Monthly Archives: May 2014

New contest: IN FOR A PENNY e-books, and a gift basket!

ETA: This contest is closed. Taliahale is the winner of the gift basket. E-book winners are Jackie, elizs, Jennie, azteclady, and Maureen. Congratulations!

My debut In for a Penny re-releases on June 3rd!

new In for a Penny coverLord Nevinstoke revels in acting the young wastrel, until his father is killed in a drunken duel. Never one to do anything halfway, Nev throws off his wild ways to shoulder a mountain of responsibility—and debt—vowing to marry a rich girl and act the respectable lord of the manor. Manufacturing heiress Penelope Brown seems the perfect choice for a wife. She’s pretty, proper, and looking for a husband.

Determined to rise above her common birth, Penelope prides herself on her impeccable behavior and good sense. Grand Passion? Vulgar and melodramatic. Yes, agreeing to marry Nev was a rare moment of impulse, yet she’s sure they can build a good marriage based on companionship and mutual esteem.

But when they arrive at the manor, they’re overwhelmed with half-starved tenants, a menacing neighbor, and the family propensity for scandal. As the situation deteriorates, the newlyweds have nowhere to turn but to each other. To Penelope’s surprise, she begins to fervently hope that her first taste of Grand Passion in her husband’s arms won’t be her last.

You can read the first chapter here.

The book has been out of print since Dorchester’s tailspin, and I’m very excited that it will be available again. To celebrate, I’m giving away 5 PENNY e-books and a super awesome gift basket (not literally. There is no actual basket)!

The gift basket includes:

1. A copy of the e-book in the format of your choice.

2. A signed promotional postcard.

3. Two In for a Penny bookmarks.

4. A real Regency penny! Dated 1806, this penny has clearly been extensively handled. ANYONE could have touched this penny. (Well, anyone living in England in the relevant timeframe.)

5. 4 grass-scented votive candles from Kittredge Candles. These just came in the mail and they smell amazing! The smell of summer in the country is a huge part of this book for me.

6. Dangerous Examples, Diane Dugaw’s collection of ballads about cross-dressing sailor and soldier maids. Includes “Mary Ambree” and “The Bristol Bridegroom,” both mentioned in Penny, and I’m sure Penelope knew many of these.

7. Dr. Arne at Vauxhall Gardens, featuring singers Emma Kirkby and Richard Morton backed by the Parley of Instruments. Who knows, one of these very songs could have been in the background when Nev saw Penelope at Vauxhall in chapter one! This CD is used but it plays perfectly.

8. A deck of reproduction historical playing cards. The cards are based on a 1750 deck, but design didn’t change much until the Victorian era, and the decks Nev and his friends used would have looked very similar.

9. Hogarth on High Life: The Marriage à la Mode Series. The product description from Amazon: “For the first time in more than 35 years, this edition of the Commentaries on Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode series brings one of the most entertaining and perceptive art texts of the 18th century back in print. Lichtenberg, a genial Anglophile, physicist, and colleague of Goethe, brought all the scabrous and mordant detail of Hogarth’s masterpieces to life. The brilliant translation by Arthur Wensinger is accompanied by an introduction and thorough notes, and by two other important early texts: Rouquet’s commentaries, which were authorized by Hogarth, and a hudibrastic verse explanation published in 1746. The very full illustration includes the Riephenhausen engravings from which Lichtenberg worked, Hogarth’s own engravings, and extensive details.” How cool is that? If you’ve read the book, you know why it’s relevant.

Since Penelope likes lists with 9 items, I will end it there!

Here are 9 ways you can enter to win (N.B.: all require leaving a comment on this post):

1. Read a post from my original blog tour. Leave a comment on the post here.

The History Hoydens. I talk about class attitudes in Regency England and their effect on my nouveau-riche heroine.
The Book Smugglers. My inspirations and influences, including but not limited to Georgette Heyer’s A Civil Contract, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, and my own family history. This one comes complete with old snapshots of bold fashion choices made by four generations of women in my family.
The Season. A list of costume drama monster movies I’d like to see, such as vampire Crusaders, Cowboys vs. the Blob, and Lieutenant Hornblower and the Kraken.
Romantically Speaking podcast. Danielle Monsch and I chat about research, romance, geek TV, the East Coast/West Coast divide, and of course the big one: Kirk vs. Picard.
MuseTracks. This was a tough one to write. My mom died of cancer when I was partway through writing In for a Penny, and I talk about that here.
The Chatelaines. In this Q&A with Gerri Russell, I talk about getting The Call from my editor, my very first attempts at Regency romance, and a bunch of other stuff.
Book Binge. The hero and heroine of my book love Le Morte d’Arthur. In this post I talk about one of my favorite things about it: its lack of authorial judginess. I also talk about the good person/bad person divide in English literature generally, and there’s a great discussion in the comments about sympathetic villains and the difference between justice and revenge.

2. Post a photo of yourself with your copy of In for a Penny (original printing or Samhain) on twitter, facebook, instagram, tumblr, or similar. Leave a comment here linking me to the picture.

3. Write a recommendation or review of the book in the forum of your choice. This review should be HONEST, it does NOT have to be positive. Leave a comment here linking me to the rec/review.

4. Read a review of In for a Penny (either one of the ones linked here, or find one on your own). Leave a comment here telling me which review you picked and something that intrigued you about it.

5. Look at the dream casting I did for Penny and tell me why you agree or disagree with one of my choices. Who would you suggest instead?

6. Read the first chapter of In for a Penny and tell me your favorite moment in it.

7. Leave me a prompt for a short story set in the world or featuring the characters of Sweet Disorder. Don’t forget to also comment here to let me know you did and you want to be entered!

8. Tell me about your favorite Star Trek episode and why it’s your favorite. 100 words minimum. Screencaps encouraged but not required.

9. Read one of my In for a Penny character interviews and tell me your favorite answer.

The rules:

1. To be entered you MUST leave a comment on THIS post.
2. The e-book giveaways are open internationally but due to postage costs, I will only ship the gift basket to the US or Canada.
3. Contest is open until June 15th.
4. You may enter up to 5 times! Leave each entry in a separate comment.
5. The winners will be chosen at random using random.org. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited.
6. No spoilers in the comments please!

Blog trade with Heather Rose Jones! "Roadblocks to Romance: Writing in Dialogue with Austen and Heyer"

To celebrate reaching 100 Twitter followers, Heather Rose Jones offered a choice of blog topic to the 99th and 100th. One of the winners, Ursula W., noting that two of her friends both wrote Regency-era romances, requested a blog trade. When Heather suggested each discussing how our stories interact with Heyer, especially in regards to how we use class difference to create conflict in our books, I was sold! My post is up at Heather’s blog if you’d like to read it. An excerpt:

My relationship with Heyer is complicated. In some ways, I relate to her like a critical mother. Her work has influenced my genre and my writing so heavily, she’s written some of my very favorite romances, and yet…I know she wouldn’t approve of me (apart from anything else, I’m Jewish!). I’m unable to simply set aside the places we disagree. Instead, they inspire in me frustrated stomach churnings if I think too much about it.

Because here’s the thing about Georgette Heyer and class issues as a roadblock to romance:

In Georgette Heyer, real class difference is an insuperable barrier to romance.

DaughterMysteryCOVERHeather’s debut novel Daughter of Mystery (Bella Books) is concisely described as a “Ruritanian Regency lesbian romance with magic and swashbuckling” (okay, I clearly need to check this out) and features Margerit Sovitre, an aspiring scholar who unexpectedly inherits a fortune…and a bodyguard named Barbara.

Here’s Heather’s post!

***

A romance author’s most important task is to keep her protagonists apart. Seriously. Without roadblocks to the romance, you may have a happy couple undergoing adventures together, but you don’t have a romance novel. One of the attractions of historic romance is exploring the palette of roadblocks specific and appropriate to the time and place of the setting. And one of the classic failures of historic romance is overlooking barriers rooted in your novel’s era in favor of more modern motivations and attitudes.

Any Anglophone romance novel set around the turn of the 19th century will inevitably find itself in dialog with both Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. Austen, because she gives us a boots-on-the-ground view of the attitudes, assumptions, goals, and aspirations of the time. Heyer, though she’s less bound by historic realities, because she essentially invented the concept of the Regency romance and mapped out an amazingly prolific array of character types, plots, tropes, and resolutions that form the basis for the genre. One may follow their lead or consciously write in contrast to them, but one cannot ignore them.

My novel Daughter of Mystery aimed, in part, for the look-and-feel of a Heyer romance, though differing significantly in the details. (It has fantasy elements, is set in the invented country of Alpennia rather than England, and concerns a same-sex romantic couple.) So I found it interesting to see how my characters’ problems compare to Austen and Heyer’s use of class, economics, social attitudes, and gender as romantic roadblocks.

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