Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dear Nineteenteen Readers

This week, we’re celebrating a milestone: our 500th post. Yes, five hundred. It makes me giddy just thinking about it—those five hundred posts are equal in length to 2-3 novels from the both of us—but it also makes me darned proud. Five hundred posts of sheer history geekishness—wow!

We like to joke about our sooper sekrit mission to surreptitiously promulgate an interest in all the coolness of history…but really, it isn’t a joke. We do want anyone who stumbles on Nineteenteen to catch a glimpse of how interesting history is and maybe go on to learn more beyond the light-hearted glimpses we offer. If we’re doing that, then we’re happy.

So the question is, as Regina and I contemplate our work here…what would you like to see in future posts? Are there any topics we haven’t covered, or topics you’d like revisited or expanded upon? Anything we aren’t doing now that you’d like us to do in future? More Young Bluestocking group book readings or movie viewings? More guest posts? I have to confess that after 500 posts, it’s getting a little hard to find new and interesting topics for you, so any suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated…in fact, anyone who leaves a suggestion in the comment trail this week will be eligible for a drawing for either a copy of The Captain’s Courtship or Courtship and Curses—your choice.

And thanks for reading us for 500 posts.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blogging from National 2012, Part 2

Thursday and Friday, the RWA Conference gets down to business, with nearly 2,000 authors and other industry professionals crowding the halls and meeting rooms. Marissa and I have been attending workshops, including a great one by Patrick Brown from Goodreads. We’ve also been meeting with our agents and editors, learning how they see our careers going and how we can help each other succeed. Then too, we’ve spent a lot of time networking with other authors, gleaning industry knowledge and catching up with old friends.

Along the way, we’ve been able to squeeze in some extra fun. For example, Marissa had a lovely chat with a nineteenth century lady when we went out to dinner at the nearby Anaheim Garden Walk.

Friday night was the party to end all parties, thrown each year by Harlequin for its many authors and industry professionals. I was not allowed to bring a date, so I had to leave Marissa behind (and she will tell you I was the more upset by that!). But the other ladies who write and work for Love Inspired were very kind to me. One took this picture of me at our table, with the gorgeous centerpiece of red roses on white damask.

Saturday it was back to more workshops, including one on deciding whether to write for the YA market, taught by me, Marissa, and our delightful agent Emily Sylvan Kim.

As I finish this post, we are busy packing for an early flight home tomorrow and eagerly awaiting news of the Golden Heart and RITA® award winners. The Golden Heart recognizes outstanding romance manuscripts and often serves to launch an unpublished author’s career. The RITA is a peer award recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas in 12 categories. The winner receives a golden statuette of a lady. Sometimes attendees get a chocolate version afterwards. I plan to keep mine until I earn the real thing.

Or get really, really hungry.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Blogging from National 2012, Part 1

Well, here Regina and I are at the Romance Writers of America’s annual National Conference! This year we’re in Anaheim, California for what we’ve come to call our “annual sleepover”--as I live in Massachusetts and Regina lives in Washington State, this is our chance to get together each year, sitting up in our jammies and talking, talking, talking…oh, yes, and doing official conference stuff, too.

So our sleepover started late Tuesday afternoon when we both arrived in time for a pleasant dinner together (with lots of talking). We’d planned on a early night as we knew Wednesday would be busy…but before turning in we were treated to an evening fireworks display from Disneyland, just a few blocks away. Just like our trip to Orlando a few years back, we lucked out in having a hotel room that happened to face the right way!

On Wednesday it was time to divide and conquer: Regina was busy with the one-day conference sponsored by the Beau Monde (Regency RWA chapter), of which she’s been president this past year, and I was busy with the Young Adult chapter, on whose board I sit and which was also holding a one-day conference. Both events, I am happy to report, went very well…and then it was time for the huge Literacy Signing with 400 other authors

I was signing Courtship and Curses (yes, it’s not out for another couple of weeks, but don’t tell), and Regina had The Captain’s Courtship and The Rogue’s Reform…and we were delighted when Nineteenteen reader Rose de Guzman stopped by to say hi. There she is, with Regina!

Next stop was the Greater Detroit Chapter’s Book Buyer’s Best Award reception, as Regina had been nominated for the Inspirational Romance category…and then a quick dash up to our room to prepare for the entrance of a Very Important Gentleman…Sir Reginald Scott!

Let me tell you, that Sir Reginald is quite the heartbreaker. He flirted outrageously with all the ladies--especially those wearing conspicuously rich jewelry--and danced elegantly at the Beau Monde’s Annual Soiree…and I, his poor exhausted valet, still operating on Eastern time, trundled back to our room to collapse.

Can you tell we’re having fun?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Autographing Authors, Wandering Writers, and Poetic Proposals

We interrupt this blog to provide you with three messages from the Regina-Marissa Broadcast Network. This is not a test.

First, if you are anywhere near Anaheim, California, Wednesday, July 25, you may want to drop by the Anaheim Convention Center, third floor ballroom, between 5 and 8pm. Why, you ask? Because more than 400 authors, including Marissa and me, will be signing books! Admittance is free, and all proceeds from the books you buy will go to supporting local literacy organizations. Marissa will be at table 605, and I will be at table 405. Stop by and say hi!

Second, the fact that we will be signing books with so many other authors for charity means two things: 1) it’s time for the Romance Writers of America annual conference, and 2) it’s Regina and Marissa sleepover time. :-) So, next week, we will leave our families behind and spend a week in the rarified air of editors, agents, writers, and chocolate. Not necessarily in that order. Our posts, therefore, may not be quite on the usual days or times, because we’ll want to tell you the most juicy tidbits soon after they happen. Check the blog next week for details.

Finally, I just received a copy of my cover for The Rake’s Redemption, the third book in the Everard Legacy miniseries, and I couldn’t wait to share. As some readers suspected, my favorite Everard is Vaughn (golly, does it show?), so you can imagine how anxious I was to see how the cover artists depicted him. He’s a romantic poet (in more ways than one), with a flair all his own. I knew he wasn’t going to be easy to capture on canvas.

But they did it!

I have only one quibble: his hair. Anyone want to guess why?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fashion Forecast: 1826, Part 2

What was the well-dressed young woman wearing in the second half of 1826?

For a sunny summer stroll she might wear this sunshine yellow Walking Dress (Ackermann’s Repository, July) with self-fabric appliques down the front of the skirt and a roulade hem. I find her hat interesting—the gray ribbon wrapping the brim makes it look like a birthday present—and her red bracelets and brooch—coral, perhaps?
Skirts are starting to take on a definite bell-shape as can be seen in this Evening Dress from July’s Ackermann's. The tab fringe around hem and neckline will be seen in other dresses this year; the ombre-dyed shawl is something we’ve seen already from earlier this year. And I love her ruffle-edged gloves!
This one’s my favorite from this half of 1826: an Evening Dress with beautifully detailed woven knotwork applique at the hem, an elegant, almost boat-neck neckline, and gauze oversleeves on top of wee puff sleeves. Her headdress is an elegant turban (or is it a Phrygian cap—perhaps a combination?) of pink and white to match her dress, and her gloves have a deep zig-zag hem. Shawl is another one of those ombre-dyed scarves. Very nice! (Ackermann's Repository, August):
Yellow does seem to be a popular color this year; here’s another Evening Dress in that color with gauze oversleeves and overskirt appliqued with ribbon and what looks like flowers and sheaves of grain—appropriate for a harvest-season dress. The grain image is repeated on the bodice. (Ackermann’s Repository, September):
Several costumes from this time are nearly precursors, at least to my eye, of clothes that will be seen in the 1890s. Here’s one of them, a Carriage Dress from September’s Lady’s Magazine: "A petticoat of apricot-colored gros de Naples, with two broad flounces, formed in small scalops, edged with narrow rouleaux. Muslin spencer trimmed at the wrists with Vandyck points of lace, and mancherons [trimming at the shoulder] formed of broad Vandyck lace. Blue sash and bracers, with a rosette in front. A broad colerette pelerine [a short sort of cape, usually just covering the shoulders] of Vandyck lace finishes the spencer at the throat. Leghorn hat, with an ornament en bateau at the crown, of the same material, trimmed with chequered riband, generally yellow and blue; the strings in a loop. Bracelets of gold next the hand. Myrtle-green parasol."
Millinery! It’s rather striking how many different forms hats took, from the leghorn bonnet at bottom trimmed with falling lace (such fun to flirt from behind!), a softer bonnet-shaped cap at right, the assertive tall-brimmed hat at top, and the curious sea-shell shaped cap at left. (October, Ackermann’s Repository):
Dainty is the word for this Evening Dress from November’s Ackermann's. A lace-trimmed and ribbon-festooned gauze overskirt covers a blue underskirt, trimmed at the top of the flounces with what looked like an applique of blue laurel leaves. The sleeves are in three parts—a gauze oversleeve covering a puffed short sleeve and long sleeve as well, and bodice trimmed with broad ribbon at waist and shoulders. Note here as well as in some of the earlier prints the growing complexity of hairstyles, with bands of fabric and ribbon often woven in to puffs of hair:
Here’s a curious Morning Dress that makes me think of Robin Hood: both the skirt and bodice are trimmed with arrowhead-shaped points of fabric and rouleaux at the top of each row of points. The construction of this dress is interesting: it’s made like a jumper, with a white muslin underdress showing at neckline and sleeves. The lace cap is curious as well, decorated with what looks like matching green fabric leaves (Ackermann’s, December):
And one final Evening Dress from December’s Ackermann’s (I seem to have a lot of them for this year) in striking red and white. The skirt is decorated with two rows of geometrically-patterned rouleax and the bodice has vertical detailing that looks almost Art Deco. Sapphire bracelets and necklace and what appears to be a yellow and blue plaid shawl finish the costume:
What do you think of 1826’s fashions?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Introducing Lady Claire

Thanks to those who commented and shared a rule of courtship. As you’ll see below, our interviewee today could use any tips you’d care to pass along! According to the random number generator, the winner of today’s signed copy of The Captain’s Courtship is Regencyresearcher. I have a hunch I know who that is, but please drop me a note at reginascott@owt.com with your physical address, and I’ll send it right out.

Today we have with us Lady Claire. She grew up in privilege as the daughter of the Earl of Falbrooke and made an excellent match her first season a decade ago to Viscount Winthrop. Her husband died in his prime a year ago, leaving her a widow. I’ve heard rumors she intended to relocate to Bath or the warmer climes of Italy, but something is keeping her in London this Season. Perhaps we can convince her to share her secrets.

Nineteenteen: Welcome, Lady Claire. Are you looking forward to this Season?

Lady Claire: I am indeed. I love London, museums, the theater, the art and science exhibitions. And this year will be special, as I’m sponsoring a young lady, Samantha, Lady Everard.

19Teen, tapping chin with finger: Lady Everard, you say? Isn’t there a connection between you and the Everard family?

Lady Claire, with a charming smile: There certainly is. I’ve been a friend of the family for years.

19Teen: That’s not exactly the way we remember it. Weren’t you at one time engaged to the second son of the family, former privateer Captain Richard Everard of the Siren’s Gold?

Lady Claire, with an airy wave: La, that was years ago. You cannot expect a lady to remember every suitor who comes calling.

19Teen: But he wasn’t just a suitor. You promised to marry him.

Lady Claire: And he promised to write and return soon. Two years with no word is not soon. Besides, my father was very pleased with the match I made.

19Teen: Your father was pleased, eh? What about you?

Lady Claire, hitching her shawl closer: I’m sure any lady would be pleased to be a viscountess. But I believe you wanted to know more about my Season this year. It will be beyond marvelous. Lady Everard is such a dear—so vivacious, so energetic. I know you will be charmed. We’ve already planned her coming out ball, and I intend to have her presented to the Queen at the earliest opportunity.

19Teen: And how do you feel about Captain Everard taking part in these activities? Won’t you have to spend a great deal of time in his company, first traveling to Cumberland to meet his cousin Lady Everard, and then here in London when she starts her Season?

Lady Claire: Very likely. I’m sure he’ll make a fine escort.

19Teen: That’s it? No trepidation about meeting your old swain again, especially now that you’re about to put off your widow’s weeds? You never thought about him once over all these years?

Lady Claire, lowering her voice: I’ve thought about him far too often, and you know it. How many times I’ve wished I could undo the past. But I can’t. He’ll never forgive me for betraying him. If he knew any other woman eligible to introduce his cousin to the Queen, he would never have showed up at my door.

19Teen: And now that he has?

Lady Claire: Now that he has, I find myself afraid to dream again.

19Teen: Never fear, Lady Claire. We think you will find that the captain’s courtship may have an entirely different ending this time around.

To learn more about Lady Claire and Captain Richard Everard, look for The Captain’s Courtship online or in a store near you. If you’d like another chance to win an autographed copy, simply leave a comment on this post before midnight your time on Thursday, July 19. I’ll draw a name and announce the winner next Friday, June 20.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Launching the Captain: Rules of Courtship

While Marissa and I and millions of others were off celebrating the birth of our nation, another birth took place. My twenty-second work of romantic fiction made its debut (yes, I know, not quite the convention-shattering birth of the USA!). The Captain’s Courtship is the second book in my Everard Legacy miniseries from Love Inspired Historical. Today and Friday, I’m giving away an autographed copy. Read on to learn how you can win.

The Everard legacy miniseries focuses on three handsome cousins who set out to claim their inheritances and learn that love is their greatest reward. In the first book, Jerome, Richard, and Vaughn Everard discovered that their late uncle had kept a daughter secret, a daughter who has inherited not only his title but their vast empire of shares in sailing ships, money in the Exchange, and lands in six counties.

But inheriting the Everard legacy isn’t as easy as it may sound. Samantha’s father left a set of stipulations in his will, and unless she fulfills them, she and her cousins will lose everything their family has worked to gain. The first requirement is that Samantha be presented to the queen. And only a lady who has already been presented can sponsor her for the introduction. A shame that every lady the Everards know who might be disposed to do them a favor is decidedly out of the queen’s league.

All but one. Lady Claire Winthrop was once engaged to Captain Richard Everard, throwing him over for a wealthy viscount. Now she’s a widow with more than one secret in her past. Can Richard convince her to sponsor the mercurial Samantha? And if the two are drawn together once more, will the captain’s courtship be successful this time?

As you can tell, courtship plays a big part in this story, whether Richard and Claire’s memories of their first courtship or their attempts to find their way back into courting again. When I was writing my young adult novel, La Petite Four, I developed a character named Lord Snedley, who considered himself an expert in the rules of courting (among other things). Here are some of his rules for courting:

  • On her first introduction to a gentleman, a young lady would do well to keep her eyes on his chin, unless of course he should have a pock or wart there. Raising her eyes to his will make her appear forward and staring at his feet will make the fellow uncomfortable. I also advise against staring at birthmarks or protrusions of any sort.
  • Gentlemen, when you visit, stay a quarter hour, no more, no less. Unless, of course, you are pressed to stay by a particularly winsome young lady, or you find yourself enamored of the lemonade served that day, drink fourteen glasses, and must needs make use of the retiring facilities.
  • Young ladies are indebted to their chaperons, those maternal sorts who hover about at balls, making sure that everything is aboveboard. Do insist that they stay away from card tables, sharp objects, and the occasional cavorting in the servant’s hall.
  • Indulging in flirtation is every young lady’s prerogative and quite expected in more fashionable circles. If you feel daunted, I suggest you practice on a door knob, which will not notice if your hair was parted the wrong way nor remark that you have parsley stuck between your front teeth.

Now it’s your turn. Give me a rule of proper courtship, real, from a book you read, or imagined, in a comment to this post, and I will put your name in a drawing to win an autographed copy of The Captain’s Courtship. Comments received before midnight U.S. West Coast time on Thursday, July 12, will be eligible. I’ll announce the winner in my Friday post, where we’ll learn more about Lady Claire Winthrop, and I’ll give you another chance to win.

The Captain's Courship is available at

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