stupidest excuse she’d ever heard. “We’ve known each other for two years, in which time I’ve certainly established I’m not a glamour girl.”
He chuckled and nodded.
Her eyes narrowed and a low growl emitted from her chest. “You don’t have to be so quick to agree.”
“But you aren’t. You’re not an image of beauty, you’re the real thing. While I have no complaints about your small, but perfect body, silky long brown hair, and gorgeous green eyes, your real beauty comes from inside. When you smile I feel like I’m standing before an angel of joy.”
Now she saw where his thoughts headed. He didn’t want to make love to an angel. She recalled Elvis Presley did something this crazy. He refused to touch his wife after she bore him a child because he couldn’t make love to a mother.
She pulled her hand from his and gripped his shirt as she stared sternly into his eyes. “Do not go Elvis Presley on me. I am not an angel. I’m a small, catastrophe-prone woman who wants to make love to you.”

A Long Road to Love
Book Two
Oh Stupid Heart
Coming Mid-September

Book One
Worst Week Ever

Liza O’Connor
Author Bio:

Liza lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels. She loves to create interesting characters, set them loose, and scribe what happens.


Liza’s Blog and Website Facebook Twitter

Worst Week Ever Trailer

Other Books by Liza O’Connor
Saving Casey
Worst Week Ever
Coming Soon:
Oh Stupid Heart
Coming To Reason
Ghost Lover

Here are the Rafflecopter options for the $25 Amazon Gift Card.

To follow the blog tour, please click here.

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Please come visit me on Marie Higgins’s blog and Liza O’Connor’s Blog. Marie is interviewing me and Liza is interviewing the book. Read new excerpts. I’m also giving away another copy of The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh on both blogs!!

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh

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Victorian Author Amara Royce

Victorian Author Amara Royce

Please help me welcome debut historical and fellow Kensington author, Amara Royce. Amara will give away a copy of her newly released novel, Never Too Late, to one lucky commenter who leaves their email address.

Amara: Thank you for having me on your blog, Ella! You’re wonderfully supportive of other writers, and it’s an honor to be here!

Ella: My pleasure, Amara. First tell us a little about you, and how you began writing.

Amara: It took a long time for me to garner up the courage to even try writing fiction. As an English professor, I’ve spent so much time and attention on literary fiction and other Lit-er-ah-ture that I didn’t think I could ever write anything *that good* so it was pointless to even try . It wasn’t until a friend recommended I read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series that I was able to throw caution to the wind and start writing just for the joy of doing it.  I love that Gabaldon started Outlander as a “what if,” as a learning experience, just to see if she could write a novel. And you can see some of that adventurous, exploratory perspective in the first novel of the series…for heaven’s sake, the Loch Ness Monster makes an appearance!  For me, her books are kind of like alchemy—doing so much at once, bringing history to life, exploring complex psychological and emotional experiences, and always challenging as well as entertaining readers—it’s a special kind of magic. Many books and thousands upon thousands of pages later, I think she continues to be an inspiration for writers to take risks and just write.  And so I do.

Ella: This is such a favorite topic that I have to ask it. Can you tell us about your road to publication? What happened when you got the call for your agent and then your contract?

Amara: Well, my calls came in reverse! I started querying agents in June of 2012, and I had some encouraging responses and requests for material. Still, I’ll admit I got impatient…so I decided to try querying a few publishers that don’t require agented submissions.  Imagine my shock when I got the call from my now-editor, John Scognamiglio at Kensington!  With that two-book contract offer in hand, I quickly updated agents who’d requested material…which led me to my wonderful agent, Jessica Alvarez of BookEnds!  It’s been quite an amazing and unbelievable year, and my head is still spinning.

Ella:  How exciting!! What has been the most challenging or most difficult part of becoming a published author?

Amara: Aside from the usual challenges of the writing itself, I would have to what’s most challenging for me is the element of self-promotion. Honestly, I’m a very private person who doesn’t like being the center of attention.  In today’s publishing industry, however, it seems important for authors to establish and maintain a public presence, especially using social media.  I’ve heard great advice that writers should stick with what they’re comfortable with—if you don’t enjoy blogging or Facebook or Twitter, don’t do that thing. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them; I do! But I definitely find it challenging to promote myself and my work in ways that are comfortable for me.

Ella: What drew you to historicals and to the Victorian era specifically?

Amara:  I’m a great fan of historical fiction in general and historical romance in specific. My academic/professional background is in 19th century literature, and I’ve been a fan of Victorian literature since college. So writing historical romance set in the Victorian era seems like a natural fit. There’s so much about the Victorian era that’s fascinating…it’s sort of the gateway to the modern world we know. Technology, industry, political equality, gender equality—so much of what we see as a normal, inherent part of our lives took a foothold in the Victorian era: white wedding dresses, mass-produced photographs, mass-produced books and magazines, heck, “mass-produced” anything. Also, there are also some fascinating long-held misconceptions (and contradictions) about the Victorians; for instance, we commonly associate “Victorian” with “prudish” and yet pornography flourished in the period.  Writing about the Victorian era enables me not just to explore and highlight these changes and ideas but also to see how they still reverberate in our lives today.  And I get to do that while writing happily ever afters!

Never Too Late e bookNow without further to do, here is the blurb for Never Too Late, followed by an excerpt.


Honoria Duchamp is well aware that men often consider widows easy prey for the role of mistress. What else could explain the attentions of handsome Lord Devin, and his visits to her bookshop? The much younger Viscount has even shown interest in the printing press with which she creates pamphlets on London’s basest injustices. Yet his chief interest appears to be in her…

Coerced to investigate Nora’s controversial pamphlets, Devin expected to find a bookish matron. Instead, he is taken with Nora’s womanly beauty, sharp intellect, and quick wit. Soon, what begins as an unwelcome task becomes a pleasure, and Devin’s job becomes more dangerous—for them both. For Nora has no idea of the vicious element she’s crossed. Now Devin will risk his reputation to protect her—and much more to win her love…


“These clothes are suffocating me,” she replied. She slipped onto the bed against him and heard his sharp intake of breath when her bare skin slid along his hand.

“You promised you wouldn’t tempt me.” She heard bewildered amusement in his voice.

“I know, but it seems my inhibitions have run away from me.” She pulled his mouth to hers firmly. She kissed him, fully, without reservation, opening her mouth to him and tasting his lips. He pulled his head away, but she moved forward to close the distance again. Her body pressed against his, the rough fabric of his clothing sending little jolts along her skin. Here in the darkness, all the heightened emotions of the day concentrated into this whirlwind of sensations. Just for this moment, she wanted to drown out all her cares, silence her mind’s accounting and planning, and simply feel.

He gently broke contact with her lips. As he put his hands on her bare shoulders, she felt the groan he tried to suppress. He held her at a distance.

“Nora, we cannot do this. You have been through an extremely taxing experience. You do not know what you are doing.”

“On the contrary, Alex.” She punctuated her words with kisses wherever her lips could reach. “I know exactly what I’m doing.  Anything I need, you said. Right now, this is what I need. I need to be in your arms. I need to feel your lips on me. I need you.”


Buy links:

Kensington: http://ekensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/22517

Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/Never-Too-Late-ebook/dp/B00B3YDF1S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367376988&sr=8-1&keywords=9781601831170

Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/never-too-late-amara-royce/1114307512?ean=9781601831170

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Never-Too-Late/book-2o69sxyGkEeJGHhzLA_nYw/page1.html?s=hTP0xzruE0arSv3TD3kgDQ&r=1



Amara Royce writes historical romances that combine her passion for 19th-century literature and history with her addiction to happily ever afters. She earned a PhD in English, specializing in 19th-century British literature, from Lehigh University and a Master’s degree in English from Villanova University, and she now teaches English literature and composition at a community college in Pennsylvania. When she isn’t writing, she’s either grading papers or reveling in her own happily ever after with her remarkably patient family.



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I’m still over at Regency author Shannon Donnelly’s blog today, talking about tea. I know, I know, tea? What on earth could be interesting about tea? Well come on by and you might be surprised. Just to tempt you more, I’ve also posted a new excerpt of my debut novel, The Seduction of Lady Phoebe.

See you at Shannon’s http://shannondonnelly.com/

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