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Wedding Wagers and Dukes, Dukes, and More Dukes

September 28, 2022 by in category Quarter Days by Alina K. Field tagged as , ,

I’m back with a quarterly post!

And this time I’m sharing three fantastic new collections of stories about every Regency romance reader’s favorite topics: weddings and dukes.

The Wedding Wager

My fellow Bluestocking Belle authors, Jude Knight, Cerise Deland, and Elizabeth Ellen Carter, have stories in this multi-author collection, released 9/27/22.

Here’s the Blurb:

The Boast—pride goeth before the fall…

After facilitating the match of the season, Lady Pandora “Pansy” Osbourne, has boasted that she is the best matchmaker The Ton has ever seen. Always willing to bring her cousin down a peg or two, her cousin, Lady Octavia Sewell insists that was no feat of matchmaking at all, as the couple involved were clearly destined for one another despite Pansy’s meddling. A bitter argument ensues and a dreadful challenge is issued. Pansy must do more than say it… she must prove it.

The terms of the wager are set!

Pansy must produce no less than one match per month between people who have been notoriously unmarriageable—spinsters, bluestockings, rakes and fortune hunters, oh my! But there’s more riding on this than simply her pride! If Pansy loses, she will have to give up her most prized possession—a tiara that belonged to their grandmother will be forfeited into Octavia’s grasping hands.

15 authors. 15 original novellas!

Download the prologue here: https://BookHip.com/SVWMCTV

Buy link: https://books2read.com/weddingwager

A Duke in Winter

Bring on the Dukes! This collection includes stories by fellow Bluestocking Belles Caroline Warfield and Elizabeth Ellen Carter and is available for pre-order for the 12/29/22 release.

“It was a dark and snowy night…”

Winter has come and the holiday seasons have arrived. ‘Tis the season to be jolly for most, but beneath the joyous celebrations lurks moody, dark, and seductive dukes that make England’s most famous bard’s brooding lords look like charm boys. But this isn’t a tortured Danish prince or a tormented king with three conniving daughters. This is…

A Duke In Winter.

Ten of your favorite historical romance authors have come together for this wintery collection to set your pulse racing. Melt the snow a little with this collection of sexy tales of moody dukes and the women hot enough to warm them.

Indulge in the most unexpected of winter romantic tales!

Available for pre-order at Amazon.com

And if you don’t want to wait until December for your dukes…

Get Your Duke On

This summertime collection of stories released in August 2022 and was a USA Today Bestseller!

Welcome to a rollicking summer in Regency England, where the weather is warm, the ladies warmer, and the dukes sizzling-hot!

For lovers of historical romance, lose yourself in this collection of never before published Regency tales. From gambling halls to ballrooms, you’ll enjoy a summer with a wide cast of unforgettable characters. Themes from your favorite summertime songs have inspired these tales, so get ready for fun, fun, fun or a little old lady who drives her phaeton far too fast.

It’s glamour, passion, and adventure in one magical summer in Regency England!

Available at Amazon.com

If you’re a fan of historical romance, some of your favorite authors will be gathering on October 1, 2022 at the Westgate Hotel in San Diego for a book signing as part of the 2022 Historical Romance Retreat. Don’t miss this event!

I’ll be back after Christmas for my next post. Until then, happy holidays, and happy reading!

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Historical Author Alanna Lucas–Romance, Adventure, and Happily Ever After!!

November 2, 2021 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

Bestselling, award-winning author Alanna Lucas pens Regency-set historicals filled with romance, adventure, and of course, happily ever afters. When she is not daydreaming of her next travel destination, Alanna can be found researching, spending time with family, volunteering, or going for long walks. She makes her home in California with her husband, children, one sweet dog, and hundreds of books.

Just for the record, you can never have too many handbags or books. And travel is a must.

Today the delightful Regency romance author Alanna Lucas is with us. Will be talking about her journey to publication and her latest releases.

Jann: Why did you become a writer?

Alanna: For as long as I can remember, I’ve had stories swirling through my thoughts. It seemed natural to write them down and share HEA’s. The world needs more Happily Ever Afters, right?!

Jann: Tell us about your journey to publication. How many books have you published?

Alanna: My book, Face to Face won a contest wherein I was offered a contract. It was really exciting! Face to Face was the first in a six-book series. I enjoyed my time with my publisher but found self-publishing more fulfilling. I suddenly was in control of who my editor was, cover design, and deadlines (an important detail when you have kids at home). I have self-published eleven books!

Jann: Historical romance readers look for accuracy from the author. What are your favorite sources for research and how much time did you spend on research? Do you research before, while you write a first draft or after?

 Alanna: Gosh, my favorite sources? Where to start… I have the Beau Monde to thank for the wealth of knowledge sitting on my bookshelves. The classes and material they have provided always is a great starting point. I love to research and probably spend way too much time falling down the rabbit hole looking for some tidbit to satisfy my curiosity. Lol!

Jann: The Redemption of Heathcliff, made its debut in January 2021, and How To Steal A Lyon’s Fortune, in April, received wonderful reviews by readers. Do you read reviews?

 Alanna: Thank you! I’ve been so pleased with the reception of both books. I do read some reviews (and try not to let the bad ones get to me). Authors put a lot of themselves into their writing and it’s nice to read that our stories resonate with readers.

Jann: On November 12, A Marchioness for Christmas makes its debut. What major conflicts do your leading characters, Antonia and Dracon, have to work through on the way to their HEA?

Alanna: Communication—or lack of—and family responsibility are things both Antonia and Dracon struggle with. Both have a strong sense of duty that have dictated their actions, and not always in their best interest.

Jann: When starting a new book do you think of character, plot or theme first?

 Alanna: Plot never comes first. Lol! I am a pantser all the way! Usually, the hero and heroine come to me with an idea. I spend a lot of time getting to know them in my head. Each book has its own journal for me to record thoughts and ideas.

Jann: What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next project?

Alanna: I am working on a new series about three sisters who are gifted with charm, grace, and beauty, who are not only determined to marry for love and make advantageous matches, but plot to assist other ladies of Society to do the same. Let’s just say, they are not your typical debutants.

Jann: You wrote a couple of Historical Westerns. Will you be writing any more in the future?

Alanna: I hope so, but no cowboy hero has rushed into my thoughts lately 😉

Jann: Your book covers are fabulous. Are you the designer?

Alanna: Thank you! I think they’re fabulous, too! I have an amazing cover designer, Dar Albert, who really understands my vision, usually on the first go around.

Jann: What is the one thing you’ve never been asked, but you wish someone would?

 Alanna: This one stumped me a little. I guess… Have you ever acted out any of the scenes in your books? The answer is yes, but I won’t say which ones 😉

Jann: What’s the funniest (or sweetest or best or nicest) thing a fan ever said to you?

Alanna: “You look just like your author picture!”

Jann: You like to travel. Do you have a favorite location that you find yourself going back to? Do you have a bucket list of future destinations?

 Alanna: I LOVE to travel, especially to the Netherlands. I try and go once a year—I have family there and the little ones are getting so big, so fast! I’m always plotting the next travel destination. Next trip (fingers crossed that the world behaves, and travel is possible) is to see the Northern Lights in Norway.

Alanna, it’s been great to spend time with you today. I love reading Regency romances and yours are wonderful. Can’t wait to read A Marchioness for Christmas! You also have  Christmas Kisses, which is part of a Regency Holiday Romance Anthology with ten authors that is available now which I’m reading. Have a wonderful holiday season!!


Books by Alanna Lucas

(Click on the cover for more information. Hover over the cover for buy links.)


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Mrs. Hurst Dancing, a Review

June 28, 2021 by in category Quarter Days by Alina K. Field, Writing tagged as , , , ,

Pictures worth much more than a thousand words.

The Lord of the Manor and his family going out to a dinner party at 5 o’clock with a tremendous stile before them.

If you’re a fan of Jane Austen and other Regency-set fiction, Mrs. Hurst Dancing, a collection of 70 watercolors by Diana Sperling, is a treasure. The book is especially valuable for the often-confused author trying to envision the clothing, the transportation, and how everyone passed the time, especially in the country. Unfortunately, no one was posting helpful YouTube videos two hundred years ago.

The above painting is a good example of what you’ll find in the book. The tongue-in-cheek description is Sperling’s own. The “Lord of the Manor”, probably her brother Henry, leads three ladies (probably Diana and her sisters) to a neighbor’s house for a dinner party.

Staples of Country Life

All three ladies are wearing red cloaks, which I often forget were staples of country life, and also good indicators of class. The Sperling family were gentry, not super-rich nobility. The bonnets look like leghorn bonnets with flatter crowns. If you know what they are, please mention it in the comments.

Dinner in the country was earlier than in “town”. They’re not driving down the road to the neighbor’s in a coach and four–they’re walking cross-country! There’s no date on this picture, so we don’t know what season this is; probably not the dead of winter though, despite the cloaks. The three ladies are carrying their shoes for indoors, and it looks like Henry has his stuffed into the pocket of his coat. (Men’s pockets were in the tails of their coats.)

Hiking to Dinner

He’s also carrying a lantern for the walk home. No street lights in the country. Without our modern light pollution, imagine how dark it must have been?

And what about that “tremendous stile”? According to Merriam-Webster, a stile is “a step or set of steps for passing over a fence or wall”. Like this:

A stile allows people to pass, but not livestock. I don’t see stairs in Sperling’s drawing, but there does seem to be a space to the left. I hope the ladies don’t have to climb over those rails in their white gowns.

As I mentioned, there are seventy watercolors in the book depicting the country life of the gentry in this era. In one, Diana’s mother and the housekeeper stand on the window ledge “murdering flies”. In another, the ladies of the family are wallpapering a room. There’s a drawing of the family holding hands and experimenting with an “electrifying machine”. Horses, donkeys, dogs, chickens are all part of the country life depicted.

Mrs. Hurst Dancing is only available in hardcover, and is, I believe, out of print. Weirdly, Amazon has two entries for the book, one with used copies starting at $99, the other with used copies starting at $21.92. How wonderful if the copyright holder would release another edition of this book in softcover.

You can see a few more of Diana Sperling’s amazing watercolors on Pinterest.

For the authors and readers out there, do you make use of images to help you better “see” a story? What’s your go-to site?

Image credits:

The watercolor is from janeaustensworld.com via Pinterest; stile is from Wikimedia commons; book cover is from Amazon.com

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Giving Tragic Characters a Happy-Ever-After

December 28, 2020 by in category Quarter Days by Alina K. Field tagged as , , , ,

The Tragic Characters in Literature Project

Greetings for the holiday season! This is the time for gift-giving, and I’m devoting this Quarter Days’ post to a unique gift-giving project I’m taking part in with a group of Regency Romance authors.

We’re taking some of those dark, down-on-their luck characters from literary fiction and giving them the Regency Romance treatment!

Officially:

With complete artistic license, and an abundance of hubris, a group of Regency romance authors are retelling some of the great stories of literature, setting them in Georgian England, and giving these tragic heroes and heroines a happily-ever-after.

I am not super well-read in tragic fiction, so I settled on a story I do know: Macbeth. The real Macbeth was a relatively successful (though bloody) ruler of Scotland for about ten years in the eleventh century. Shakespeare’s Macbeth and his lady–well, you probably know their story. They die!

What’s a Romance Author to do? I decided to follow Shakespeare’s example of adding and discarding facts and characters as required. As I plunged into planning, I quickly decided that the action would begin twenty years after Macbeth and his lady’s quest for title and power and their “demises”.

In my version, a failed lawsuit, allegations of unfaithfulness and a disastrous divorce sent Macbeth off to a bloody twenty-year war with France and his lady into a tailspin of depression. Older and wiser, they meet again in London in March 1815 during the worst of the Corn Riots, in a week that ends with the arrival of news that Bonaparte has escaped from Elba.

I’ve taken the liberty of reversing characterizations (after all, Foul is Fair, and Fair is Foul) and adding others to lighten the mood for our aging lovers. Writing this, I often had to wrest my hero back from the darkness of his story. Or, as my editor gently suggested, I had to “moderate his fatalism”.

Hah! It is 2020, isn’t it?

All-in-all, it was a fun story, requiring a deep dive into the Peninsular campaign, the Corn Riots, and best of all, Highland soldiers in kilts.

Release day for Fated Hearts is December 29, 2020, and it’s available for 99 cent preorder. It won’t be at that price for long, so if you’re interested, pick up your copy ASAP.

Here’s a bit about the story and the other books in the Tragic Characters in Classic Lit series.

Fated Hearts, A Love After All Retelling of the Scottish Play

Plagued by hellish memories and rattling visions of battle to come, a Scottish Baron returning from two decades at war meets the daughter he denied was his, and the wife he divorced, and learns that everything he’d believed to be true was a lie. What he can’t deny is that she’s the only woman he’s ever loved. They’re not the young lovers they once were, but when passion flares, it burns more hotly than ever it did in their youth.

They soon discover, it wasn’t fate that drove them apart, but a jealous enemy, who played on his youthful arrogance and her vulnerability. Now that old enemy has resurfaced, more treacherous than ever. When his lady falls into a trap, can he reach her in time to rescue this love that never died?



Other Books in this Series:

The Monster Within, The Monster Without

by Lindsay Downs (Frankenstein)

When bodies start turning up in Whitechapel, Miss Steen returns to London with Lord Cartwright and the Countess of Harlow as her chaperone to solve the murders. Little does she realize she will be introduced to the last person she wants to meet — and hunting down the murderers proves a lot more difficult than they had anticipated.

I Shot the Sheriff

by Regina Jeffers (Robin Hood)

William de Wendenal, the notorious Sheriff of Nottingham, has come to London, finally having wormed his way back into the good graces of the Royal family. Yet, not all of Society is prepared to forgive his former “supposed” transgressions, especially the Earl of Sherwood.

However, when de Wendenal is wounded in an attempt to protect Prince George from an assassin, he becomes caught up in a plot involving stolen artwork, kidnapping, murder, and seduction that brings him to Cheshire where he must willingly face a gun pointed directly at his chest and held by the one woman who stirs his soul, Miss Patience Busnick, the daughter of a man de Wendenal once escorted to prison.

The Colonel’s Spinster

by Audrey Harrison (Pride and Prejudice)

Colonel Fitzwilliam is a second son, often overshadowed by his titled, older brother and his cousin, Mr Darcy. Returning from Waterloo he knows it is time to find a wife with a healthy dowry, but he longs for a love match. Unfortunately for Fitzwilliam, love doesn’t put food on the table.

Miss Prudence Bamber has never known her mother’s family. A woman with her own mind and full life, she indulges her father’s wish to visit her long-lost relations. It turns out to be a trip she won’t forget in a hurry. 

Two people looking for love, but challenged by pride, secrets and prejudice. Will they be able to overcome the odds to find their own happy ever after? Or, are they destined to remain separated by the constraints of society? 

The Redemption of Heathcliff

by Alanna Lucas (Wuthering Heights)

Her wild ways tamed, Catherine Earnshaw has launched into London society. Only none of her marriage-mart suitors excite her because her heart still lies with another; whatever happened to Heathcliff, her childhood soulmate?

Markus Bell left Yorkshire to find his true identity and turn a fortune. Now the talk of the ton, he has Catherine in his sights, not to woo her but to seek revenge; he can’t forgive how she spurned him.

Catherine is puzzled where the gossip dogging her through the season comes from. Until she meets Markus, who’s as dark and devilishly handsome as her Heathcliff, and her world is turned upside down. 

Coming in 2021:

The Company She Keeps, by Nancy Lawrence (Madame Bovary)

Captain Stanwick’s Bride, by Regina Jeffers (The Courtship of Miles Standish)

Glorious Obsession, by Louisa Cornell (Orpheus and Eurydice)

Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season and a very happy, healthy, prosperous 2021!

I’ll be back in March for the next installment of my Quarter Days’ blog!

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Book Review: The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian

July 27, 2018 by in category Writing tagged as , ,

 

In this captivating Regency romance, Cat Sebastian crafts a many-layered love story reminiscent of a rejuvenated tale of Beauty and the Beast. The story of Radnor and Georgie delights with winsome, finely-tuned prose that renders the narrative sexy, dashing, funny, and deeply poignant.

From the book description: 

An earl hiding from his future . . .

Lawrence Browne, the Earl of Radnor, is mad. At least, that’s what he and most of the village believes. A brilliant scientist, he hides himself away in his family’s crumbling estate, unwilling to venture into the outside world. When an annoyingly handsome man arrives at Penkellis, claiming to be Lawrence’s new secretary, his carefully planned world is turned upside down.

A swindler haunted by his past . . .

Georgie Turner has made his life pretending to be anyone but himself. A swindler and con man, he can slip into an identity faster than he can change clothes. But when his long-dead conscience resurrects and a dangerous associate is out for blood, Georgie escapes to the wilds of Cornwall. Pretending to be a secretary should be easy, but he doesn’t expect that the only madness he finds is the one he has for the gorgeous earl.

Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives?

Challenging each other at every turn, the two men soon give into the desire that threatens to overwhelm them. But with one man convinced he is at the very brink of madness and the other hiding his real identity, only true love can make this an affair to remember.

 

When I was in college, my drug of choice was not pot or beer – it was Beauty and the Beast. The Disney cartoon. I would watch it on a loop as I pulled an all-nighter or pop it into the VCR when I needed to relax and remember sanity. While I was always aware of what bothered me about the story, I successfully muffled my misgivings. Like the whole kidnapping angle, for instance. Not an auspicious start to a romance. And quite frankly, the theme of the whole story raises my hackles – a boorish male kidnaps a young woman and treats her terribly, but they fall in love and then he turns into a handsome prince. Just writing it out makes me feel a bit sick. Because let’s face it, a boorish man who treats you terribly tends to get worse, not better, as the relationship progresses. And thinking you can change a beast into a price is a dark road to go down.

So why do I love the story so? A line from the song “Beauty and the Beast” by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken best explains my love for this story: “Barely even friends, Then somebody bends Unexpectedly.” I love the unfurling of the relationship, the quiet thrill of two characters discovering one another, and realizing what is most essential about the other person. Is there a book-loving woman alive who doesn’t swoon when The Bet presents Belle with his entire library?

The most wonderful thing about The Lawrence Browne Affair (and there are MANY wonderful things) is that it tells a Beauty and the Beast story without all of the disturbing elements. The Beast – the “mad” Earl of Radnor, does not kidnap Georgie and then scream and yell and frighten his victim just because he is so angry at his own bad choices and where they have led. Yes, Radnor is gruff with Georgie, a secretary he did not invite – and does not want – in his home. Radnor’s manners can be gruff, but evidence of his life-long decency and compassion reveals itself throughout the story. And far from kidnapping Georgie, Radnor has Georgie foisted upon him and once Georgie is there, he just won’t seem to leave.

Once they are together in the crumbling mansion, each man’s personality, history, and motives become less murky, and as they begin to fall for one another, these characters crystalize into unexpectedly brilliant gems. And Sebastian keeps the twists coming throughout the book, as more and more gets revealed about each character, and as the life of each man evolves in tune with the other.

Sebastian has written many books, and I confess I love them all. The Lawrence Browne Affair is my favorite. Each book of hers if sexy, funny, richly poignant, and so deftly written! Each of her books in a stand-alone read and the books in Cat Sebastian series do not need to be read in order. If you are looking for a new author to binge-read, I dare say, you might just have found her. Happy reading, indeed!

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