Archive for June, 2008

Release Dates for Pink IV and V!

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Lo, the Great Amazon hath spoken.

According to (which is usually pretty reliable when it comes to these things), the paperback version of The Seduction of the Crimson Rose will be available on January 6th, while the hardcover of The Temptation of the Night Jasmine will be released just two weeks later, on January 22nd.

So look for them both in stores (and me on tour) in January of 2009!

More updates soon….


Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Hi, all!

As part of an attempt to avoid dealing with several cranky camels in Book VI, I was rooting around in my Book V files looking for the deleted scene where Charlotte waxes nostalgic about her childhood parrot (as you can imagine, the parrot and the Dowager Duchess of Dovedale did not enjoy a harmonious relationship). Naturally, I didn’t find the parrot scene, but I did come upon another deleted snippet from The Temptation of the Night Jasmine that caught my fancy.

Often, in early chapters, I’ll catch my characters engaging in long passages of self-analysis, more fit for a psychoanalyst’s couch than for moving the plot forward. (This, of course, occurs right after they engage in gratuitous antics with unnecessary small animals.) These passages are really more for my benefit than the other characters’, so they tend to get deleted pretty quickly. Nonetheless, these bouts of introspection can be informative, and I was particularly struck by the following (deleted) exchange between Charlotte and Robert:

“You, cousin, are an Original.”

Charlotte looked tolerantly at him, as though he had just said something very silly. “Penelope is an Original. I’m simply a… sort of dilettante bluestocking.”

“A dilettante bluestocking?”

“I’m only a bluestocking when it suits me,” she explained. “I find it very hard to be serious for long periods of time; I like romantic novels; and I can’t find it in myself to eschew the comforts of pretty clothes or comfortable surroundings for a cause or an ideal.”

It’s not great dialogue, but it definitely says something about Charlotte….

Bring Out the Flying Monkeys

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Hi, all!

Sorry to have disappeared for a few days. I’ve been off in Cloud-Cuckooland with Book VI. For whatever reason, the first fews chapters of a new book are always the hardest for me, probably because I’m still getting to know the characters, their modes of speech, their motivations. At least, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Over the past few books, I’ve noticed a pattern emerging. When I get stressed out, small animals start to appear. Or sometimes not so small animals.

In the deleted versions of the early chapters of nearly all the Pink books so far lurks a secret menagerie. Book V, The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, originally had a large section about an opinionated parrot (bet you didn’t know Charlotte had a parrot as a childhood pet!). Book IV, The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, contained a deleted tussle between Lord Vaughn and a small, yippy dog. Lord Vaughn was very happy when that scene was deleted. Book III, The Deception of the Emerald Ring, involved a cow. There was also a monkey, but we don’t need to go into that. It’s all rather akin to that old joke about sitcom producers bringing on a monkey to keep a dying show alive. Fortunately, the parrot went the way of the dodo, the cow went back to the barn, and the small yippy dog retreated into my lost files folder.

I knew it was business as usual the other day when I found myself inventing a completely unnecessary comic dog in the first chapter of Pink VI. So, for your amusement, here’s the very first outtake from Pink VI:

“Think nothing of it,” said Mrs. Palmer brusquely. “I only host these little soirees because Sophie does enjoy them so.”

“Sophie?” inquired Freddy, with an experienced eye out for an attractive young daughter.

One would have thought he would have learned his lesson. On the other hand, thought Penelope philosophically, one couldn’t very well force him into marriage twice.

“Yes, Sophie,” said Mrs. Palmer, looking lovingly at the dog wedged into the crook of her arm. “Isn’t Sophronia mummy’s little darling?” she crooned to the appalling ball of fur.

Mummy’s little darling bared her teeth in response.

“Lord Frederick positively dotes on dogs,” said Penelope innocently. “Especially lapdogs.”

Freddy’s face adopted an expression remarkably similar to Sophie’s.

Mrs. Palmer hastily clamped a gloved hand over little Sophie’s ears. The glove showed signs of gnawing around the ends. “Oh, we don’t like to think of Sophie as a dog. She is part of the family.”

“Its most attractive member,” commented a cheerful voice behind them.

“Did you hear that, Sophie, darling?” crooned Mrs. Palmer. “Begum Johnson thinks you’re lovely.”

And that, I can promise you, is the very last you’re going to hear of Mrs. Palmer and her amusing little dog.

It could have been worse, I suppose. It could have been a monkey.

Weekend Reading

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Hello, my bibliophilic friends!

Since I’m rather preoccupied with Book VI right now (and for preoccupied, read mildly obsessive), I don’t have much of a reading list for this weekend, but I did happen stumble upon Julia Quinn’s new release, The Lost Duke of Wyndham, as I was grocery shopping today. Since it never does to look a gift Quinn in the mouth, swoosh it went into my grocery basket and thence homeward among the raisin bran and fat-free milk.

I’ve been having a bit of a Byron urge (the poetry rather than the man; Byron himself has never really been my type, despite all those wonderful Gothic heroes he spawned), so I’ve also squirreled away his mock-epic poem Don Juan for this weekend.

In the meantime, I’m trying to find a synonym for the subject of a human sacrifice. (Yep, being a writer means you get to dwell on all sorts of macabre things– given all the ghoulish things I’ve looked up over the last few months, if the CIA ever went through my google list, they’d think I was a crazed Regency ax murderer who likes to sing Italian arias in early nineteenth century court dress while I ritually sacrifice my victims to Kali). Votary? Sacrificiant? Victim? Sacrificee? I could have sworn there was a specific term out there….

What will you be up to this weekend?


Friday, June 6th, 2008

In other words, Pink V has a cover!

Covers are always a game of roulette– we’ve all heard the horror story about the three armed maiden on one of Christina Dodd’s early covers– but I’ve been exceptionally lucky with mine so far. No mullets, no bulging thews, no women busting out of their bodices, no extraneous limbs. In this case, I lucked out even more than usual, since the woman in the painting looks very much as I imagine Charlotte.

Of course, the disclaimer is that the cover may still be tinkered with a bit before it goes to press. That happened with Crimson Rose, where those of you who own the book may have noticed that the images on line, including the one on this website, differ slightly from the one on your bookshelf. (I probably should get around to fixing that one of these days.) But while the lettering may move around a bit, the Pink V cover should wind up looking mostly as you see it here.

Greetings from Cloud-Cuckooland

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Courtesy of my new favorite quotation, from Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night:

“[H]owever realistic the background, the novelist’s only native country is Cloud-Cuckooland, where they do but jest, poison in jest: no offense in the world.”


The comment is made in the context of apologizing for having arranged various bits of the historical record to suit the author’s fancy, but Sayers conveys a much deeper truth: no matter how precise an author may attempt to be, we are, in the end, purveyors of fiction. We deal in airy nothings made concrete by the application of a pen. Our works are, in essence, epistles from Cloud-Cuckooland.

Sayers borrows from Hamlet there with the whole “poison in jest” bit, but what it made me think of was A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream with its description of poets as those who “give to airy nothing/ a local habitation and a name.”

I’m quite happy to claim Cloud-Cuckooland as my local habitation.