Archive for 'romance'

“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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Word of the Day: Beguile

A terrific word for a romance writer, don’t you think? Infographic: "Beguile" and its definition, via Merriam-Webster.

I used it a variant of it in You May Kiss the Bride:

Clearly, there was more to that exasperating man than only stubborn arrogance. Livia began to feel regretful at parting from him two days ago in the Pump Room with what she had to now admit was outright churlishness. But he had bowed over her hand with such cool remoteness, and had given no indication as to his plans.

Oh, she must, and would, thank him as soon as next she saw him! She would be very proper and aloof, of course, but gracious. Not unlike an empress acknowledging a worthy gesture from a subordinate. That would be the ideal note to strike. And she would not, absolutely would not, lose her temper.

Caught up in this beguiling vision of herself, Livia jumped when Mrs. Penhallow rapped her knuckles on the table, and turned startled eyes to her hostess.

“I daresay you had a very good reason for ignoring me,” said the old lady with withering sarcasm. “Perhaps you were wondering what the dessert course will be?”

She hadn’t, but now she was, although clearly it would be unwise to ask. 

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

 

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The Museum of Broken Relationships

I was fascinated to read an article about the Museum of Broken Relationships, which houses “artifacts from failed unions, most of them mundane under ordinary circumstances. A single stiletto heel. A wine opener. A worn old Snoopy doll. But when isolated in a glass case or hanging on a white wall and accompanied by a caption, the objects become imbued with heartache or regret. Or freedom.” As an avid museum-goer, I’d love to visit.

A photograph taken at the Museum of Broken Relationships: visitors looking at a display of "brokenship" artifacts.

via the Museum of Broken Relationships

Of course, one of the great joys in my profession is to ensure that no matter what obstacles my protagonists encounter, all will end well. Hmmmm. Maybe they should stock some romance novels in the gift shop . . . ?

More about the “brokenships” museum here.

 

 

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Word of the day: Maelstrom

Here’s a fantastic word for a romance writer, as our work is imbued with emotions of all kinds, and often very strong ones.Infographic: "Maelstrom": a word-of-the-day from Merriam-Webster.

In fact, I used it in You May Kiss the BrideMy hero, Gabriel Penhallow, who has previously taken great pride in his cool sangfroid, has just had a public — and widely observed — altercation on a busy street in Bath, during which he effectively rips to shreds the character of a man whose carriage has nearly run over my heroine Livia:

So much for his vaunted self-control, he thought bitterly. The last time he’d allowed himself to give way to such a violent maelstrom of emotions, he’d ended up kissing a saucy, tempting girl in a garden and within the hour been engaged to her. And here she’d done it once more.

This snippet is from Chapter 9, but you if you like, you can read Chapter 1 here.

 

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It was a dark and stormy night . . .

Although I don’t write gothic romance, I’ve certainly read it, and I adore this evocative image. Are these steps ones you’d want to go up . . . or hastily down, and away?

Gothic-style illustration of an old manor house by Wildred Jenkins; via Helen Warlow on Twitter

Illustration by Wildred Jenkins; via Helen Warlow on Twitter

 

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