Monday, November 14, 2011

Confessions Has a Cover

Confessions From An Arranged Marriage (coming in the spring) now has a cover. I'll be posting it here soon, but in the meantime you can get a sneak over at The Ballroom Blog. I'm also looking for ideas for future stories involving some of my secondary characters. There are three lades over there, each in need of a hero.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Pair of Noble Volumes

Kate at the RWA Conference
book signing in New York.
Kate Noble is witty, talented, funny, kind, and has naturally curly hair. Because her name begins with "N", I often sit next to her at book signings and that makes me happy. She's a wonderful neighbor. She also writes wonderful books (with beautiful covers) which are definitely not the run of the mill historicals. Her settings and characters will surprise and charm you every time.

Here's the blurb for THE SUMMER OF YOU.
Lady Jane Cummings is certain that her summer is ruined when she is forced to reside at isolated Merrymere Lake with her reckless brother and ailing father. Her fast-paced London society is replaced with a small town grapevine. But one bit of gossip catches Jane’s attention – rumors that the lake’s brooding new resident is also an elusive highwayman.

Jane must face the much discussed mysterioso after he saves her brother from a pub brawl. She immediately recognizes him from London: Byrne Worth, war hero and apparent hermit – who she finds strangely charming. The two build a fast friendship, and soon nothing can keep this Lady away from Merrymere’s most wanted. Convinced of his innocence, Jane is determined to clear Byrne’s name – and maybe have a little fun this summer after all…
I loved this book. And who can resist a hero described as a "mysterioso." Did you notice the "reckless brother." Aha! A reckless brother needs a books of his own and he gets it.

Jason Cummings, Duke of Rayne is feeling the weight of his responsibilities – one of which is to get married. Being the most sought after bachelor in London can be trying, so who can blame him if he seeks refuge from the voracious hordes of young debutantes at the decidedly female-free Historical Society? Female-free, that is, until Winnifred Crane marches up to the door, demanding entrance.

Despite her prowess as a historian, Winn is denied membership to the Society. So she daringly offers an unusual bargain: if she can prove the authenticity of a certain painting, she’ll be granted recognition, fame, and respect. But to do that, she must go abroad. And to go abroad, she must have an escort, even a stubbornly unwilling one…

Jason has no desire to accompany Winn on her adventure across Europe, but even he is not immune to Winn’s passion for her profession. As the journey proves more difficult than planned, they must work together to stay one step ahead of their rivals… and the closer they get to the proof Winn seeks, the closer she and Jason become. But as their adventure turns dangerous, can Jason keep this headstrong bluestocking safe? And what will become of their growing bond when the adventure ends?
A duke and a bluestocking. Sigh.

I have signed copies of both these books to give away. I'll also throw in a signed cover flat of my next book, CONFESSIONS FROM AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE, and a selection of gorgeous bookmarks from other historical authors.

In addition to Kate's other talents, she has a brilliant name. How can you resist a historical written by someone whose name is NOBLE? What would your romance novel name be? Either make a comment here (include your email address) or use my contest entry form. If you have a preference for which book to win, let me know. I’ll select the winner at random on November 18th, no earlier than 8 am EST.

Contest ends November 18, 2011 8 am EST.  Void where prohibited. Sorry, US only, no international entries. No purchase necessary. All my contest subject to these contest rules. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Agonized Confession of Miranda Neville

I awoke in the middle of the night screaming. The Trial of Queen Caroline was in the summer! 

That seminal event of 1820 may have given some people nightmares: the peers who had to spend August listening to scurrilous testimony in the stuffy Lords chamber, instead of relaxing on their country estates. But why did I care? Why did I rush with trembling hands to my history books praying that I’d remembered the date wrong, or the date in my book was wrong, or somebody else was wrong.

The Trial of Queen Caroline by Sir George Hayter. All my characters missed it.

Alas, no. I was wrong. The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton is set in summer 1820 and a good part of the action takes place at a very grand political house party. In July/August 1820. When the entire English political establishment was stuck in London.

 How did I come to make such a mistake? I’d written the book, revised the book, gone through copy edits and galleys. And it never occurred to me. Ouch.

To be fair, national events don’t impinge on the plot. The story could equally well have been set a year or two sooner, or later. The opening bears the date 1820 because it follows on from two books in the same series, the first of which was set in 1819 for a reason I cannot now remember.

I passed from shock to resentment. Why do we have to put dates in our books anyway? Jane Austen didn’t. Georgette Heyer didn’t. Unless one includes a real event, like the Battle of Waterloo, the exact year doesn’t matter.

I was already working on the next book which has a political setting. Looking at the events of that year I came up with “the great cabinet reshuffle of 1822,” not words to thrill anyone but the most dedicated political history geek. Also, I’d invented a family (loosely based on the dukes of Portland) at the very center of English politics. So I decided to liberate myself from the day to day reality of history and select a few broad themes around which to weave my romance. I didn’t even name the family's political party, though the savvy reader will spot them for Whigs. 

In Anthony Trollope I have an illustrious example. His novels feature a couple of politicians whom contemporary readers certainly identified as Disraeli and Gladstone. No, the Duke of Omnium was never Prime Minister. Heck, Trollope even invented the entire county of Barsetshire.
I’m thinking of omitting dates from future books. Meanwhile, my mistake really irks me.

P.S. The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton was published over three months ago and not a single person has pointed out my mistake.