Archive for the ‘Emerald Ring’ Category

Pinkorama #5: “The Deception of the Emerald Peep”

Friday, April 13th, 2018

For our fifth Pinkorama, Rachel brings us “The Deception of the Emerald Peep”, from Chapter Thirteen of Pink III, The Deception of the Emerald Ring.

Rachel writes, “Jane has invited Letty to her house in order to reveal the true nature of her– and Miss Gwen’s– relationship with Geoff. Dual identities and mistaken impressions are just some of the reasons why this scene is a favorite… and the dialogue is as witty as ever! Miss Gwen has the manuscript for her “scandalous novel” in hand and Jane is ready to literally let her hair down and tell the truth to poor, confused Letty. And Geoff… is Being A Guy. For more of the scene come to life, watch the video!””

Rachel 1

But, seriously, watch the video. Just make sure your office door is shut and you haven’t taken a large gulp of coffee– because it will wind up up your nose. You’ve never experienced Emerald Ring until you’ve seen it performed by Peeps.

Thank you, Rachel, for making my week with that video! (Still cleaning up that coffee spill…. But, oh boy, it was worth it.)

For your amusement, here’s the entirety of the scene– but it’s much more fun with Peeps.

“Ah, Mrs. Alsdale!” Miss Fairley broke off, and half-rose from her place at the table to beckon Letty in, ribbons and curls bobbing. “You are wonderfully prompt. Do come in.”

The brisk words were entirely at odds with the gushing Miss Fairley of the night before, but Letty only barely noticed. All her attention was fixed upon the mysterious third party, whose cup rattled on its saucer as he pushed his chair abruptly back from the table.

“Lord Pinchingdale?” stammered Letty.

Her husband appeared incapable of speech.

Not so Miss Fairley. “I believe you are already acquainted,” said Miss Fairley pleasantly, looking calmly from one to the other.

Lord Pinchingdale’s gaze narrowed on Miss Fairley.

“I did not agree to this,” he said levelly.

“No,” Miss Fairley acknowledged, in a voice that wasn’t like Miss Fairley’s at all. “But if you weren’t going to be reasonable, you had to be made to be reasonable. Hence this afternoon’s arrangement.”

“Perhaps I should go,” suggested Letty, inching her way backwards. She stumbled as her heel came into painful contact with the lintel of the door, catching at the doorframe for balance. “I wasn’t aware you had other guests…. Some other time, perhaps….”

“Not at all.” Miss Fairley’s voice was still pleasant, but there was a note of command in it that arrested Letty mid-flight. “Do sit down, Mrs. Alsdale.”

Letty moved away from the door, but refused to take the chair her hostess indicated. She felt safer standing. There were strange currents making themselves felt across the table; Mrs. Grimstone was looking superior, Miss Fairley determined, and Lord Pinchingdale displeased. And all of them knew something Letty didn’t.

That alone was enough to make Letty refuse the chair.

“I am quite comfortable as I am,” Letty declared, ruining the effect by shifting her weight off her throbbing heel.

“As you will,” Miss Fairley said equably, pausing to take a sip from her almost-full cup. “I suppose you won’t take any coffee either?”

Letty shook her head in negation, anxious to hasten the strange interview to its close. The whole scene made her oddly uneasy. Miss Fairley’s sudden, unexpected poise. The malicious gleam in Mrs. Grimstone’s black eyes. Lord Pinchingdale’s air of watchful expectation, as he leaned back in his chair, lips pressed tightly together, and arms folded across his chest. He looked as though he were waiting for something… they were all waiting for something. But for what?

Half a dozen scenarios straight out of the annals of sensational fiction presented themselves to Letty’s rapidly whirring mind, as she stood impaled in the center of the circle of eyes, like a hart in a medieval tapestry. There were ways of getting rid of an unwanted wife, weren’t there? A drug in the coffee, a quick trip to a mental asylum to have her declared incompetent. Just before she left London, Charlotte Lansdowne had pressed one of Richardson’s novels on her, where a virtuous young lady was tricked into residence in a brothel under false pretenses, driven to degradation and eventually death by the vindictive madame. Mrs. Grimstone, with her cold eyes and grasping hands would make an excellent bawd.

But such things didn’t happen outside of fiction; it was too strange, too sensational—wasn’t it?

Despite the sun slanting through the long windows, Letty shivered. She knew no one in Dublin, no one except Emily Gilchrist and Mrs. Lanergan, and they didn’t even know her under her proper name. As far as her family was concerned, she was on an extended honeymoon trip. What better time for Lord Pinchingdale to divest himself of an inconvenience? He could return home, the grieving widower, and pick up just where he had left off, philandering his way through London’s ballrooms. And no one would ever suspect….

Letty’s hand’s closed around the curved wooden chair back. “Why did you ask me here? Not for coffee, I take it.”

“No,” agreed Miss Fairley, “not for coffee. For this.”

With one graceful movement, she reached up and swept the entire mass of silver-blonde curls off her head.

Letty didn’t know what she had been expecting, but it wasn’t that. Where Miss Gilly Fairley’s foaming locks had been a moment before, shining pale brown hair had been coiled into a graceful knot that accentuated the classical planes of the woman’s face. Without the elfin curls and gaily colored ribbons, her entire appearance was transformed. Instead of a flighty wood nymph, she reminded Letty of a marble statue of Minerva, intelligent and slightly alien.

“It does feel good to get that off,” murmured Miss Fairley, dropping the wig with obvious distaste on the table next to the coffee pot. “The ringlets itch terribly.”

The transformation made Letty’s disguise seem decidedly amateur.

There were altogether too many people in disguise. Her own had been donned out of desperation, on a moment’s impulse, but what about Miss Fairley? What excuse could she have? Suspicion trickled through Letty, as unpleasant as cold coffee, as she looked at Miss Fairley’s serene countenance, all the more beautiful for being unadorned. She didn’t look much like Mary—her hair was fair where Mary’s was dark, her eyes almond shaped where Mary’s were round, her lips thinner and the bridge of her nose narrower—but there was a similarity that transcended the differences in coloring, a certain inherent stateliness and an underlying beauty of bone structure.

Letty rounded on her husband, who was watching Miss Fairley with an expression that she could only term grim resignation. Grim resignation, but not the slightest drop of surprise. If Lord Pinchingdale could come to Dublin and pay court to a young lady without revealing his prior marriage in London, couldn’t it also work the other way around?

“Is there something I ought to know?” Letty asked sharply.

“The less you know,” said Lord Pinchingdale, and although the words were ostensibly addressed to her, Letty knew they were really intended as a warning for the alien beauty sitting at the head of the table, incongruously attired in Gilly Fairley’s frills and flounces, “the better.”

“The better for whom?” demanded Letty. “For you?”

Lord Pinchingdale’s lazy posture didn’t change, but something in his face hardened. “Of course. Whom else?”
With the unforgiving light from the windows picking out the rich brocade of his waistcoat, glinting off the sapphire in his cravat, she saw him for what he really was, a pampered aristocrat who thought nothing of running amuck through the lives of others in the pursuit of his own pleasure.

Loathing, pure and painful, rose through Letty like lava, bubbling up through the back of her throat, nearly choking her.

“You might try thinking of someone other than yourself for a change. Just for variety.”

Lord Pinchingdale raised an indolent eyebrow. “As you do? I’m sure your appearance here last night was arranged entirely for my convenience.”

“Why should I think of your convenience when you are so adept at doing so for yourself? How many other women do you have tucked away in far-flung bits of the world? One in Scotland, perhaps, to go with the grouse shooting? A harem in Paris?”

Lord Pinchingdale’s lips twisted with amusement at a joke that eluded Letty. “Not of the sort you’re imagining.”

“I have no interest in hearing the sordid details.”

“I do,” interrupted Mrs. Grimstone, who had been listening avidly. “A harem would be just the thing.”

“Mrs. Grimstone is engaged in writing a sensational novel,” explained Lord Pinchingdale in a tone drier than the kindling in the hearth. Turning to Mrs. Grimstone, he added, “Do make sure to change the names. My reputation appears to be black enough already.”

“Certainly I shall,” sniffed Mrs. Grimstone. “Pinchingdale is an absurd name for a hero.”

“I’m sure Mrs. Alsdale will vouch that it works excellently well for a villain.”

“You do yourself too much honor,” said Letty scathingly. “Villains, at least, have a certain grandeur to them. Reprobates have nothing to recommend them.”

“How quickly the pot turns on the kettle.”

“If you weren’t so entirely debased yourself, you wouldn’t be so quick to judge others by your own standards!”

“If you find yourself running short of terms of abuse, I suggest ‘degenerate cad’ for your next go. Or you can just slap me and get it over with.”

“Only if I had a gauntlet to do it with!”

“Are you challenging me to a duel? I’m afraid that’s not done, my dear.”

“I forgot.” Letty drew herself up to her full five feet, enjoying the sensation of being able to look down on Lord Pinchingdale. “You have no honor to defend.”

“Well delivered!” exclaimed Mrs. Grimstone. “I couldn’t have done it better myself.”

“Before we descend any further into absurdity,” Miss Fairley broke in calmly, sounding as unruffled as though she were supervising a philosophical discussion at the Bluestocking Society, “someone really ought to provide an explanation to our guest.”

“What sort of explanation did you have in mind?” enquired Lord Pinchingdale. His voice was perfectly calm, but there was a bite to it that suggested he wasn’t quite so blasé about slights to his honor as he might pretend.

“The truth.”

“Fiction is so much more entertaining,” mused Mrs. Grimstone. “Especially my fiction.”

“But not necessarily conducive to domestic peace,” countered Miss Fairley.

Lord Pinchingdale looked rather tight about the lips, in a way that suggested that he found the possibility of domestic peace just as unlikely a goal as Letty did. Not, thought Letty mutinously, that he had any right to look grim. After all, he was the one keeping a harem.

He folded his arms across his chest, and nodded towards Miss Fairley. “Since this was your idea, Jane, why don’t you do the honors?”

“Who,” demanded Letty, rather shrilly, “is Jane?”

Miss Fairley flicked the wig fastidiously aside, and looked Letty straight in the eye. “My name is Jane.”

“Not Gilly?” Letty knew there were other things she probably ought to be asking, but that was the first that rose to her lips.

Miss Fairley—Jane—smiled at her kindly. Too kindly. Letty hadn’t seen an expression like that since the time the cook had been delegated to tell her that her favorite dog had died. “No, not Gilly.”

“And you may address me as Miss Gwen,” announced Mrs. Grimstone, whose Christian name was supposed to be Ernestine, which, as far as Letty could tell, bore no discernable relation to Gwen, by any stretch of linguistic acrobatics. “However, you may do so only in private, when there is no danger of anyone overhearing, or you will jeopardize the entire mission. Do you understand?”


“We are all,” Jane said gently, “agents of the Pink Carnation.”

Stay tuned for Pinkorama #6, coming your way tomorrow….

More Pink on Sale!

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

It’s the summer of cheap e-Pink! For a limited time, the third book in the Pink Carnation series, The Deception of the Emerald Ring, is available for only $1.99 in e-book.

1803. Ireland. Intrigue. Plots. Spies. And one accidental marriage of inconvenience….

Here’s the official blurb:

Emerald PaperbackEloise Kelly has gotten into quite a bit of trouble since she started spying on the Pink Carnation and the Black Tulip—two of the deadliest spies to saunter the streets of nineteenth-century England and France. Not only has she unearthed secrets that will rearrange history, she’s dallied with Colin Selwick and sought out a romantic adventure all her own. Little does she know that she’s about to uncover another fierce heroine running headlong into history.

The year is 1803 and England and France remain at odds. Hoping to break the English once and for all, Napoleon backs a ring of Irish rebels in uprisings against England and sends the Black Tulip, France’s most deadly spy, to the Emerald Isle to help. What they don’t know is that also in Ireland is England’s top spy, the Pink Carnation, who is working to shut the rebels down.

Meanwhile, back in England, Letty Alsworthy intercepts a note indicating that her sister, Mary, is about to make the very grave mistake of eloping with Geoffrey Pinghingdale-Snipe (second in command of the League of the Purple Gentian). In an attempt to save the family name, Letty tries to stop the elopement, but instead finds herself swept away in the midnight carriage meant for her sister and is accidentally compromised. Geoff and Letty, to each other’s horror, find themselves forced into matrimony. Then, Geoff receives word that he is to travel to Ireland to help the Pink Carnation and disappears immediately after their wedding ceremony. Letty learns of Geoff’s disappearance and, not to be outdone by her husband, steals away on a ship bound for Ireland, armed and ready to fight for her husband…and to learn a thing or two about spying for England.

You can find The Deception of the Emerald Ring for $1.99 on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks.

Emerald Ring on sale

In the meantime, the first Pink book, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, is still on sale for $2.99 in e on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Google, and iBooks.

Because summer is for floral spies?

Happy reading!

EMERALD RING en Français

Monday, June 27th, 2016

On 21 Juillet, The Deception of the Emerald Ring will be making its debut en français! You can find it under the title L’Imposture de l’Alliance Émeraude.

Emerald Ring French

When I got the news, I did some counting on my fingers and it dawned on me that, as of a few months from now, it will be ten years since Emerald Ring was first published in the U.S.

It really doesn’t feel like it should be quite that long, does it?

One thing I’ve noticed about Emerald Ring covers over the years: they tend to be very, very green….

Emerald Paperback Emeraldringengland Emerald Portugal Emerald Ring French


Monday, November 10th, 2014

It’s The Deception of the Emerald Ring month over on the Bubblebath Reader!

Emerald Paperback

As part of the festivities, Ashley has a signed copy of The Deception of the Emerald Ring up for grabs. Just head over there for a chance to win.

Happy Monday!

Pink Carnation en Francais!

Friday, May 9th, 2014

I have very happy news! The first three books in the Pink Carnation series– The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, The Masque of the Black Tulip, and The Deception of the Emerald Ring— are being published in French in Canada!

The publisher is Ada of Quebec. As soon as I have release dates, and covers, and all that sort of thing, I’ll be sure to share here!

Pink Carnation Recap: EMERALD RING

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Hello, Pink III, The Deception of the Emerald Ring!

Who: Letty Alsworthy and Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe
Where: England and Ireland
When: Summer, 1803
What: Rebellion is brewing in Ireland, but Geoff is on the case—along with his accidental bride.
Historical Cameos: Robert Emmett

Fun fact: Emerald Ring was the result of my TAing a class on the Second British Empire back in my third year of grad school, while I was working on Pink I. When we got to Emmett’s attempted insurrection, I couldn’t help thinking it would be the perfect backdrop for a book about Geoff. If I ever got to write a book about Geoff….

My favorite scene? One word: chickens. You know what I mean.

(For a wonderful representation of my favorite scene, constructed out of sugary treats, check out the Pink Carnation Peep Diorama gallery.)

What’s your favorite scene from The Deception of the Emerald Ring?

p.s. All these snazzy cards you’ve been seeing at the bottom of these posts are courtesy of Sharlene, who made them by picking her favorite snippet from each book. I have my own favorite bits, but I love seeing which moments/lines leap out at other people….

Pinkorama #1

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

For our first Pinkorama, we have… the showdown at the end of The Deception of the Emerald Ring, beautifully crafted by Julie and Casey.

Here’s the overall view:

You can see Geoff battling the rebels and Miss Gwen with her sword parasol while the rebel hideaway goes up in flames and Jasper makes off with Letty stage left.

Here’s the same scene from a slightly different angle:

And now we get to the really good part: the close ups. Check out the burning building and the drunken fuse-maker:

Meanwhile, Geoff battles on near the henhouse, while Miss Gwen wields her sword parasol:

And Jasper attempts to make off with Letty, who looks rather nonplussed:

Check out those infamous sideburns!

Congratulations, Julie and Casey! You have created a sugary tour de force. I’m particularly attached to Jasper’s get-away vehicle and the drunken Irishman next to his kegs….

Pinkorama #2 coming up tomorrow!

Pinkorama #7

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Otherwise known as “Peck, my peeps! Peck!”

In this flashback to The Deception of the Emerald Ring, brought to us by Kate, Christine, Jess, and Yao, it’s 2003 and Eloise is hard at work at her favorite desk in the British Library reading room. (Check out her tiny laptop!)

Meanwhile, back in 1803, Miss Gwen singlehandedly quells the Irish rebellion with her trusty sword parasol and the help of some barnyard friends as she charges into battle, shouting, “Peck, my peeps! Peck!”

(It also cannot go unremarked that Miss Gwen is sporting her favorite color: purple. Now that’s some real attention to detail, there!)

Okay, maybe not entirely singlehandedly. Geoff is there, too, rapier– and eyebrows– at the ready.

As they storm the crowd, Jasper Peepingdale sees his opportunity and seizes Letty. Never was there a Peep with such obnoxious sideburns!

Oh, and lest it go unnoticed, check out the Dublin street scenes in the background.

A huge round of applause for Kate, Christine, Jess, and Yao and their Pinkoramas! Pinkoramae? Either way, they are truly fabulous.

Four Days….

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

With four days until 2011, here’s a bit from fall ’06 and The Deception of the Emerald Ring.

Although there are oh-so-many moments that delight me in the historical sections ofEmerald Ring (two words: sideburns and chickens), I decided to mix it up a bit and go with one of the Eloise and Colin bits. I had way too much fun with Eloise and the blind date from hell….

Which is your favorite scene from Emerald Ring?


Happy belated, UK “Emerald Ring”!

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Oooops! What with the long weekend and all, I missed the UK release day of The Deception of the Emerald Ring. Emerald Ring made its official UK debut yesterday, 6 September.

Happy belated birthday, Emerald Ring!

(It’s no secret that this is one of my very favorite covers.)