Thursday, January 9th, 2014
I am thrilled to unveil a new feature, brought to you courtesy of Christine: Pink Carnation Treats!
Lovingly tested in Christine’s kitchen, we have the first of a series of Pink Carnation-themed cooking adventures.
This month? We’re going to pretend it’s still the holiday season with a little bit of peppermint and a lot of tasty good cheer.
And now over to Christine….
The holidays always make me think of snowy days, warm drinks in front of cozy fires… and lots and lots of baking. What’s better than curling up with a good cookie and a good book on a cold day? Or perhaps a good book… and a treat based on the book? To celebrate this holiday season, we’re kicking off a series of Pink Carnation inspired treats, starting with our favorite red-haired heroine, Eloise.
The Orchid Affair brought us the lovely fact that Eloise loves marzipan pigs, but did you know that in Saratoga Springs, NY, they celebrate Christmas with the Peppermint Pig? You can read all about the tradition that started in the 1880s here. As a nod to the marzipan pig, peppermints galore that the holidays bring, and Eloise’s famous red hair, we bring you Peppermint Marzipan Bites, pig-shape optional.
(recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Marzipan Cookie recipe)
1 cup softened butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 to 1 teaspoon peppermint flavoring
red food coloring
1. Mix butter and sugar together.
2. Add flour, almond extract and peppermint flavoring until entire mixture looks like coarse crumbles.
3. Add as much (or little) food coloring as you wish.
4. Shape cookies as desired – pigs, parasols, whatever your heart desires.
5. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
6. Bake at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes or until set but not brown.
7. Cool on a wire rack.
It’s a pretty simple recipe and, while it may not be the most accurate in terms of marzipan-ness, ends up pretty tasty.
I attempted to make a pig and it turned out pretty cute, until it tipped over in the oven and became not picture-worthy. Oh well. It was still delicious. Experiment a little, maybe sprinkle some crushed up peppermint pieces on top. Enjoy!
Thanks, Christine! Now off to get some peppermint flavoring so I can give these a try….
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.
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!
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
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?
Friday, August 3rd, 2012
What with one thing and another, I entirely forgot to mention that while I was off in Anaheim, The Orchid Affair won the Booksellers’ Best Award!
I am very grateful to all of the booksellers and librarians who volunteered their time to judge and the wonderful ladies of GDRWA who go through the headache of pulling this contest together every year. There were many talented authors represented, so I am honored and humbled that Laura’s and Andre’s story was the one that won.
For your amusement, since Mischief of the Mistletoe won the BBA last year (have I mentioned that I truly, deeply love booksellers and librarians, especially ones with such excellent taste?), here are the two awards together: Mama Award and Baby Award. I’d thought they were exactly the same until I brought them home and….
It grew! Maybe it’s been taking its vitamins?
You’ll see at the bottom it says “Editor: Erika Imranyi”. Thanks to the vagaries of the publishing world, Erika and I only got to work on three books together, Orchid, Mistletoe, and The Garden Intrigue— but so far, all of those books have been winners. Thank you, Erika!!
Friday, July 6th, 2012
Carole Rae just shared with me her post casting the characters from The Garden Intrigue and The Orchid Affair.
You can find her casting picks here.
For more casting picks, check out Storycasting, which has a collection of casts for all the Pink books.
Once The Ashford Affair is out, we’ll have to start the Ashford casting!
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
The Orchid Affair twines very closely to some actual historical events and figures. Here are some musings on Orchid Affair and the intersection of fiction and history that I scribbled for The Muse in the Fog.
Only five more days until The Orchid Affair comes out in paperback!
Tuesday, December 27th, 2011
The Orchid Affair comes out in paperback one week from today!
In honor of Orchid‘s upcoming paperback publication, here are some Fun Facts about The Orchid Affair.
— The Orchid Affair was inspired by a Susan Isaacs novel called Shining Through. Okay, if I’m being honest, it was inspired by the moviebased on the novel (oh, the shame!). I’d just finished writing The Temptation of the Night Jasmine and was vegging and channel-flipping when I stumbled upon Melanie Griffith undercover in the household of Nazi bigwig Liam Neeson. It seemed like a horrible waste of a Liam Neeson. What if he weren’t a Nazi? What if he were in Napoleonic France? What if…. You get the idea.
— Speaking of inspiration…. The Orchid Affair also owes a great deal to Raphael Sabatini’s Scaramouche(trust me, go with the book, not the movie!). Like my Andre Jaouen, the hero of Sabatini’s novel is a young lawyer with a sympathy for the principles of the Revolution. It was also from Sabatini that I stole– I mean, borrowed– the idea of using a traveling commedia dell’arte troupe as cover for a quick getaway.
— I began writing The Orchid Affair before The Mischief of the Mistletoe. I was a hundred pages into Orchid when I realized– in the middle of giving a talk about writing a series!– that I was writing the wrong book, not that it was wrong in the abstract (at least, I hope you don’t think it is), but that it was the wrong book for that point in the series. Penelope’s book, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, had been heavy and dark and Orchid also tended towards the darker. I needed something light, to go in the middle. Something that tasted like Turnip. I went home, stopped off for a grande mocha frappuccino (it was the first warm day of May) and began work on Mistletoe, putting Orchid on hold for about six months.
On the plus side, that six month hiatus also gave me time to take a much needed research trip to Paris, where I changed a number of locations and plot points.
— In the final stretch of writing The Orchid Affair, in the spring of 2010, I listened over and over and over again to Abbie Barrett’s album, Dying Day. It was what got me through the last ten chapters. That, and lots of coffee. And brie and crackers. And the occasional gin and tonic.
— The writing of Orchid Affair also happened to coincide, almost exactly, with the class I taught at Yale (along with fellow Yalie Cara Elliott) on the origin and development of the Regency romance novel. I would hold office hours and teach on Mondays and then scurry back home to write for the rest of the week.
— My favorite description of Orchid Affair was “Jane Eyre meets James Bond”. This one is definitely more Jane Eyre than Jane Austen.
For more Fun Facts about Orchid, check out the Readers’ Guide at the back of the book. (For those who have the hardcover, I’ll post the Readers’ Guide Q&A here on Orchid Paperback Publication Day, so you don’t miss out!)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011
It suddenly dawned on me that fast away the old year passes– which means that we have Pink books coming out in the very near future.
First up, we have the trade paperback edition of The Orchid Affair, coming out January 3rd.
And then… drum roll!… The Garden Intrigue appears in stores in hardcover on February 16th.
If you can’t make it to any of the Garden Intrigue events (see the Have Author Will Travel section in the sidebar), but would like a personally inscribed copy, just contact the wonderful people at The Poisoned Pen prior to February 16th and they’ll have me sign one and ship it to you.