Weekly Reading Round-Up
January 23rd, 2015

Since I’m judging for a contest, most of this week’s reading falls into the “classified” category.

But I can tell you that I finally read Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book, about a grad student thrown back into the (fourteenth century) past and an epidemic in the present. So compelling but so very, very emotionally draining.

Right now, I’m just starting on Laura Resnick’s Disappearing Nightly, a gift from my college roommate, who informed me that it was like vintage Elizabeth Peters, but with magic (and, yes, yes it is, and just what I needed). I also have Jennifer Robson’s new historical novel, After the War Is Over, in the queue.

What have you been reading this week?

 

Weekly Reading Round-Up
January 16th, 2015

I’ve finished off my Kestrel-a-thon with Whom the Gods Love and The Devil in Music (so brilliantly done!), and now I’m finally starting a book I’ve been meaning to read for ages: Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book, about a grad student dropped back in time to the fourteenth century. (Every historian’s dream, right?)

What have you been reading this week?

 

A Decade of Pink!
January 14th, 2015

This February marks ten years since the first Pink Carnation book, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, came into the world.

Pink 1 cover Pink I ARC Pink I Mass Market

How did that happen?!?!

That seems to call for some sort of celebration, doesn’t it? I hearby officially declare February Pink anniversary month here on the website. I’ll have some of the Pink Carnation comics that Joanne Renaud drew for the fifth anniversary of Pink up for grabs, and, of course, books, books, books. There are a shocking number of Pink books in my closet, in any number of editions and languages, and it only seems right that some of them find a way from my closet to yours.

What else would you like to see here on the site for Pink Carnation Anniversary Month?

Also, if anyone feels like contributing a guest post, just let me know!

 

Weekly Reading Round-Up
January 9th, 2015

From Georgette Heyer, it was an easy hop to another set of old favorites: Kate Ross’s Julian Kestrel mysteries, Cut to the Quick and A Broken Vessel. These Regency-set mysteries are pitch-perfect when it comes to both setting and character and it makes me terribly sad to know that there will never be more than four. No one writes Regency mystery quite like Kate Ross….

What have you been reading this week?

p.s. I nearly forgot to mention: it’s Mischief of the Mistletoe month on The Bubblebath Reader! Want to chat about Turnip, Arabella, and the myriad uses of Christmas pudding? Just pop over there to join the discussion….

 

Hello, Connecticut and New Jersey!
January 7th, 2015

Are you in the Tri-State Area? Over the next month, I’ll be doing one event in Connecticut and one in New Jersey, both with the lovely Sarah MacLean and Jennifer Robson.

Here are the details:

What: Panel and signing with Sarah MacLean and Jennifer Robson!

When: Saturday, January 31, 5:00
Where: RJ Julia, 768 Boston Post Rd, Madison CT.

When: Wednesday, February 4, 7:00
Where: Barnes & Noble, Brunswick Square Mall, 753 New Jersey 18 #318

Hope to see you there!

sarah cover manzanilla Robson That Summer (3)

 

More fun with foreign editions!
January 6th, 2015

That Summer comes out in Germany under the title Der gestohlene Sommer on March 27th (the day before my birthday!)

What do you think of the cover?

That Summer Germany

It goes rather nicely with the German cover for The Ashford Affair, no?

Ashford Germany

We’ll see That Summer here in the U.S. (and Canada) in paperback on May 19, rapidly followed by the hardcover of Stand Alone #3, The Other Daughter, on June 2.

That Summer Paperback The Other Daughter

 

Weekly Reading Round-Up
January 2nd, 2015

Happy New Year, all!

As I prepare to plunge into Pink XII, it seemed eminently appropriate to round out the old year and ring in the new with Georgette Heyer. I re-read two old favorites: The Talisman Ring and The Nonesuch, both of which have quite sensible heroines and some excellent comic side characters.

What were your last books of the old year?

 

Teaser Tuesday: From the Archives
December 30th, 2014

As I was cleaning up my Documents cache recently, I came upon a file intriguingly labeled “Eloise for Later Pink”.

I do things like that. Every now and then, a bit of dialogue or an idea for a future book will grip me, and I’ll have to scribble it down before I lose it. And then I stick it in a file and forget about it. In this case, I’d clearly started writing the first Eloise and Colin chapter for a later Pink book. But which one?

The fragment is dated (in Eloise and Colin time) February 2004, which is around the same time as the action in The Betrayal of the Blood Lily. So this might– just might– have been an original opening to Blood Lily, put aside and then forgotten by the time I actually got around to writing the book. Or it might have been intended as a frame to something else, like an expanded version of Bunny & Biscuits: A Very Dorrington Valentine’s Day. I’m not sure. (What I do know is that it can’t be the lost frame to The Mischief of the Mistletoe, since that was set in New York at Christmas.)

For your amusement, here’s the lost opening to an unspecified Pink book….

Prologue

February, 2004

“Maybe I should add a serial killer,” said Colin.

I looked up from the shopping list I was making for our very first couples’ cocktail party. “I was thinking more like brie,” I said. “Although it probably has the same effect on you in the long run.”

“No, for the book. It’s just missing… something.”

I could have told him what that something was, but he was my boyfriend, and I was rather embarrassingly fond of him (we weren’t at the stage where I could say “love” yet), so I didn’t say it. What he was lacking was a plot. Oh, a lot of stuff happened. There were villains diving for cover right and left and high speed chases and powerboats and machine guns and glamorous Middle Eastern women who might or might not be double agents, but he was two hundred pages in, and none of these things ever seemed to go anywhere. Despite the speed at which they were moving. Colin’s characters seemed to think it a matter of honor never to move at less than one hundred and twenty kilometers an hour. I didn’t even like to think what that translated into in miles.

And now I’m off to have some brie and get back to work on Pink XII… our final installment in the Pink series!

 

Ask the Author Day!
December 29th, 2014

It’s Ask the Author Day over on the Bubblebath Reader as we wrap up our discussion of The Seduction of the Crimson Rose!

Do you have burning questions about Mary, Vaughn, and their assorted hangers-on? Just pop by the the Bubblebath Reader and post your question there.

Happy holidays, all!

 

Pink Carnation Cookery: Holiday Cookies
December 18th, 2014

It’s Pink Carnation cookery time! In honor of the holidays and The Mischief of the Mistletoe, Christine has whipped up something rather more edible than Miss Climpson’s mince pies. (Don’t get Sally started on those.)

Instead, we’ve got… holiday cookies!

And now over to Christine for a cookie recipe to put us all in a festive mood:

Mistletoe_cvrThe Christmas holidays play a big part in both The Temptation of the Night Jasmine and The Mischief of the Mistletoe. I had every intention of making a Christmas pudding for this entry, but the recipes were… well… gross. Suet and sugar just doesn’t work for me. So I looked for inspiration elsewhere. Then it hit me while watching Holiday Baking Championship on the Food Network (is it just me or is the Food Network all competitions these days?). On the first episode, the contestants made cookies and some of them were required to make spritz cookies. All of a sudden, I HAD to have a cookie press. My best friend, being the wonderful person she is, sent me a cookie press as an early Christmas present.

The recipe I used (with one minor adjustment) is the one that came with the cookie press’s instruction booklet from Oxo.

Ingredients:
– 3 sticks of butter, room temperature
– 1 cup of sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon of salt
– 2 large eggs, room temperature
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used almond extract, and other options include lemon extract, orange zest, etc.)
– 4 cups of all purpose flour
– decorating sugar and sprinkles

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cream together butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
3. Add extract and eggs, one at a time, continuously beating.
4. Gradually add flour, beating until well incorporated.
5. Using cookie press to place cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until cookies are golden brown around the edges. Rotate the sheet halfway through baking time.

The recipe yields about 12 dozen small cookies, and I baked for about 9 minutes. If you’ve never used a cookie press (this was my first time), keep pumping until you feel resistance for each cookie. I also used an assortment of sprinkles and sugar that I got in a mixed pack from Target. I think it’s been well documented in this year-long journey through baked goods that decorating stuff isn’t my strong suit, but the cookie press made some adorable little cookies.

IMG_1071

Our Pink Recipes have almost come to an end. The only one left is The Lure of the Moonflower, to come next month. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the recipes so far, and happy holidays to all!

Thank you so much, Christine! Those are so dainty and delicious-looking. I’ve enjoyed both the recipes and the commentary, and I’m so looking forward to seeing what you whip up for The Lure of the Moonflower.

Every December, my little sister and I make the gingerbread cookies off the back of the Grandma’s molasses bottle (which appears to no longer be on the back of the molasses bottle) and sugar cookies, with varying recipes, since I’m still looking for a recipe I really like. Last year, Tasha Alexander, baker extraordinaire (as well as amazing writer) shared her sugar cookie recipe with me, and this year I’ll be trying Betty’s.

Do you all have any holiday cookie favorites?

Happy holidays, all!