Thursday, December 23, 2010

Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner of a Kindle 3G and an assortment of Harlequin Historical ebooks......


Watch your mailbox, Jeanne. You are about to receive a Kindle!

More thanks to all our entrants for making this contest so much fun.
Happy Holidays!
Merry Christmas!
The Harlequin Historical Authors

Harlequin Historical Holiday Contest Winners FINAL

Harlequin Holiday Contest

Here are our Winners!

Dec 1 Jean P from Ohio
Dec 2 Beverly from Solihull
Dec 3 Sara M
Dec 4 June
Dec 5 Carlie A, Virginia C and Hilly
Dec 6 Marci from Massachusetts
Dec 7 Elaine from Florida
Dec 8 Sheree from California
Dec 9 Emma from Pennsylvania
Dec 10 Katherine from Ontario
Dec 11 Kohsamui and Janice
Dec 12 Linda from Missouri
Dec 13 Peter from Maryland
Dec 14 Deb H, May C
Dec 15 Alisha W
Dec 16 Cassandra
Dec 17 Kathryn (gift card); Sarah (book); Rita (chocolate)
Dec 18 Virginia from Virginia :-)
Dec 19 Julie S
Dec 20 Samantha
Dec 21 Sheila
Dec 22 Joan from New Jersey
Dec 23 Grand Prize - Jeanne from Rhode Island

Thanks to all entrants for making this so much fun!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Day 22 --Denise Lynn

And Denise Lynn is the final author to take part. Answer her simple question to win $10 Amazon certificate. All entries will be put in for the grand prize draw on the 23rd for the kindle 3-g.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Thoroughly Compromised Lady wins 4 stars

I am so excited! Romantic Times gives Jack and Dulci's story 4 stars and a "Both passionate and suspenseful this novel is a treat..." I loved doing this story and I am so excited to see it off to a great start! Merry Christmas to me. What a great present.


Harlequin Historical Advent Day 21 -- Ann Lethbridge

Day 21 is Ann Lethbridge ( and all you have to do is to like her facebook page  by midnight for a chance to win one of her books. ALl entries go forward for the grand prize draw on 23 December.

A Thoroughly Compromised Lady cover is here!

Jack and Dulci's North American cover is here! It's lovely and I can hardly wait for their book to be out in the US. This has been one of my all time favorite stories so far. The story combines some foreign policy plot so the reader is bound to learn something new! Most of us don't know much about the land feud in South America between Spain and the British, but Jack and Dulci are in the thick of it with a fraudelent map. And there's plenty of sensuality and steamy sex scenes. The best of both worlds. It's my kind of story, the kind of book I want to pick up and read when I'm out looking for a good book. And oh yes, I'd show off the cover but I can't get the images option to access, so I'll pass on that for now and try again later.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Harlequin Historical Holiday Contest Winners Update

Harlequin Holiday Contest

Here are the Daily Winners of the Harlequin Historical Holiday contest thus far!

Dec 1 Jean P from Ohio
Dec 2 Beverly from Solihull
Dec 3 Sara M
Dec 4 (to be announced Dec 23)
Dec 5 Carlie A, Virginia C and Hilly
Dec 6 (to be announced Dec 23)
Dec 7 (to be announced Dec 23)
Dec 8
Dec 9 Emma from Pennsylvania
Dec 10 Katherine from Ontario
Dec 11 Kohsamui
Dec 12 Linda from Missouri
Dec 13 Peter from Maryland
Dec 14 Deb H, May C
Dec 15 Alisha W
Dec 16 Cassandra
Dec 17 Kathryn (gift card); Sarah (book); Rita (chocolate)
Dec 18 Virginia from Virginia :-)
Dec 19
Dec 20
Dec 21
Dec 22
Dec 23 Grand Prize

Check back here for updates.
And don't forget to keep entering the contest!

Halrequin Historical Advent Day 20 -- Michelle Styles

Michelle Styles's turn Go to her website answer a simple question (What book is Diana Clare reading at the start of A Question of Impropriety -- hint read the excerpt) and you will be put in the draw for A Taste of Northumberland includes signed books, a teatowel, a box of shortbread...
Everyone who enters goes forward for the Kindle 3-g draw to be held on 23 December.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Day 19 -- Julia Justiss

For a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift certificate, leave a comment on Julia Justiss's news/blog page today.   Alll entrants will be put in the drawing for the grand prize on 23 Dec.

Problems with our contest!

Dear readers--

Georgina Devon asked me to pass along that she's having some technical difficulties on her Advent Calendar day (today, Dec 18). She had changed her book offering, but the excerpt for The Rogue's Seduction didn't get loaded before her computer was sent off to the shop. Right now she has no way to contact readers until her computer comes back repaired.

Please bear with us, and as soon as the excerpt is loaded, we'll adjust the dates so you can enter. We're sorry for the problems, and we're working to fix it!

-Michelle Willingham
Surrender to an Irish Warrior
"Pleasured by the Viking" in Delectably Undone - April 2011
Claimed by the Highland Warrior May 2011

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Harlequin Historcal Advent Day 18 -- Georgina Devon

It's Georgina Devon's turn today.  read the excerpt from TheROgue's Seduction, answer the simple question and enter to win a signed copy plus a box of choclates. All entries go forward to the grand prize of the kindle 3 g on 23rd December.

NB Georgina unfortunately had HUGE computer problems on the 18th, she is sorry for this and her dates for the contest will be adjusted accordingly. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Day 17 -- Michelle Willingham

It's Michelle Willingham's day. and she has 3 prizes to giveaway, plus everyone who enters is eligible for the grand prize draw. So go to her website, read the excerpt and tell her which abbey Tahern mentions. One of the prizes ($25 fgift certificate) is for people who like her fanpage on Facebook...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Calendar Day 16 -- Amanda McCabe

Day 16 and it is a chance to win a cozy winter basket from Amanda McCabe -- hot cocoa, biscuits and a signed book. You need to go to her blog and say which of her covers you like best. See  for details.
Every entry goes into the kindle 3-g draw.

Harlequin Historical Holiday Contest Daily Winners Update

Harlequin Holiday Contest

Here are the Daily Winners of the Harlequin Historical Holiday contest thus far!

Dec 1 Jean P from Ohio
Dec 2 Beverly from Solihull
Dec 3 Sara M
Dec 4 (to be announced Dec 23)
Dec 5 Carlie A, Virginia C and Hilly
Dec 6 (to be announced Dec 23)
Dec 7 (to be announced Dec 23)
Dec 8
Dec 9 Emma from Pennsylvania
Dec 10 Katherine from Ontario
Dec 11 Kohsamui
Dec 12 Linda from Missouri
Dec 13 Peter from Maryland
Dec 14 Deb H, May C
Dec 15 Alisha W

Check back here for updates.
And don't forget to keep entering the contest!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Jane Austen Christmas

Tomorrow, December 16, is Jane Austen’s birthday, the 235th anniversary of her birth. Poor Jane. Poor anyone who has a birthday near Christmas, because often their birthday celebrations are slighted in the hectic days around the holiday.

Birthday and Christmas celebrations were not as grand as they are today. What, then, would Jane Austen have been anticipating at Christmas?

Would she be decorating a Christmas tree? Probably not. Queen Charlotte, who was German, was known to have Christmas trees, but it was not yet a common custom. Jane and her family would probably have decorated the parsonage with holly and ivy and evergreens of fir and pine. They might have hung mistletoe. In Jane Austen’s time there was a tradition of a gentleman and lady kissing beneath mistletoe, as there is today, but with each kiss the gentleman plucked a berry. When the berries were gone, so were the kisses. I’d like to think Jane had her share of kisses.

Jane might have helped make the Christmas pudding. The tradition was to make the pudding on “Stir Up Sunday,” the Sunday before Advent and to serve it on Christmas day. The pudding was a porridge of sugar, raisins, currants, prunes, and wine that was “stirred up” and boiled together in a pudding cloth.

Christmas was mainly a religious holiday during Jane Austen’s time. As the daughter of clergyman, certainly Jane and the rest of the family would have attended church and Reverend Austen would have preached a sermon and would have given the sacrament.

Gifts were exchanged at Christmas. In Jane Austen’s Christmas by Maria Hubert (1996), Hubert includes a diary kept by Jane’s niece and listing her Christmas gifts. In 1813, a tambourine, a compass case, a straw box, a parallel ruler. In 1816, a gold chain, a coral broach, a nitting (sic) box, a china candlestick, a silk box.

The Austens would probably have hosted or been invited to a Christmas dinner with a goose or turkey as the main course. Jane Austen’s Christmas mentions a Christmas dinner having minced pie and “a dish made of wheat cakes boiled in milk with rich spices.”

Games would have been played, perhaps some with these strange names: Hoodman Blind, shoe the wild mare, hot cockles, steal the white loaf. Maybe some theatricals would have been performed and dances danced.

Do you have a favorite Christmas or holiday tradition? How about a favorite food? If you lived in Jane Austen’s time what would you like to do most at Christmas time? And if you have a birthday around this time, do you get short-changed?

Don’t forget! We’re still doing the Harlequin Historical Holiday Contest. Today is Deborah Hale's day. Keep entering every day for daily prizes and the chance to with the grand prize of a Kindle.
Blogging at

Harlequin Historical Advent Day 15 --Deborah Hale

It is Deborah Hale's turn today. She wants to know what is the name of one of the heroes in her upcoming Gentlemen of Fortune trilogy. Deb is giving a special box of goodies to the lucky winner and all entries are put in for the Grand prize draw on 23 Dec of the kindle 3g.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Harlequin Historical Holiday Contest Daily Winners Update

Harlequin Holiday Contest

Here are the Daily Winners of the Harlequin Historical Holiday contest thus far!

Dec 1 Jean P from Ohio
Dec 2 Beverly from Solihull
Dec 3 Sara M
Dec 4 (to be announced Dec 23)
Dec 5 Carlie A, Virginia C and Hilly
Dec 6 (to be announced Dec 23)
Dec 7 (to be announced Dec 23)
Dec 8
Dec 9 Emma from Pennsylvania
Dec 10 Katherine from Ontario
Dec 11 Kohsamui
Dec 12 Linda from Missouri

Check back here for updates.
And don't forget to keep entering the contest!

Harlequin Historical Advent Day 14

Medieval Romance author Carol Townend's turn today. She wants you to answer 2 questions about her latest release (link to the excerpt is provided) and one queston about the book you'd like if you won. She is giving away 2 books ( Her Banished Lord plus a signed copy of another of her Wessex Weddings) to 2 people who leave a comment.  Everyone who leaves a comment  is also put in for the grand prize of a kindle 3-g.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Day 13 Cheryl St John

Western author Cheryl St John is next up. Go to her website, find the ornament and tell her its shape to be entered for her draw and for the grand prize of the kindle 3-g. Here is what she is giving away:
* a lovely little book of recipes for scones, muffins and tea

*  favorite scone recipes on handwritten cards

* a vintage cup and sauce from her collection

* a hard-to find copy of Joe's Wife

* autographed copies of Sweet Annie and two of her Christmas anthologies

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Halrequin Historical Authors Avdavent Day 12 Blythe Gifford

Today is Scottish Romance Author Blythe Gifford's turn.  She has two simple tasks (and two chances to win!) so that people can win a lovely Christmas ornament. Remember everyone who enters is automatically entered into the grand prize draw.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Day 11 --Emily May

Halfway through the authors and it's New Zealand based Regency author Emily May's turn. Visit Emily's special page, answer one of two questions  and be in the running for New Zealand chocolate plus books. She also has a special prize for anyone who likes her Facebook fan page. All entries go forward to the grand prize draw of the kindle 3 g.

Harlequin Historical Holiday Contest Daily Winner Update

Harlequin Holiday Contest

Here are the Daily Winners of the Harlequin Historical Holiday contest thus far!

Dec 1 Jean P from Ohio
Dec 2 Beverly from Solihull
Dec 3 Sara M
Dec 4 (to be announced Dec 23)
Dec 5 Carlie A, Virginia C and Hilly
Dec 6 (to be announced Dec 23)
Dec 7 (to be announced Dec 23)
Dec 8
Dec 9 Emma from Pennsylvania
Dec 10 Katherine from Ontario

Check back here for updates.
And don't forget to keep entering the contest!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Day 10 --Joanne Rock

Historical (and Blaze) author Joanne Rock offers a special gift package including a signed copy of her latest. see for details. Remember everyone who enters automatically goes in for the grand prize of a kindle 3 g.

Harlequin Historical Holiday Contest Daily Winners

Harlequin Holiday Contest

Here are the Daily Winners of the Harlequin Historical Holiday contest thus far!

Dec 1 Jean P from Ohio
Dec 2 Beverly from Solihull
Dec 3 Sara M
Dec 4
Dec 5 Carlie A, Virginia C and Hilly
Dec 6
Dec 7
Dec 8
Dec 9 Emma from Pennsylvania

Check back here for updates.
And don't forget to keep entering the contest!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Day 9 --Diane Gaston

Rita winner Diane Gaston offers a $10 Amazon gift certificate and a signed copy of her latest. Visit  and answer the question on the contest page. Everyone who enters will be put in for the Kindle 3 g giveaway. Void where prohibited.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Day 8 -- Terri Brisbin

Medieval Scottish Author Terri Brisbin's turn today 8 December. See the contest page on  and she is giving away a $25 Visa gift card. All you have to do is answer her question.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Day 7 Barbara Monajem

Today is Undone Author Barbara Monajem's turn. Answer the question at the end of her EPIC finalist Notorious Eliza excerpt to enter. Her prize is $20 gift certificate from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble plus you are automatically entered for the grand prize -- Kindle 3 G

Monday, December 06, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Day 5

Today is Deb Marlowe's turn. and she says:
Just read the excerpt from How to Marry a Rake and answer a simple question: What two things are Stephen and Mae working together to find? Submit the correct answer to Deb and  you'll be entered to win a $10 dollar gift certificate to Barnes and Noble plus an autographed copy of The Diamonds of Welbourn Manor, the anthology where we first meet Stephen and Mae!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Harlequin HIstorical Advent Day 5 --Elizabeth Rolls

Day 5 is award winning Regency author Elizabeth Rolls And it is basically a scavenger hunt for a photo of the latest addition to the family. You need to read the instructions. The prize is a signed copy of her latest and everyone who enters gets put into the grand prize draw.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Day 4 -- Jeannie Lin

Award winning  author of Asian set historicals Jeannie Lin is up today . Visit her website and find the heart shaped ornament. Click on the ornament to enter the giveaway for an Asian themed box of goodies as well as for the grand prize of a kindle.  Instructions are on her website.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Day 3 -- Charlene Sands

Today is the very lovely Western Historical (and Desire) author Charlene Sands's  turn. Visit her blog and decide which of the pictures is the one she cast as her hero. She's giving away a $15 gift certificate for Amazon. Remember every entry goes into the Grand Prize Draw for a Kindle 3G

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Calendar -- Day 2 Annie Burrows.

It is Annie Burrows's turn today. Visit her website, find the hidden ornament and email her with its location. Her prize is a signed copy of A Countess by Christmas. Remember everyone who enters is automatically put in the drawing for the grandprize of a Kindle 3 G.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Harlequin Historical Advent Calendar --Day 1

First Up Lynna Banning.  Visit her website, email her with the answer to her simple question (who is the hero of Lady Lavender)  for  an opportunity to win 2 autograph books and chocolate. Must be today 1 December. All correct entries automatically put into grand prize draw for the Kindle 3-g. One entry per person

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Medieval Romance Giveaway at Goodreads!

To enter, please click on the link below:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Her Banished Lord  (Mass Market Paperback) by Carol Townend

Her Banished Lord

by Carol Townend

Giveaway ends December 11, 2010.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Harlequin Historical Advent Calendar

Announcing the Harlequin Historical Author Advent Calendar with individual giveways each day and on one grand prize winner of a Kindle 3G

For official rules, terms and conditions, click here.

List of dates and places of individual contests:

Lynna Banning December 1
Annie Burrows December 2
Charlene Sands December 3
Jeannie Lin December 4
Elizabeth Rolls December 5
Deb Marlowe December 6
Barbara Monajem December 7
Terri Brisbin December 8
Diane Gaston December 9
Joanne Rock December 10
Emily May December 11
Blythe Gifford December 12
Cheryl St.John December 13
Carol Townend December 14
Deborah Hale December 15
Amanda McCabe December 16
Michelle Willingham December 17
Georgina Devon December 18
Julia Justiss December 19
Michelle Styles December 20
Ann Lethbridge December 21
Denise Lynn December 22

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

British Soldiers of the Napoleonic War

In our Regency-set Harlequin Historicals the heroes often are soldiers or have been soldiers fighting in the Napoleonic War. In my Three Soldiers Series (Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady, Dec 2009; Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Mistress, Sept 2010; Gabriel's story, TBA) the Napoleonic battles of Badajoz and Waterloo figure prominently in the first part of each book.

I thought that readers might wonder about some elements of being a soldier in the British Army during this time and about why they fought war the way they did.

1. Why did they fight in such fancy uniforms?
Why the big hats and bright colors? Why the fancy stuff on uniforms, like epaulettes on the shoulders?

The big hats and epaulettes were designed to make the soldiers look taller, broader-shouldered, in other words, more formidable to the enemy. Cavalry on both sides had perhaps the fanciest uniforms, bright helmets with huge horsehair plumes, for example, making them look even more frightening when they charge the enemy.

Colors of uniforms helped the soldier identify who were his comrades and who were the enemy. During a battle, smoke from musket fire and cannon made it difficult to see. The easier it was to recognize your fellow soldiers, the better.

2. Why did the British all stand in a line to fire? Didn't this make it easier for the enemy to attack them?
In this time period state of the art warfare meant that huge numbers of soldiers faced each other on an open battlefield. Artillary (cannon) could be positioned to fire upon the enemy in such a setting, but the sheer numbers of soldiers were the trick to winning a battle.

The formation of a line was actually an effective and deadly tactic. The soldier's musket was not a very accurate firearm. The more accurate firearm was the rifle. But if the soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder and all fired at the same time, the enemy facing them would be rained with musket balls. It did not matter that the soldier could not aim at one specific target; the rain of fire would mow down great numbers of advancing enemy.

The musket only fired one shot and reloading was more complicated than today's firearms, so the lines were actually three or four soldiers deep. The front line advanced and fired, then immediately dropped down to reload, while the line behind them stepped forward and fired.

In this manner, the enemy faced an almost constant barrage of musket fire. Because so many muskets were fired at once, the chances of them hitting some target was maximized and more of the enemy would be hit.

3. What's a square and why would soldiers form into a square?
The square is a formation to defend against against a cavalry charge. The cavalry's biggest weapon is the horse. The cavalryman carries a sword, but at best would have only one shot in one pistol. To use his sword, the horse must carry him close to the enemy. If the enemy forms into a square, the cavalry horses will not get close enough for the sword to be used.

The square is just like it sounds. The British soldiers position themselves into a square and stand 4 soldiers deep. The first line of soldiers put their bayonets on their muskets and point the bayonets outward. The second line fires their muskets at the advancing cavalry, then drop back to reload and the men behind them step forward to fire. If any side of the square is opened, by artillary fire or by soldiers wounded by the advancing cavalry, the remaining soldiers quickly close the gap. Cannons and artillary men might be pulled inside the square so they can't be disabled by the cavalry. Officers on horseback can see better what is happening and can quickly shout orders to the men.

4. If rifles were more accurate, why didn't they use rifles?
They did use rifles. Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe, played so well on TV by Sean Bean, was a riflemen. Several riflemen were attached to a company. Their job was to go in advance of the line of soldiers and to fire at specific targets. They often targeted the enemy officers or the artillary men who were manning the cannon. Because rifles could be aimed at specific targets, riflemen could be very effective at rendering the enemy less efficient in their attack.

Here's the Trailer for the 1970 movie Waterloo. The battle scenes show, I think, a pretty accurate view of what battle would have been like:

Do you have any other questions about warfare during the Napoleonic War? I'm not an expert, but I'll try to answer.
Do you like books that include the war or do you prefer not to have the details of the battles in your romances? What do you think of soldier heroes in Regency-set romances?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gorgeous Feb. Cover for Undone! Anthology

Thought I'd share the sexy cover for the Undone! Anthology in Feb. and give everyone a little something to look forward too after the holidays. Too bad I hear it won't be out in North America--thank goodness for Amazon so we just order it!


His Stand In Bride by Michelle Styles -- free Online weekly serial

One of the great things about eharlequin is that they  do offer free online reads. In the past, Deb Hale, Diane Gaston, Michelle Willingham and a host of other authors have provided free online reads. Now it is my turn and I am very excited.
His Stand In Bride runs from 15 Nov to 3 Jan with a chapter released each week. Then it will remain in the eharlequin library of reads.
You can read the first chapter here.

Tyne Valley, 1813
When her sister eloped with someone other than her betrothed, Lady Anne Dunstan knew two things. One, that she completely supported her sister's making her own choice about who she would marry. And two, that Anne—the responsible one—would have to clean up the mess
What she didn't know was how her sister's intended, Jason Martell, would take the news. Or how Anne would respond to the force of his presence, his rugged good looks, his less-than-gentlemanly advances.
Or to his proposal of marriage.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Goodreads Giveaway of A Question of Impropriety by Michelle Styles

Michelle Styles is doing a Goodreads giveaway of December HH Direct Release -- A Question of Impropriety.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Question of Impropriety (Mass Market Paperback) by Michelle Styles

A Question of Impropriety

by Michelle Styles

Giveaway ends November 18, 2010.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Monday, November 08, 2010

Regency Christmas Proposals

I hope everyone had a great Halloween (and didn't eat too much candy, as I did!). I can't believe it's now November, and Christmas is right around the corner. I'm already getting into the holiday mood, since I actually have a Christmas-themed release out this month, the anthology Regency Christmas Proposals!

I had so much fun working on the Diamonds of Welbourne Manor anthology with Diane and our friend Deb Marlowe that I loved getting to re-visit the characters for this story. I had never really intended for Mary Bassington to have her own tale, but after I met her I became very curious. Why was she so sad? What was going on between her and Dominick? Snowbound and Seduced was my chance to find out and give them their very own holiday HEA (and also catch up with some of the Welbourne crowd!).

I also love snowbound stories, am totally addicted to them, so it was easy to devise a plot for Mary and Dominick that would get them together again and make them talk to each other finally (among other activities...). They have to join forces to set out in nasty winter weather in order to track down her naughty younger sister--who has eloped with Dominick's cousin! On the way they find out the truth about the past, and discover that their love has never died. And they have a lovely, holly-berry Christmas too! (Regency Christmas Proposals also includes stories by Carole Mortimer and Gayle Wilson, so it's a great holiday treat!

Many of the traditions we consider "Christmas" actually began in the Victorian period (Regency Christmases, much like Regency weddings, were generally quieter, family affairs). People had always sent greetings and letters at Christmas-time, but our own practice of sending colorful, printed Christmas cards started in the 1840s (with their popularity booming with the advent of the penny post, which made it cheaper and easier to send cards!). It's said that a man named Henry Cole hired artist John Calcott to design a card for him and had 1000 printed up to send. The first company to make them on a massive scale was Charles Goodall & Sons of London in 1862.

Two London-based sweetmakers claimed the invention of the Christmas cracker (which appeared in "The Illustrated London News" in 1847). Based on a French bon-bon (a sweet in a twist of colored paper) the cracker adds paper hats and small trinkets as well as the loud "crack" when it's pulled apart. The Christmas tree was said to have come to England with Prince Albert (after his first child, Princess Vicky, was born, he wrote to his brother how much he looked forward to the next Christmas when "little daughter" could gambol around the tree!), and was added to the traditional decorations of holly and evergreen tied with bows. Our image of Santa Claus (Father Christmas) really took shape in this period, too.

What are YOUR favorite Christmas traditions? Do you like reading holiday stories?

(And I am giving away a signed copy of Regency Christmas Proposals on my own blog later today! Visit me at for a chance to win)

Amanda McCabe

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Regency Words

When I started reading Regency Historicals one of the things I most loved was the language, so when I began writing them, I wanted to use that language effectively and authentically.

But mostly I loved the idea of playing with "Regency" words.

Here is a list of ten of my favorite Regency words and phrases with their definitions:
1. That is the outside of enough
I love this phrase. It is so expressive. In our modern day world we would say, "That's too much," but it doesn't quite convey the same exasperation.
2. Roundaboutation.
Another very descriptive word, meaning just what it says--talking around a subject, not getting to the point.
3. Cut line.
My hero's use this line all the time. It means "Come to the point" I know its origins are nautical, but I searched and searched and could not find a reference for it (but I still like it!).
4. Faradiddle.
I just love how this sounds on the tongue. It means a nonsense, a falsehood or lie.
5. Have your wits gone begging?
If you google this phrase, you get quotes from Georgette Heyer's books. It means, "What are you thinking?" or "Are you out of your mind?"
6. Bacon-brained.
While I'm one the subject of brains and wits. This one means foolish or stupid, but is much more fun to use.

7. Attack of the blue-devils.
I love this one. It means depression, but, again, it conveys the meaning in such a descriptive way.

8. Touched in the upper works or Queer in the attic.
Both of these mean crazy or insane.

9. Disguised.
I always use this as a "trifle disguised." It means slightly drunk.

10. Pockets to let.
Love this one, too. It means having no money. We'd say "He's broke."
What Regency words or phrases do you love (or hate)? Do you have any that you are puzzled by? I'll try to explain them if I can.

Here are some Regency Word sites:

You can still get my September book, Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Mistress at online stores and as an ebook. It was recently reviewed in the Chicago Tribune and on Long and Short Reviews. Visit me on Mondays at Risky Regencies and Thursdays at Diane's Blog. I'll be back here the third Wednesday in November. See you then!

(You'll also see this blog on eHarlequin Harlequin Historical Authors Blog)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Silk and Scandal continues...

It's finally my turn. After standing on the sidelines, cheering on the other "Continuistas", it's my book in the "Silk and Scandal" series out on the shelves.
It's been a unique experience for me. Normally, writing a book is a very solitary occupation, but taking part in the creation of this continuity series has been a team event - right from the moment the editors introduced us to each other, and we started brainstorming.
With three authors living in the States, and three in the UK, we did think it would be a good idea to get together in a sort of training camp, like most participants in team events do (Antigua was our favoured destination!). But in the end, we had to content ourselves with a Yahoo group, and go through our "warming up" period in cyberspace.
Once we got our green light from editorial, and began writing, we had to constantly check and double check with each other, to make sure nobody went haring off in the wrong direction. Normally, we wouldn't have to consider how what we write might impinge on another writer's creation, but during this project we all had to watch that a careless phrase or inaccurate description did not cause any other team member to trip up.
Though this might sound proscriptive, actually, this stage of the process was a real blast. I couldn't wait to open up my inbox each day. The other ladies gave encouragement, advice, brilliant ideas as to how to solve plot points, and most of all, displayed a sense of humour that kept us all going as we faced every new hurdle.
We chatted constantly about the characters we were creating, their backgrounds, settings - well, absolutely everything - so that by the time we had all finished, I felt as though I had not just written one book, but taken part in the creation of all eight in the series.
But now the time for public scrutiny of my own story has come, and I feel a bit like a runner in a relay race, waiting to grab the baton, and run my section of the race. So far, the earlier contributors to the series have done a fantastic job of giving clues, introducing key characters, and furthering the overarching story with each successive episode.
To continue the relay race metaphor - Gayle Wilson has handed over to me with great aplomb, hinting at an English half sister for the gypsy leader, Stephano...
That English half sister turns out to be Imogen Hebden, the heroine of my own story. Her father was Kit Hebden, whose murder in 1794 ripped apart the three families whose stories unfold throughout the "Silk and Scandal" series.
Not only do I want to run my part in the race with efficiency, I am also deperately hoping I don't fumble the baton. I want to be able to hand on the story, in good order, to Margaret McPhee, who will be telling the sixth installment of the continuity series. I know she will run her stage with grace and style - I've read her work before, and trust completely in her writing ability.
But...what will the readers make of my Imogen....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why I read Historical Romance by Michelle Styles

I will be the first to admit it. I love historical romance. It is my favourite genre and has been for a very long time. I first cut my teeth on Victoria Holt, Georgette Heyer and Barbara Michaels aka Elizabeth Peters. My earliest literary crush was on Rab from Esther Forbes Johnny Tremain. I wept buckets when he died. Sir Percy Blakeney in the Scarlet Pimpernel beat all the boys I knew hands down when I was *forced* to read him in 8th grade English. So it went. Then when I discovered Johanna Lindsey, Jennifer Blake and La Vryle Spencer, the deal was totally sealed.

I suppose it was inevitable that I became a historical novelist. I love history and want others to develop a love of history. I started off trying to write contemporary and hoped that some day I could write historical. The HMB editor I was working with suggested that I might be really good at writing ancient historical and the rest as they say is history. Thankfully the editors have agreed to indulge my love of history and let me write in different time periods.

A historical romance can be a way into history. But the primary reason I read historical is to escape into another world. They are fun page turning reads.

In a good historical read, no prior knowledge of the period is required. Just as you don’t have to know how the police run an investigation to enjoy romantic suspense or how corporate finance works to enjoy an office romance, you don’t have to know history to enjoy historical romance. Sometimes when I want to know about a new period or place, I read historical romance. Historical romance is also a broad church. Lots of periods, settings and story types. From romantic suspense to straight romance. From super sexy to sweet and every flavour in between.

As you can see from other blogs on the Harlequin Historical blog, the authors take their research very seriously. Actually for me, research is not a hard slog but the fun bit. Recently I’ve had to reread about Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act, and in pursuit of knowing more have read the earliest English travel guide to Egypt. Along the way I have also read about two bible hunting sisters from Glasgow whose adventure you couldn’t make up and how Florence Nightengale and Gustav Flaubert before they began their life’s work were both on the Nile in the winter of 1849 and how the experience shaped their lives. But the research only underpins the story. It is the growing relationship between the two main characters that drives the story. The history adds the flavouring. Of the research I do, maybe 10% gets in the book.

So what got you into reading historical? And if you haven’t tried one recently, why not?

Michelle Styles is the author of over 16 Historical Romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon Historical. Her next release in the UK will be The Viking's Captive Princess (Dec 10) and in US, A Question of Impropriety (Dec 10). She will also have an Online reading on e-harlequin starting 15 Nov. You can read more about her books on her website.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hougoumont and Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Mistress

Diane Gaston here. In Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Mistress, my September release, Captain Allan Landon rescues Marian Pallant as the Battle of Waterloo is about to commence. He takes her to Hougoumont farm for safe keeping. It is rather like taking her from the frying pan into the fire.

Hougoumont was pivotal in the battle. It was essential to Wellington that the Hougoumont farm not be taken by the French, leaving Wellington’s entire right flank unprotected. British Foot Guards, a Netherlands Nassau battalion and German soldiers defended the walled in group of farm buildings. The Waterloo battle began with an attack on Hougoumont and the fighting there lasted all day. Before the battle was over Prince Jerome, Napoleon’s brother, had sent over 15,000 troops to the attack Hougoumont. Throughout it all, the Allies held.

One of the most enjoyable parts of writing historical romance is trying to fit the real history into the story. It is fun to insert real people into the story, like Colonel MacDonnell commanding Hougoumont’s defense. Or the huge ax-wielding French soldier who is one of the few enemy to break through the gates. When Marian helps to push the gates to Hougoumont closed, she is participating in a real event. When Allan looks out from where his Royal Scots regiment is fighting and sees the Hougoumont chateau burning, the timing was as exact as I could get it.

After the battle, Wellington said, “The success of the Battle of Waterloo turned on the closing of the gates (at Hougoumont).” It was my pleasure to place my characters exactly at that important event, that pivotal place in history.

Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Mistress is available for sale, both the paperback and the ebook. It is book #2 of my Three Soldiers Series, following Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady. Next is Gabriel’s story. I’ll announce that book title and release date as soon as they are set.

I’ll be posting on this blog every third Wednesday of the month. For more from me, see my Risky Regencies blog every Monday or my Diane’s Blog every Thursday.

And now a question. Do you like to see real historical events threaded in to historical romances or are you content to have your historical built entirely on fictitious events?

*This blog also appears every third Wednesday on eHarlquin's Harlequin Historical Blog.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A fun little news article

Just wanted to share that the local paper in my neck of the woods, the Pierce County Herald, did a nice feature on me this week. I've included the link below for anyone who wants to check it out. They got most of it righ, although some of the numbers are a bit off in places (like the contract wasn't for 5 books, it was for 3 and an undone or maybe two.) But we'll live with that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A BUSMAN'S HOLIDAY - Sarah Mallory enjoys a little Regency Recreation

I spend my days writing historical romantic adventures, recreating the Georgian or Regency world with words, so when I wanted a break last weekend, what better than to indulge in a Regency Day?
Kedleston Hall is a lovely old house in Derbyshire,often used by TV and film companies for costume drama (including the recent films of Pride & Prejudice and The Duchess). They were staging a special Regency Day in the beautiful pleasure gardens, so we had a chance to enjoy some real Regency entertainments. There were the redcoats giving a display of drill and exercise, including firing their muskets and explaining how they routed the French at Waterloo), plus we could wander through their encampment and talk to the soldiers (eat your heart out, Lydia Bennett!). There was a re-enactment of the Battle of the Nile with a life-size figure of Nelson looking on while miniature English and French navies manoevred on a blue cloth.
We also listened to a hurdy-gurdy man playing popular songs of the day such as The Lass of Richmond Hill and other hits from Vauxhall pleasure gardens. As befits a successful entertainer he had a very pretty companion, an accomplished young lady who sang, played the harp and even the trumpet for the more military songs! Before the advent of radio and the i-pod this is the way most people heard and learned new songs at fairs and in the public pleasure gardens.

Then we wandered over to see Mr Punch getting the better of the dastardly Napoleon Bonaparte: it was such a treat to see a modern day audience of children enjoying Punch's antics – shouts of "wake up, Punch!" and "He's there behind you!" rang out at regular intervals. It may not be politically correct (Punch had started by burying his wife in the garden) but it was great fun.

The weather was lovely, so we could wander through the pleasure gardens and see Regency ladies and gentlemen taking refreshments in the orangery – and I think I even spotted one couple heading off for a tryst in the summer house!

This is all grist to the historical novelist's mill and even the weather was kind and a beautifully warm, sunny day showed the gardens at their best.
All novelists need inspiration, and while the Regency Day didn't fire my imagination with any plots, it did help to bring the settings alive – and showed the difficulties for ladies of trying to walk up a flight of stairs whilst carrying a fan and a reticule, holding up a parasol and lifting ones' skirts enough to clear the steps without exposing more than a glimpse of an ankle!

Great stuff! If you want to see pictures of the day, you can visit my website at