Archive for 'romance'

Shop talk: Meredith Duran & Sabrina Jeffries

RT Book Reviews recently posted a fascinating conversation between Sabrina Jeffries and Meredith Duran. My favorite snippet is this from Meredith:

“Our genre is often derided as ‘escapist,’ but I think there’s a great and potentially agentive power in escapism if it enables us to realize and articulate our core values. . . . I like to think that the romance genre, by celebrating the importance of human connection, also helps us embrace and defend the qualities that engender human connection in the world.”

Meredith Duran

Sabrina Jeffries

Click here to read the full post, “Historical Chat: Meredith Duran and Sabrina Jeffries Talk Books.”

 

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On arranged marriages

Really enjoyed Madeline Hunter’s thoughtful and wide-ranging post in USA Today‘s Happy Ever After blog, “Romance Unlaced: Authors Explore Beloved Arranged-marriage Trope in Recent Historicals.” Among the authors sharing their perspective are Julia London, Elisabeth Hobbes, and Blythe Gifford.

Graphic for USA Today's Happy Ever After blog

It’s a trope I like a lot too. Obviously. I utilized it in my own You May Kiss the Bride and The Laird Takes a Bride:)

You can read the post here.

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Word of the day: Fastidious

“Difficult to please,” says Merriam-Webster; also “having complex nutritional requirements.” It’s a wonderfully accurate description of my hero’s grandmother in You May Kiss the Bride.Infographic: a definition of "fastidious" by Merriam-Webster

Here’s a snippet from Chapter 5, in which my heroine discovers just how fastidious her hostess is.

Livia stared dismally at her plate. On it was a mashed turnip cake, three limp mushrooms over which had been spooned a lumpy gray sauce, and half a raw artichoke bottom. Not only did Mrs. Penhallow follow a most peculiar culinary regimen, so were she and Miss Cott forced to endure it as well. It was all because of that repulsive Dr. Wendeburgen, one of Bath’s most eminent physicians and a particular favorite of Mrs. Penhallow. No meat, no fish, no poultry, no milk, no cream, no butter, no eggs, no bread, declared Dr. Wendeburgen. Above all, no desserts! What could be more injurious to the human alimentary tract?

Want to read more? Click here to read Chapter 1.

If you’d like to preorder in advance of the March 27th release, click here.

Plus, Avon Books is hosting two giveaways! Ten print advance reader’s copies are up for grabs on Goodreads. And there’s a sweepstakes, too. Good luck!

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Word of the day: Uncouth

Here’s a useful word I employed in You May Kiss the Bride. Infographic: "uncouth" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster

 

My heroine, Livia, betrothed to Gabriel Penhallow, hears the name Alasdair Penhallow mentioned, and asks who that is. Gabriel’s haughty, cantankerous grandmother replies with a sniff:

“He is Gabriel’s cousin, and the head of the Scottish branch of the Penhallows — we here in England have nothing to do with them as they are a backward, uncouth lot. This Alasdair is evidently an utter wastrel and is known, among our own intimate circle, as the black sheep of the family. A highly appropriate term, given the Clans’ apparent obsession with their sheep. For myself, I have never cared for mutton, but Dr. Wendeburgen says under extreme circumstances, such as a fit of sneezing that lasts more than an hour, consuming it in pureed form is of the utmost urgency.”

You’ll meet Alasdair in my next book, The Laird Takes a Bride. You’ll have to decide for yourself if old Mrs. Penhallow is correct in her estimation of him . . .

In the meantime, if you’d like to read an excerpt from You May Kiss the Bride, click here. You can also enter Avon Books’ Goodreads giveaway for 10 print advance reader copies; click here to enter. Good luck!

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“A message we all need to hear again and again”

A few days ago, in BookPage, Kristan Higgins published a beautiful essay, “Why Do We Crave a Happily Ever After?” I liked it so much I made a little infographic with a quote from it — like a badge you’d pin onto your blouse. :)

Infographic: a quote from Kristan Higgins on the value of romance novels

Read Kristan’s full post here.

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It’s Romance Week at Goodreads!

Although, as a romance novelist, I would argue that every week is romance week. ;)

Logo: Goodreads Romance Week

All kinds of cool stuff is going on. Romance authors taking questions, 14-word love stories (so far my favorite is J.R. Ward’s “‘How can I not love you?’ I said to Channing Tatum as he blushed”), Top 10 lists, and more. Click here to check it out.

And stay tuned! Avon Books is hosting another Goodreads giveaway for You May Kiss the Bride, starting on — swoon! — Valentine’s Day. I’ll keep you updated when the giveaway goes live.

 

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The Wedding Dress

What a sad image! Still, it would make a wonderful illustration for an opening chapter in a romance novel, wouldn’t it? Things look bad for the heroine. But we know — for sure — that it will all end up OK. No, more than OK: it’ll be great.

"The Wedding Dress" by Frederick William Elwell, 1911.

“The Wedding Dress” by Frederick William Elwell, 1911

Which is just one reason why I love reading (and writing!) romance.

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Word of the day: Cantankerous

In You May Kiss the Bride, my hero’s grandmother, Henrietta Penhallow, is definitely cantankerous: she’s arrogant, domineering, and critical.

Infographic: "cantankerous," via Merriam-Webster

 

Here’s a little snippet from Chapter 5, during which my heroine, the penniless orphan Livia Stuart, has begun — under the aegis of old Mrs. Penhallow — her transformation into an elegant Society miss.

One morning, after several new items had arrived (including, to Livia’s intense gratification, a pair of kid slippers with ravishing pink rosettes), she said impulsively to Mrs. Penhallow:

“All this, ma’am, for me? I must thank you.”

The old lady had somehow managed despite her inferior height to look down her nose at Livia. “It is not for, or about, you, young lady,” she replied with her usual hauteur. “Never think that for a moment. It is merely that you are to represent the Penhallows, and standards must be upheld.”

Temporarily cowed by this frigid set-down, Livia submitted to successive applications of Lotion of Ladies of Denmark, Milk of Almonds, and the distilled water from green pineapples, her complexion having been pronounced shockingly brown, and also to the rose oil and white wax for lips deemed repulsively dry and chapped.

Poor Livia!

Want to read a longer excerpt from You May Kiss the Bride? Click here for Chapter 1.

 

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Mary Balogh: “I believe in love”

I’ve just read a fantastic post by Mary Balogh on why she writes historical romance; it speaks eloquently to me as both a reader and a writer.

She begins by saying, “I believe in love. I believe in the power and ultimate triumph of love.”

And why historical romance in particular?

“Readers like to be transported away from their everyday lives. They like to be taken to a different world to read about people who are essentially like themselves. Past eras often seem more romantic than our own. Regency England, for example, conjures marvelous visual images of fashions for both men and women that weA Regency-era ballre perhaps the most attractive and sexy of any age; of stately country homes and the spacious parks surrounding them; of horse-drawn carriages bowling along the king’s highway; of couples waltzing at grand balls in the light of dozens of candles in the crystal chandeliers overhead; of enchanted evenings strolling the lantern-lit walks of Vauxhall Gardens in London; of picnics and garden parties in rural surroundings; of drives in Hyde Park at the fashionable hour. The possibilities are endless, all coming with an aura of the romance of a bygone age. It is a happy illusion, of course. Most of us would not want actually to live in Regency England or any other bygone era, but we are quite happy to enjoy it from the comfort of our twenty-first century homes. That is the magic of reading.”

Click here to read the full post.

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Word of the day: Genteel

A fantastic word for a writer of historical romance.

Infographic: "genteel," a word of the day via Merriam-Webster

Here it is in You May Kiss the Bride, during a scene in which my heroine, Livia, despite being ravenously hungry, still manages to display her good manners:

Gabriel sat in the Phelps Tea Room and watched without comment as Miss Stuart, in a very genteel but methodical way, consumed eight dainty ham sandwiches, three devilled eggs, and most of a plate of pastries. When finally she paused, and took a sip of her tea, he held out the plate.

“Would you care for another raspberry tart, Miss Stuart?”

“Oh, no, I couldn’t,” she sighed, sounding very happy.

Gabriel was startled at the transformation from the tense, tightly strung young lady he had met in the Pump Room to this . . . this relaxed, almost languorous girl who looked like she would at any moment begin to purr with satisfaction. It was difficult to believe that half an hour ago she was practically snarling at him and calling him a beast.

Of course, we all know how it’s easier to be agreeable on a full stomach . . .

This snippet appears in Chapter 6, but if you like, you can read all of Chapter 1 here.

 

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