Archive for the ‘Diversions’ Category

New On the Website: Lost Chapters

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Now up on in a permanent place on the Diversions Page, from now unto the next time my website crashes, you can find two chapters that were excised by my editor: the “lost” Chapter 29 of The Ashford Affair, in which All Was Explained, and the discarded Epilogue of That Summer (in which some things were explained, but not all).

Ashford Paperback That Summer discount edition

Warning! Both of these extras contain major spoilers, so don’t click unless you’ve already read the books. Or are one of those people who likes reading books backwards.

Happy reading!

Is there anything else I should be adding to the website? Let me know….



Top Five Heyers

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

The other day, when I posted about my recent Heyer-a-thon, a funny thing happened in the Comments section: an impromptu discussion of Top Five Heyer novels.

Not four shall you count, not six, but five. (Sorry, Monty Python.) Why five? Perhaps because it’s so impossible to pick just one Heyer. Or, for that matter, three or four. Even picking five is tough– but upping it to ten feels like cheating.

So I thought I’d give it a go. Here, in no particular order, are my top five Heyers:

Devil’s Cub. Georgian, rather than Regency, this book captures the elegance and danger of an era when rakes wore ruffles and thought nothing of running a man through in the road. Vidal, the devil’s cub of the title, is a real rake, not a cutesy imitation one: mad, bad, and genuinely dangerous to know. Fortunately, the heroine, Mary Challoner, a woman of spirit and principle, is more than a match for him and refuses to give him any quarter– until he deserves it. (Side note: this book was the direct inspiration for the third in my Pink Carnation series, The Deception of the Emerald Ring, with its elopement gone wrong.)

The Nonesuch. This book is the archetypal Regency romance, with its country community that can’t help but make you think of the world of Pride and Prejudice, a gentlewoman turned governess for heroine, and a top of the trees (but not toplofty) hero who turns the community upside down by dint of his appearance. (There’s even a secondary romance a la Bingley and Jane.)

A Civil Contract. This one, while also a Regency, is a little different from the usual madcap romp. It’s more sober than Heyer’s other Regencies. The heroine is a “cit”, a rich merchant’s daughter, with none of the graces of the usual Heyer heroine. She’s a short, stout, housewifely soul. The hero, on the other hand, is a romantic, forced to sever his connection with the woman he always believed he would marry. But he discovers, over a year of marriage, that perhaps he’s not such a romantic as he thought, and that his practical Jenny may suit him better than flighty Julia. People seem to either love or hate A Civil Contract. I fall into the “love” category. (You can read my thoughts on it by scrolling down here until you get to the essay titled A Not So Fine Romance, from way back in September 2008.) In the end, is it a love match? That’s up for debate. I think it is– but you can see for yourself.

Arabella. Back to the madcap, Arabella is one of the brilliantly funny Heyers, in which a parson’s daughter come-to-town decides, in a moment of pique, to pretend to be an heiress– but never imagines just how much she’ll be caught up in her own deception. The hero knows almost from the outset, but plays along, first out of annoyance, and later because he’s come to care for her too much to figure out how to tell her he knows the truth. This also falls into the “proud and wealthy hero knocked down from his pedestal and made human” category.

Sylvester. Speaking of proud and lofty heroes…. It takes a novelist (also a twittery sister-in-law, a fop to end all fops, and a determined small child) to crack the ducal reserve of the eponymous Sylvester, with lots of hijinks and some of my very favorite comic scenes along the way.

Honorable mentions: The Talisman Ring, The Quiet Gentleman, and Sprig Muslin.

What are your top five Heyers?



MISTLETOE Outtakes, aka The Drafts of MISTLETOE Past

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

A Pink book wouldn’t be a Pink book without outtakes!

I tend to be something of a trial and error writer (er, okay, entirely a trial and error writer), so there are always scenes that wind up on the cutting room floor, some because they just aren’t very good and others because the book is getting too long or the plot has changed on me– or about fifty other reasons.

Here are my two favorite outtakes from The Mischief of the Mistletoe, plus a third outtake that I’ve never before shared (largely because I just rediscovered it):

(more…)



MISTLETOE Fun Facts

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Every book has its own behind the scenes quirks and oddities. Admittedly, Turnip is a quirk all by himself, but here are a few other Mistletoe oddities, aka fun facts.

Orchid- Actual Cover— Like The Seduction of the 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….

Pink V Cover— 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.

mom_pudding_draft_02_copy_300— 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…. So many thanks to Joyce for the winning cover!

— 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?



A Very Mistletoe Q&A

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

On the ninth day of Turnip, we have… some Mistletoe miscellany.

While I was scrolling through my files, looking for Mistletoe trivia to share, I stumbled across this Q&A I scribbled up back in 2011 for the UK launch of The Mischief of the Mistletoe.

You can find the full interview below, along with an extra that had to be cut for length reasons– but as Queen of my Website, I get to be as long-winded as I like over here. (Cue seasonally inappropriate evil laughter.)

Q. What are your favourite Christmas reads?

A. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Little Women! In addition to Little Women, I like to revisit Liz Young’s Fair Game, which I associate with the Christmas I lived in London; Jo Beverly’s Regency-set story, The Christmas Angel; and Elsie Lee’s Silence is Golden (your classic Victorian heroine-meets-brooding-hero-with-insane-appendage story—don’t ask how it made it onto my Christmas list!).

For me, Christmas is also all about experimenting with new books. I spent most Christmas afternoons munching lopsided gingerbread people and reading through whatever books had shown up in my stocking. Santa had a taste for historical biographies and bodice-rippers, so it could be anything from Antonia Frasier to Johanna Lindsey, depending on whatever the last minute shopping (er, I mean sleigh-packing) had yielded.

Q. What made you decide to write a Christmas book?

A. There’s a magic about Christmas. It’s a time when anything can happen: reindeer fly; obese men squeeze through chimneys; there’s chocolate for breakfast and movies in the middle of the day. In short, the ordinary rules are suspended. I had a rather unusual hero for whom I wanted to write a story, a blundering, warm-hearted soul known to his friends as “Turnip” for his lack of whatchamacallit in the brainbox. Basically, he’s Bertie Wooster in knee breeches—or, as Jane Austen puts it, during a cameo appearance, “quite definitely a Bingley”. What better time than Christmas for someone to see underneath that bumbling exterior to his heart of gold?

Q. Your book is set in 1803 and features Jane Austen as a side character. What would Austen’s Christmas have been like?

A. Not as we imagine it! So much of what we associate with a traditional Christmas came along later. Christmas trees only became popular during the reign of Victoria and many of our favorite carols, including “Silent Night”, didn’t exist yet. There were, however, all sorts of fun and interesting traditions, including the bringing in of the Yule log on Christmas eve, decking the halls with boughs of holly, and big Twelfth Night celebrations, complete with Lord of Misrule. And, naturally, plum pudding!

Q. Is it true that the hero of The Mischief of the Mistletoe takes out the villain with a Christmas pudding?

A. Do you really think I’m giving that kind of information away? Let’s just say that, as the hero observes, Christmas puddings make deuced good projectiles.

You could say that Christmas puddings form a sort of leitmotif throughout The Mischief of the Mistletoe. The action kicks off when the hero and heroine find a mysterious message—in French!—hidden in a Christmas pudding, which sets them on the train of espionage, intrigue, an incredibly awful Christmas pageant (haven’t we all suffered through those?) and, yes, more pudding.

Basically, I was trying to think up lots of ways to use Christmas pudding that didn’t involve actually eating it!

Q. What’s your favourite Christmas carol?

A. We Three Kings of Orient Are. Hands down. There’s something so mystical and haunting about it—you can just see those ornately garbed kings on their camels laboring through the desert in search of that little manger in Bethlehem. That’s quite a trek without GPS. (Can’t you just hear the quarrels? “I told you we should have turned right at that last oasis!”)

I have other reasons for remembering the song affectionately. One of the traditions at my tiny all girls’ school was to make all the fathers, brothers, uncles, and any other unwary males unfortunate enough to be there get up on stage and sing “We Three Kings” at the annual holiday concert. The looks of trepidation on their faces as they sheepishly and reluctantly climbed up onto the risers always sent the whole school off into giggles. There was a reason my brother refused to attend….

What’s your favorite carol?



Cast That Turnip: Part II

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

So many thanks to everyone who contributed to the effort to Cast That Turnip! Thanks to you, we have an embarrassment of Turnips. (Which, I believe, is the correct term for a group of Turnip Fitzhughs.)

The winner of the Cast That Turnip contest, chosen at random, is… Lauren H! (Of Comment 19.2)

Congrats, Lauren! If you let me know where to send it, I’ll put your Mistletoe in the mail to you.

In the meantime, the Turnip casting fun continues. Since some of these actors’ names were new to me, I started looking them up. And once I was looking them up, it was a short step from that to compiling a gallery of Turnips….

Enjoy!

(more…)



Twelve Days of Turnip

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

It’s time for Twelve Days of Turnip!

It was originally only going to be a week of Turnip, but when I started going through the archives, I came to a realization: there’s an awful lot of Turnip material out there. Pinkoramae, recipes, outtakes, playlists, you name it. So the week of Turnip became Twelve Days of Turnip (appropriate to the season and all that, don’tcha know?) starting… today!

Do you have any suggestions for posts/contests/etc. you would like to see during the Turnip Fest? This is a work in progress so all ideas are welcome!

Twelve Days of Turnip kicks off with the first post later today!

Mistletoe_cvr Mistletoe Paperback



MISTLETOE Week!

Monday, December 12th, 2016

In honor of the approaching holidays, I am officially declaring next week Mistletoe Week here on the website. (Also because it’s been a bit boring over here on the website recently, and nothing can liven up a website like a Turnip.)

Next week, you can expect:

— the traditional “Lost” Introduction to The Mischief of the Mistletoe;
— Mischief of the Mistletoe Pinkoramae;
— Turnip Fitzhugh’s disastrous appearance on the Ballroom Blog;
— Mistletoe outtakes;
— and, of course, historical holiday fun facts.

Is there anything else you’d like to see as part of Mistletoe Week? (If there are enough suggestions, this may start early and turn into Mistletoe Fortnight. Just saying.)

Mistletoe Updated Mistletoe UK Mistletoe Paperback



Spread the word! It’s Author Confidential.

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Spreading the word about Author Confidential seems like it ought to be a contradiction in terms. But not when it’s the Bacon Free Library’s annual fundraiser!

What it is: a chance to ask your favorite author three questions– and receive a hand-written answer in return!

Here’s the official press release:

Bacon Free Library Announces ‘Author Confidential’ Auction

Best Selling Authors to Answer Three Questions from Winning Bidders

Have you ever finished a book only to find yourself full of questions? What inspired the story? Did the husband do it? Is she going to live? Will there be a sequel? Now’s your chance to find out!

This fall the Bacon Free Library in Natick, Massachusetts is inviting the public to bid on the opportunity to ask more than 75 best-selling and award-winning authors three (3) questions. The highest bidders will have the chance to ask authors, whose works range from mystery/thrillers to literary fiction, historical fiction to children’s literature, romance to nonfiction, about anything regarding the author’s work or writing process. Winning bidders will receive a signed, keepsake letter written by the author with their responses by mail.

The online auction will take place on eBay from Sunday, October 23, 2016 8pm through Sunday, October 30, 2016 8pm [EST]. Starting bids range from $50-$75.

Authors participating in the Library’s ‘Author Confidential Auction’ are some of the most beloved, diverse and prolific in current literature. They are known for popular and familiar titles such as Fates and Furies, The Perfect Storm, The Giver, In the Heart of the Sea, Presumed Innocent, and A Thousand Acres. Many of their works have been adapted as major motion pictures and television shows.

An interactive list of participating authors is available at
http://baconfreelibrary.org/gallery-of-authors/ and includes Lee Child, Nora Roberts, Bill Bryson, Diana Gabaldon, Jeff Kinney, JoJo Moyes, Dave Eggers, Laura Hillenbrand, Andy Weir, Peter H. Reynolds among many other notable writers.

Additional details and information on bidding rules are available at

http://baconfreelibrary.org/faqs/

You can find the full list of participating authors here.

The auction began last night and runs until Sunday, October 30th, at eight o’clock in the evening. What better way to start Halloween off with a treat?



Author Confidential….

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Pssst! It’s Author Confidential, Bacon Free Library’s (incredibly ingenious) fall fundraiser.

What it is: a chance to ask your favorite author three questions– and receive a hand-written answer in return!

Here’s the official press release:

Bacon Free Library Announces ‘Author Confidential’ Auction

Best Selling Authors to Answer Three Questions from Winning Bidders

Have you ever finished a book only to find yourself full of questions? What inspired the story? Did the husband do it? Is she going to live? Will there be a sequel? Now’s your chance to find out!

This fall the Bacon Free Library in Natick, Massachusetts is inviting the public to bid on the opportunity to ask more than 75 best-selling and award-winning authors three (3) questions. The highest bidders will have the chance to ask authors, whose works range from mystery/thrillers to literary fiction, historical fiction to children’s literature, romance to nonfiction, about anything regarding the author’s work or writing process. Winning bidders will receive a signed, keepsake letter written by the author with their responses by mail.

The online auction will take place on eBay from Sunday, October 23, 2016 8pm through Sunday, October 30, 2016 8pm [EST]. Starting bids range from $50-$75.

Authors participating in the Library’s ‘Author Confidential Auction’ are some of the most beloved, diverse and prolific in current literature. They are known for popular and familiar titles such as Fates and Furies, The Perfect Storm, The Giver, In the Heart of the Sea, Presumed Innocent, and A Thousand Acres. Many of their works have been adapted as major motion pictures and television shows.

An interactive list of participating authors is available at
http://baconfreelibrary.org/gallery-of-authors/

and includes Lee Child, Nora Roberts, Bill Bryson, Diana Gabaldon, Jeff Kinney, JoJo Moyes, Dave Eggers, Laura Hillenbrand, Andy Weir, Peter H. Reynolds among many other notable writers.

Additional details and information on bidding rules are available at

http://baconfreelibrary.org/faqs/

Mark your calendars for October 23, when the auction opens! I’ll post about it again when we get closer to the date. You can find the full list of participating authors here.