Archive for July, 2013

Purple Plumeria FAQs

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

With less than a week to go until The Passion of the Purple Plumeria pops up in stores, here are some questions that have popped up in my inbox rather a lot over the past few months:

Q. Where’s the hardcover?

A. Short answer: there isn’t one. The Passion of the Purple Plumeria is being published as a trade paperback original, which means it will be available in trade paperback (the larger, snazzier kind of paperback) and e-book, but not hardcover.

Q. Will The Passion of the Purple Plumeria be available in audio?

A. Yes! I am delighted to say that there is, indeed, an audio book and that Kate Reading will be narrating. The audio book will be available for download on iTunes and Audible. (I’m told that the links will go live on release day, August 6th.)

Q. Can I buy the audio book on CD?

A. No. There will be physical CDs for libraries, but they’re not generally for sale. (Although if you prefer physical CDs, I’ve been told that it is possible to download the book from Audible or iTunes and then burn it onto CD. Not having tried it myself, I can’t vouch for that personally.)

Q. How many more Pink books will there be?

A. As of now, two more: The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, which is scheduled to be released in August 2014, and Pink XII, which doesn’t yet have a release date, but will probably be out at some point in 2015. I also have another stand alone novel (more on that soon!) coming out in summer 2014.

Are there any housekeeping questions I haven’t covered? Just post them in the Comments section below….



Only one week more…

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

… until The Passion of the Purple Plumeria!



And on Nook….

Monday, July 29th, 2013

For those of you who are Nook readers, it’s just come to my attention that Pink I, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, is also on sale for $2.99 on Nook right now!

Here’s the sale round-up:

Pink I: currently $2.99 on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.

The Orchid Affair: $2.99 today only on Kindle as the Amazon Daily Deal; $2.99 in hardcover at Barnes & Noble.

Happy reading!



PINK CARNATION on sale!

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Excitement! For the first time ever, the e-book of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation is on sale! It’s currently only $2.99 on Amazon.

If you have friends who have been wanting to try the Pink series, let them know!



The Lineage of Miss Gwen

Monday, July 29th, 2013

When I say the lineage of Miss Gwen, I don’t mean in the direct genealogical sense (although we’ll be learning a bit more about that in The Passion of the Purple Plumeria). No. I refer to her literary antecedents.

Someone asked me recently whether Miss Gwen was based on anyone I know. In the literal sense, she’s not. In the literary sense, she is. Miss Gwen was my homage to all the duennas and chaperones of popular fiction. One of the main inspirations for the character of Miss Gwen? Lucinda Throckmorton-Jones, the iron-spined chaperone of Judith McNaught’s Almost Heaven, which was my absolute favorite book for a chunk of my teen years. There’s really nothing like watching Lucinda Throckmorton-Jones in action, primly manipulating everyone around her. Occasionally with the application of a stout stick.

At least, I’d thought that Lucinda Throckmorton-Jones was the primary inspiration for Miss Gwen.

I knew there was also a fair amount of Elizabeth Peters’s Amelia Peabody in her. Whenever I thought of Miss Gwen, Amelia Peabody’s habit of referring to herself in capital letters as “ME”– as in “How dare he underestimate ME?”– came to mind. The two also share a taste for accessorized weaponry.

Another of Miss Gwen’s direct influences? Beatrice Poole, the Gothic-novel writing heroine of Amanda Quick’s With This Ring. Beatrice Poole’s horrid novels, written under the pseudonym of Amelia York, were a direct inspiration for Miss Gwen’s literary endeavors.

But it wasn’t until last week that I realized I had completely overlooked one of Miss Gwen’s most formative– and formidable– ancestresses: Elizabeth Peters’s Jacqueline Kirby.

I was re-reading the fourth in the series, Naked Once More, when the lightbulb popped up over my head. I think it may have been the moment when Jacqueline mused, “Tact was so tiring. That was why Jacqueline had given it up.” If Miss Gwen has a motto, other than “Speak loudly and carry a large parasol”, it’s probably akin to that.

But it’s not just the specific sentiment. It’s the attitude. Both ladies carry themselves with an air of unflappable self-confidence, secure in the conviction that They Know Best. And, generally, they do. Jacqueline Kirby’s chosen weapon is her oversized purse– but if she could fit a sword parasol in there, I don’t think she’d scorn to use one.

Are there other characters that strike you as kindred spirits to Miss Gwen?



ORCHID AFFAIR on sale!

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

It’s Orchid all over! I am very excited to announce that you can find The Orchid Affair on sale, for a limited time only, in both hardcover and e-book!

If your preference is paper, the hardcover of The Orchid Affair is currently $2.99 at B&N (while supplies last, as the saying goes)– reduced from $25.95.

If you like your books in “e” form, I am thrilled to announce that The Orchid Affair is tomorrow’s Kindle Daily Deal! This is the first time ever that one of my e-books has been on sale in the U.S., so I’m hoping that if this Daily Deal goes well, others will follow. Please spread the word!



Pink X: The Passion of the Purple Plumeria

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

After a long and meandering journey down Pink memory lane, we’re almost there! Just a week (and two days) until The Passion of the Purple Plumeria appears in stores….

Of course, Miss Gwen couldn’t countenance the thought of hers being the only book left out of the Pink round-up.

Who: Miss Gwendolyn Meadows and Colonel William Reid
Where: Bath
When: Spring, 1805
What: Take two missing girls, one parasol-wielding spinster turned spy, one retired colonel, add a dash of adventure and stir. When Lizzy Reid and Agnes Wooliston disappear from their Bath boarding school, Miss Gwendolyn Meadows is on the case– but is she prepared to collaborate with the irritatingly charming Colonel William Reid?
Historical Cameos: Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord (aka Talleyrand), Napoleon’s foreign minister.

As for my favorite scene… you’ll just have to wait until the book is out for that. And I can’t wait to hear yours!



Pink Carnation Recap: GARDEN INTRIGUE

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Eight down, only one more to go until we’re caught up with the series before the release of Pink X, The Passion of the Purple Plumeria!

We round off our recap marathon with Pink IX, The Garden Intrigue.

Who: Emma Morris Delagardie and Augustus Whittlesby
Where: France
When: Summer, 1804
What: When Augustus Whittlesby hears that Bonaparte’s new top secret device is to be tested over the course of a weekend house party at Malmaison, he needs a way in. But the only way in is via American socialiate, Emma Morris Delagardie—and a masque that masks more than even Augustus suspects.
Historical Cameos: Robert Livingston, Robert Fulton, lots of Bonapartes

With The Garden Intrigue, I got to bring back a number of characters from early in the series: not just assorted Bonapartes, but also a great deal of Jane, Miss Gwen, the wonderfully loathsome Georges Marston, and, of course, our hero himself, that over the top poet, Augustus Whittlesby, who has been undercover as a poet so long that he’s even started to think in rhyme. I also got to introduce my first American character: Emma Morris Delagardie, a born and bred New Yorker.

You can find a full compendium of Garden Intrigue extras– pictures of Malmaison, fun facts, descriptions of the real historical characters, images of clothing and jewelry, and other background info– via this post.

My favorite scene from The Garden Intrigue? I enjoyed watching Emma and Augustus rehearse their masque– especially when Augustus has to step in to show Emma’s cousin how it’s done. Not to mention Miss Gwen’s cameo appearance as Pirate Queen.

What’s your favorite scene from The Garden Intrigue?

And that completes our Pink Carnation recap round-up! Pink X, The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, will be here in just a week and a half. I can’t wait to share Miss Gwen’s story with you all….



Pink Carnation Recap: ORCHID AFFAIR

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Only two more recaps… and two weeks… to go until Pink X, The Passion of the Purple Plumeria!

Today, it’s Pink VIII, The Orchid Affair.

Who: Laura Grey and Andre Jaouen
Where: France
When: Winter and Spring, 1804
What: When Laura Grey goes undercover in the home of Napoleonic operative Andre Jaouen as a governess, she soon discovers there’s more to her elusive employer than meets the eye….
Historical Cameos: Joseph Fouche, the Duc de Berry, Joachim Murat

The Orchid Affair marked a number of departures for the series. After a few books that had meandered away from main action, this book returned to Paris, to the heart of the operations of the League of the Pink Carnation. My hero and heroine were both older, in their mid-thirties. And, on top of that, neither is either English or aristocratic. My heroine has spent the past sixteen years in England, but she’s really half-French, half-Italian, and has been earning her own living as a governess for some time. My hero is French, a lawyer, a disciple of the Enlightenment, and a true supporter of the original ideals of the French Revolution.

This was also the book where the cover style changed. There was a bit of a kerfuffle over that. The final cover– the one you see above– was the result of three photo shoots and multiple cover changes. (You can read the inside scoop on all that and see all the discarded covers here.)

Other fun facts: I called this my “Sound of Music meets James Bond” book, since it adhered to the two crucial rules of The Sound of Music/all governess novels everywhere, which dictate that there must be: a) a scene where the heroine takes the hero to task for his housekeeping arrangements, and (b) a scene where the governess attends a party wearing a dowdy dress and feeling awkward.

My favorite scene? Naturally, the scene where the governess takes her employer to task for his housekeeping arrangements. (Although there’s also a battle scene later on with which I had a little too much fun ….)

What was your favorite bit from The Orchid Affair?



Pink Carnation Recap: MISTLETOE

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

It’s time for the RITA-winning, root vegetable-starring, Christmas pudding-centric Mischief of the Mistletoe!

Who: Arabella Dempsey and Turnip Fitzhugh
Where: England
When: Christmas, 1803
What: When a mysterious Christmas pudding with a message shows up at an all girls’ school in Bath, neither Arabella nor Turnip have any idea that it will lead them on the path to adventure—and romance.
Historical Cameos: Jane Austen

Honestly, I’m never sure where to place this book. In my files, it’s the only Pink book to be listed without a number. It’s simply Pink Christmas.

In terms of publication, this should be Pink VII, since it came out in between The Betrayal of the Blood Lily (Pink VI) and The Orchid Affair (Pink VIII).

On the other hand, chronologically, Mistletoe fits in between The Seduction of the Crimson Rose and The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, so, for those who are reading the series from scratch, I generally recommend reading this between Crimson Rose and Night Jasmine.

It’s also the only Pink book that doesn’t include the modern Colin and Eloise frame story, which means that, for anyone wanting to read one of the Pinks as a one off, this one works better than any of the others as a stand alone.

In other words, rather like Turnip, The Mischief of the Mistletoe fits in everywhere and nowhere.

Fun facts about The Mischief of the Mistletoe:

— Like Crimson Rose, this was an accidental book. In the spring of 2009, I’d started writing The Orchid Affair— but I was feeling emotionally burned out after Blood Lily, which had been much darker than the earlier books. Orchid Affair was also shaping up to be a darker book. I needed something light and fun as a sort of sorbet between the two more intense installments. It was while I was giving a talk to a writers’ group in New York, talking about crafting a series arc, that it hit me: I needed to write Turnip’s book before I could move on to Orchid Affair.

— Turnip’s book was always going to be set in Bath, but when I first stumbled home from that writers’ group and started scribbling plot ideas, the original plan was to set it in June, around a smuggling ring based out of a tailor shop. But there was just something about Turnip and Christmas that went together like holly and ivy….

— The ending of The Mischief of the Mistletoe and the beginning of The Temptation of the Night Jasmine overlap. It’s the same house party seen from different viewpoints. So, if you read Night Jasmine and were wondering why Turnip was trying to chop down a tree with the wrong side of an ax… now you know.

— There are no love scenes in Mistletoe (making it acceptably PG for those who don’t approve of that sort of thing), but there’s an extra bonus add on chapter, Away in a Manger: A Very Turnip Wedding Night. For this, you have to thank Sarah of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. At RWA’s annual conference, when Mischief of the Mistletoe won the RITA for Best Regency, she made a bet with me: if her readers could come up with a suitable illustration, I had to write Turnip’s wedding night. You can find the result of both over on the Diversions page….

My favorite scene? The failed Christmas pageant at Miss Climpson’s Select Seminary. I had far too much fun writing that scene.

What’s your favorite scene from The Mischief of the Mistletoe?