Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Severed Hand of Franklin

1. I’m guest-blogging over at The Season today! I talk about costume drama monster movies I’d like to see (like vampire Crusaders or Lieutenant Hornblower and the Kraken). The person to suggest my favorite costume drama monster movie concept in the comments gets a signed book!

2. I wrote a feature for the Dorchester website. My heroine Penelope from In for a Penny has a habit of making lists (um, you can probably tell from this post that I based that on myself), and three of her lists are up here: one from when she was eleven, entitled “Reasons Why Lucy Hopper is the worst girl in the world,” one set after the end of the book called “Possible Christmas gifts for Nev,” and a list of baby names with annotations from Nev!

I had a lot of fun making them–the font for Penelope is designed to look like Jane Austen’s handwriting, it’s really cool and you can get it here, and the font for Nev is supposed to look like Byron’s handwriting and you can get it here. I sort of love that, because man would Jane Austen and Byron have a TERRIBLE marriage.

3. Yesterday was my official release date! Yay! BUT I have yet to see the books on shelves anywhere. I’ve been checking the B&N websites “find in stores” feature obsessively and it isn’t in stock anywhere yet! I’m assuming this is why it’s listed as a March release, but I want to see my book on the shelf! If anyone sees it, let me know okay? And if you send me a picture, I’ll send you a signed book! (Open to first three people only. I mean not that I expect more than that but you know, it’s important to set boundaries.)

Madame, I never eat Muscatel grapes

My blog tour continues today! I’m talking about my deep-seated ambivalence about Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, and trying to be taken seriously over at the Book Smugglers. (Note: I DO mean “ambivalence.” I love Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen a LOT.) There are also hilarious pictures of My Family’s Poor Fashion Choices Through Time. Go over and read it! (And check out the Smugglers’ awesome blog!) I’m giving away a signed book in the comments.

Smuggler Ana also posted my very first review! And she was very kind to me. Is it tacky to link to reviews? It just seems weird not to when I’m linking to my guest post.

In other news, my friend Alice just linked me to this article about a new Alexandre Dumas biopic. They’ve cast Gerard Depardieu to play Dumas and are darkening his skin and putting him in a curly wig for the role. Because if you didn’t know, Alexandre Dumas was part black. Here’s a picture of him:

And here is a racist caricature from his own lifetime, entitled “The Quadroon Chef: Dumas concocting his bouillabaisse of romance”:

I still remember how shocked and angry I was the first time I saw this image, when my mom and I went on a tour of the Château de Monte-Cristo, Dumas’s amazing estate near Paris. I remember how sad I was when I read his novel Georges about a mixed-race hero who tries to start a slave revolt and fails, and I saw all the racism he’d written into it, the internalized beliefs about black inferiority, and how awful that must have been for him to live with every day. (The book does have a lot of great stuff in it, by the way. It just also has a lot of messed-up stuff in it.)

Just. I am a HUGE Dumas fan. HUGE. The Three Musketeers in particular was one of the defining books of my youth and it still means a lot to me. The man was a brilliant writer and a really nice guy and I love him. And apart from anything else, apart from what it says about the racism and marginalizing in European and American film industries, apart from how that affects all of us and perpetuates racism in our cultures, apart from how angry I would be if I were a French mixed-race actor who could have tried for this role if it hadn’t already been handed to a white guy, apart from ALL OF THAT, this is a huge insult to HIM. Didn’t Dumas face enough racism when he was alive? Haven’t we come far enough that we can show him some respect? Is it so hard to cast a mixed-race actor in your movie? Is it really?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hurrah for love! Here are two poems by Emily Dickinson about love. I know from experience that Valentine’s Day can be a bummer if you’re not with someone, so the first one is about break-ups:

341.

After great pain, a formal feeling comes–
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs–
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round–
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought–
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone–

This is the Hour of Lead–
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow–
First–Chill–then Stupor–then the letting go–

And here’s a more cheerful one, small and simple and surprisingly sexy.

55.

By Chivalries as tiny,
A Blossom, or a Book,
The seeds of smiles are planted–
Which blossom in the dark.

And now for something completely different: apparently In for a Penny is shipping from Amazon already! Several people e-mailed or called me yesterday to tell me their copies had arrived!

EEEE!

And now a comic: Kate Beaton’s Susan B. Anthony for kids.

What’s a poem that you think really captures something (happy or painful or anything else) about the experience of being in love?

Breaking news!

I know two posts in one day is a bit much (my eventual goal is one a week) but something important has happened! My wonderful editor Leah Hultenschmidt sent me a copy of my book so I could see it while waiting for my author copies!!!!!

Yes, I really did have to use that many exclamation points. And now, pictures! In my excitement I am vaguely reminiscent of a lemur, but hey, I like lemurs.

Book! (Note my awesome lobster sheets.)

The copyright page!

About the Author! That’s me!

Life is good.

I don't do anything so mean, I don't even sell apples!

My blog tour starts today! You can read my post about classism in Regency England over at History Hoydens. Here’s the opening:

When I started writing In for a Penny, about a rich brewer’s daughter who marries an impoverished earl, I realized I was going to have to do some research to figure out how people in the Regency thought about class. I had general ideas, obviously, but if I was going to write about my heroine from the point of view of my antagonist, the snobby poacher-hating Tory Sir Jasper, or write about my heroine meeting the hero’s newly-middle-class tenant farmers, I needed to understand more.

I quickly discovered that there were endless gradations, just as there are today:

1. A biography of Hannah More tells this story: the Duchess of Gloucester “desired one of her ladies to stop an orange-woman and ask her if she ever sold ballads. ‘No indeed,’ said the woman, ‘I don’t do anything so mean, I don’t even sell apples!'”

And I’m giving away a signed copy of my book in the comments, too. Check it out!

Contest and other news!

Hi all! In honor of my first book (which will hit shelves in just over three weeks!) I’m running a contest at my site! I’ll be giving away five signed copies of In for a Penny, and one lucky winner will get my Regency Starter Pack–10 of my favorite books! This is an awesome prize, if I do say so myself, so get over there and enter!

I’ve also got a preliminary schedule for my blog tour and signings up on my site index–more dates coming soon! But mark your calendars, my first signing will be at Third Place Books (in Lake Forest Park, WA) on April 2nd at 6:30PM! It’s going to be awesome and you should all come.

And so this post doesn’t consist entirely of shameless self-promotion, here’s a really interesting post about female sexuality in romance from Dear Author (which is a couple weeks old now, so maybe you’ve all read it already, but if you haven’t, do it now):

So going back to the question of whether these views mirror some biological or psychological or historical imperative, even if all that were true, I don’t think it’s the critical issue. For me, the critical issue is that as a society we continue to value a woman’s sexual status and we give value to women (or take it away) based on this status.

Also, my critique partner Susan Wilbanks is doing a really cool series on how to use British titles and courtesy titles, using examples from the Peter Wimsey books and the Duke of Wellington’s family: “Of Wimseys and Wellesleys“! Since title errors pull me out of a story faster than a speeding bullet, I’m pretty excited about this. Especially since I use the Wimsey family to remember lots of the rules myself (Gaudy Night is one of my top romances EVER).