Monthly Archives: October 2013

New contest: "A Wedding in Springtime" by Amanda Forester

ETA: This contest is closed. Jeanne won the book!

Amanda Forester’s new Regency, A Midsummer Bride, is out next week, so I thought this would be a good time to give away a signed copy of the first in her Marriage Mart series (tied together by a society matchmaker), A Wedding in Springtime.

AWiS

I should warn you, if you need 100% historical accuracy to enjoy a story, this is probably not the book for you. But I loved it. I’ve been mostly drawn to deeply emotional, heartwrenching historicals recently (although I need those to have a sense of humor, too). It was wonderful and refreshing to read a book that reminded me of the slim, witty Jane-Austen-and-Heyeresque Regencies I ate up in high school–sparkling, sweet comedies of manners.

I’d still be eating those books up if they were still being published, let me tell you. Are there still loads of these out there and I just haven’t been reading them? Recommend me some witty romps, guys! I adore Julia Quinn, obviously, but apart from her I’ve completely fallen away from that part of the genre.

A Wedding in Springtime hearkens back to the faves of my youth in the best possible way, with the same focus on banter and conversational chemistry. There’s even a street urchin the hero reluctantly brings into his home to please the soft-hearted heroine! I love that trope, and I was thrilled when the urchin actually turned out to have a key part to play in the plot.

The heroine is endearing, the hero is an adorkable sweetheart (the highest praise I can give a hero!) who is completely, satisfyingly smitten from the moment he sees the heroine, the secondary characters are drawn sharply and with warm-hearted generosity, and best of all…

…the jokes are funny. I cannot emphasize enough how funny the jokes are. I laughed out loud many, many times reading this book. More than anything else, the humor kept me enthusiastically engaged all the way to the last page.

Just comment on this post to enter, and make sure you enter your correct e-mail address (NOT in the body of the comment, just in the form where it says Name:, Mail:, Website:, make sure the e-mail address you enter for “Mail” is right). It won’t show up to other commenters, but I’ll get it and then I can easily notify you of your win. As always, if you want to be alerted when a new contest goes up, I recommend signing up for my newsletter.

NB: I got this book signed at a conference. Amanda isn’t involved in the giveaway and the book isn’t personalized. So if you want to tell her how much you loved her books, this isn’t the place. That would be her website. (But this IS the place to tell ME how much you loved it!)

Everything's coming up Rose

Well, almost everything. Here are ten things that happened to me this weekend, most of them fantastic:

1. I attended the Emerald City Writers Conference, run by the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America, and got to hang out with a bunch of amazing friends and writers and meet some new ones!

2. Sweet Disorder went up on Kindle for pre-order! It is also up on Kobo. Do you see it anywhere else? I’d love links. Don’t worry if it isn’t up yet in your preferred format, every site handles pre-orders differently. I know it will be up on BN.com very soon, and available for pre-order on the Samhain website in various formats about a month before release.

3. I won a raffle basket! I feel so lucky, especially since I won (in my humble opinion) the very best basket, donated by Linda Allen and Montlake. I got a new Kindle and a 2-day stay in a cabin in Whidbey Island!!! It doesn’t get better than that.

4. While going to Barnes and Noble to buy a clip-art book for the new banner for my website, I saw that Lemony Snicket is going to be there! So I signed up for that. Wooo!

5. I plotted my first ever erotic novella, set in Lively St. Lemeston and starring a confectioner and his cashier. We’ll see how that goes! I’m a little nervous, as writing short is not usually my thing.

6. As you may know, Sweet Disorder is set around a local election. Lively St. Lemeston has two major local political parties, who have party colors that can be worn by their supporters during times of conflict. The Whigs are orange and purple, and the Tories are pink and white.

One common way to display one’s party colors was the rosette (the most famous example nowadays is the tricolor cockade, symbol of the French Revolution). I commissioned Heather Sheen of Creative Cockades to make me some rosettes for Lively St. Lemeston, and they arrived on Saturday! They are SO BEAUTIFUL. I haven’t figured out yet how or when to give them away, but I HAVE spent quite a bit of time stroking them lovingly.

7. I discovered what can happen when a hotel napkin is the exact same color as your skirt. 🙁

8. I bought Jeannie Lin’s new book, The Lotus Palace! I am so excited. (I also bought a signed copy of that and a few other books to give away to you, gentle readers! My next contest will start next Monday.)

9. I got a text alert during a conference dinner that 72 hours notice had been given for grocery workers at Safeway, QFC, Albertson’s, and Fred Meyer to strike in several Washington counties. I am a grocery worker (though not at one of those stores) and this is pretty important to me, so I’d like to ask you to support striking workers and not to cross picket lines to shop. You can follow the strike on facebook, and find a map of some alternative pharmacies and union grocery stores to shop at here (however, there are loads of independent small stores that aren’t included–the main thing is just not to shop at stores where workers are on strike). Okay, thanks for listening! PSA over. Strike called off! Agreement reached! Wooooo! Workers still need to vote on their new contract but apparently the bargaining team has unanimously recommended it, so let’s hope it’s good. \o/

10. I started my marketing plan for Sweet Disorder. I can’t believe the book will be out in just six months! (I know that might seem long to you, but when I look at the list of stuff I have to do between now and then, it doesn’t feel that way to me.) Any requests for swag?

Penelope's lists

This was originally posted on the Dorchester website during my blog tour for In for a Penny. Obviously, the Dorchester website no longer exists. So:

Penelope, the heroine of In for a Penny, likes to make lists. Here’s an excerpt from an early scene:

###

“I really will try to make you happy,” he said, not knowing what else he could offer her.

To his surprise, she flushed. “Actually, I–I made a list. Of–of terms. I thought some things were best agreed on right away, while you can still change your mind.”

Fat chance of me changing my mind, he thought with a flash of resentment. He needed that money. But–“you made a list?”

She flushed harder. “It is a habit of mine. So that I am sure not to forget things.”

“All right,” he said, blankly.

She pulled a sheet of paper out of a desk drawer, with a column of neat writing down the side. She looked down at it and frowned. Her blush was beginning to work its way under the neckline of her gown. Nev wondered how far it extended. He pictured it sweeping over the curve of her breasts and darkening her nipples…

He struggled to focus on her voice.

###

So I made up some lists that Penelope’s written at different points in her life. (They’re images, but I’ve transcribed them too since I figure that’s easier to read.) The first one is from when she was eleven or twelve. Her parents had sent her to a boarding school for young ladies, and she wasn’t very happy there.

list01

Reasons Lucy Hopper is the worst girl in the world

1. Her hair doesn’t curl naturally though she pretends it does.
2. She has not the least understanding of geography.
3. It was not at all fair of her to say I dropped my H today, as we were studying French. All the Hs are dropped in French and I simply got confused.
4. She has a very garish taste in buttons.
5. She cracks her knuckles, which is repulsive.
6. Her voice might be passable if she did not insist on singing in a high soprano which I do not believe is her natural range.
7. I saw her stealing Mary P.’s potatoes yesterday at dinner (to be fair portions were very small).
8. She talks of nothing but boys, which is very dull as there are no boys here to talk about.
9. It was her turn to break the ice in the water pitcher this morning and she did not do it but stayed abed until I had.

###

This one is from their first Christmas as a married couple (about six months after the book ends). Notes: You can probably guess this from the list, but they both love music and Nev reads Gothic novels. [Josie Cusher is the child of a laborer on the estate. Coke was the foremost agricultural innovator in Norfolk, where Nev’s estate is, and his Clippings (a sort of party/educational event held every year when his sheep were sheared) were the forerunner to the modern agricultural fair.]

list02

Possible Christmas gifts for Nev

1. Having the pianoforte cleaned and voiced.
2. a red dress (for me, of course)
3. a box at the Opera (expensive, and we are not in town much, but I know he would love it.)
4. refurbishing the Orangery (not entirely a waste–I have been having oranges sent from London, he adores them so.)
5. some new sheet music (only I should have to write for it instead of choosing it myself.)
6. a subscription to the Minerva Press.
7. I have been teaching Josie Cusher to play the guitar. If she is ready to play “The Ballad of Captain Kidd” by Christmas, I think it would make him very happy.
8. I wrote Mr. Coke about attending his next Clippings in the Spring, and he has invited us to stay at Holkham Hall!
9. hire Mrs. Bailey to quilt him a new warm waistcoat, as we are trying to save on fuel and it has been rather cold, and he cannot simply put on an extra flannel petticoat as I do.

###

I’m noticing a pattern here! It was a fluke because of the size of my background graphic, but I’m starting to think Penelope likes her lists to be nine items long.

###

The third list is the two of them brainstorming baby names. The messier handwriting is of course Nev’s. [Nev’s name is Nathaniel Ambrey (“Nev” is a nickname based on his courtesy title). His sister wants them to name a daughter Mary because she loves the warrior maiden balled “Mary Ambree.” The two of them both like Arthurian legend, in particular Malory’s Morte d’Arthur. Embarrassing fact: I discovered while writing these lists that Le Morte d’Arthur was reprinted in 1816, for the first time since 1634. I am extremely lucky in that I think this doesn’t actually contradict anything in my book, but I really, really hope I didn’t somewhere indicate that they’d read it as kids. Oops!]

list3

Boy

Arthur (only everyone will think it’s for Wellington)
Percival
Nathaniel [NEV: no!]
Gareth
George
Francis [NEV: I like Frank]
David
Tristram [NEV: bad luck! PENELOPE: I don’t believe in luck, and it’s a pretty name.]
Arnold
James

Girl

Mary [NEV: dull! PENELOPE: I did promise Louisa I’d consider it. NEV: And now you have!]
Frances
Linette
Elinor or Lenore (Lianor is a silly spelling, Nev, you know it is.) [NEV: Is not!]
Elizabeth
Anne
Gwen [NEV: also bad luck!]
Isabel
Harriet
Margaret [NEV: We’ll call her Daisy! He’s teasing because Penelope has mixed feelings about her rather middle-class nickname Penny.]
Sarah
[NEV: Penelope]