Apr 16

The Rebel Rutter Rides Again in PISTOLS AND PETTICOATS

Pistols and Petticoats by Adrienne deWolfe, Barbara Ankrum, Sharon Ihle, western historical romance, western romance, romance anthologySome heroes capture an author’s heart.  They refuse to go away quietly after “The End” is typed in a novel.

Billy “Cass” Cassidy was one of those troublemakers.  He started out as the villain of SEDUCED BY AN ANGEL (Book 3, Velvet Lies Series).

But Cass wasn’t happy as the villain. 

“Aw, c’mon,” he whispered in my ear.  “Give me a break!  Sure I shot a man in the back, but he bashed in the head of my 18-year-old cousin!  And sure I kissed my best friend’s girl.  But I also saved Jesse’s neck from a lynching rope after I got plugged and was half dead from blood loss!” 

Cass – or rather, “Coyote Cass,” as the rascal is aptly named – can be extremely persuasive.  The next thing I knew, I was doing something crazy:  rewriting the plots of SEDUCED BY AN ANGEL and HIS WICKED DREAM to redeem Cass.

However, redemption wasn’t good enough for Cass.  Never mind that Dodge City bawds had dubbed him the Rebel Rutter.  He kept whining in my ear, “But I need a book – and a woman — of my own!”

I sternly replied, “Cass, you’ve had TOO MANY women.  Remember that time in Cheyenne, when you set a record for eight bawds in one bed?  Romance heroes can’t do that!”

The scapegrace batted his baby-blue eyes, flashed his Coyote Grin, and crooned in my ear:

“Lucifire they called him,

His draw was next to none;

His smile was like an angel’s;

The devil ruled his gun.

“The purdy gals in Texas

Would sigh for him and swoon,

When Lucifire went sparking –

Sneaked thru windows to go sparking –

Broke fair hearts when he went sparking -–

Each night beneath the moon.”

western romance, Velvet Lies Series, Adrienne deWolfe, Pistols and Petticoats, romance anthology

Cass is often called Coyote Cass, the Rebel Rutter, and sometimes, “Lucifire,” because he’s a devil with a gun.

Needless to say, once Cass started serenading me with his theme song, I was a goner. 

Creating the perfect lover for Cass proved a lot easier than I thought it would be.  She had to be a strong woman who didn’t need a man 24/7 (Cass was an outlaw, and therefore, on the run.) 

She had to be a woman who had bigger aspirations than catching a man. (Cass was notorious for loving and leaving “wedding-bell chasers.”) 

She also had to be immune to his charm.  So I decided to rattle the Rebel Rutter’s confidence by giving his woman so MANY men, that she didn’t believe in love and was jaded by sex.

In the novella, SHADY LADY, we first meet the torch singer, Sadie Michelson, in all her fiery-haired glory. Three years Cass’s senior, Sadie is the woman who taught the Rebel Rutter how to kiss. (She also taught him how to use whipped cream in deliciously wicked ways.) Cass has adored her since the age of 12. In describing their adolescent love affair, Cass reminisces, he “worshipped her in the only way a penniless boy could:  He gave his body wholly to her pleasure.”

In SHADY LADY, Sadie and Cass reunite after an eight-year separation in the Wickedest Little City in America – better known as Dodge City.  Since the novella is set in 1879, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Luke Short are among the historical figures who play pivotal roles in the plot.  (BTW: As shown in SHADY LADY, historians have documented that lawman Wyatt Earp used to demand protection money from the “working women” of Dodge.  Boo!  Hiss!)

western romance, Velvet Lies Series, Adrienne deWolfe, Pistols and Petticoats, romance anthologySHADY LADY is one of three Historical Western Romances in the new anthology, PISTOLS AND PETTICOATS, written by best-selling, award-winning authors Barbara Ankum, Sharon Ihle, and yours truly, Adrienne deWolfe.

Our mission, as assigned by our publisher, was to write fresh, new stories based on characters from previously published novels.  So the great thing about PISTOLS AND PETTICOATS (besides the title — which was my suggestion!) is that you’ll get to catch up with some of our most beloved characters!

If you love the Old West, check out PISTOLS AND PETTICOATS for a wild ride!

And be on the look out for the continuing love “saga” of Cass and Sadie this summer, when DEVIL IN TEXAS is published as Book 4 in the best-selling, award-winning Velvet Lies Series.

Can’t wait that long?

You’ll find more Cass in SEDUCED BY AN ANGEL, where he plays Bad Boy and tries to steal his best friend’s gal. (Naughty! :-) )

Western romance, historical romance, americana romance, western historical romance, Pistols and Petticoats, Shady Lady

Apr 15

A PROMISE OF MORE – Releases today!

APromiseofMore-BannerTourIt’s release day for A Promise of More, book #2 in my Disgraced Lords series, and my blog tour is under way. I’m running a contest where you can win

1. A $25 Gift Card and an eBook of A Kiss of Lies

2. 3 x bundles of A Kiss of Lies and A Promise of More eBooks

Blurb:
In the second novel in Bronwen Evans’s sexy new Disgraced Lords series, two very independent souls find themselves fighting to resist a deepening passion.

When Beatrice Hennessey sets out to confront Lord Coldhurst, the notorious rogue who killed her brother in a duel, her intent is to save her family from destitution. She’s determined to blackmail the man into a loveless marriage. She’ll make the wealthy Lord Coldhurst pay for the rest of his life. But while greeting his ship, Beatrice takes a tumble into the Thames—only to be fished out by a pair of strong masculine arms that tempt her to stay locked in their heated embrace forever. That is, until she realizes those arms belong to Sebastian Hawkestone, Lord Coldhurst himself.

The little drowned mermaid has an interesting proposition indeed; one that Sebastian is surprised to find quite agreeable. Although he’s had women more beautiful, she is pleasing to the eye, and besides, it’s time he fathered an heir. Beatrice promises to be the ideal wife; a woman who hates him with an all-consuming passion is far too sensible to expect romance. However, it isn’t long before Sebastian’s plan for a marriage of convenience unravels, and he’s caught up in the exhilarating undertow of seduction.

Excerpt:

Sebastian studied her steadily and said, “You look absolutely petrified at the thought of sharing my bed. Has no one explained what goes on between a man and a woman?”

Beatrice nodded and looked away. She would have to tell him something. “I had a friend, a very dear friend. She had an experience that wasn’t very pleasant, and her experience has not made me look forward to intimate relations with any man.”

“So you are afraid? This friend of yours, her lover obviously wasn’t very skilled if all she felt was pain. No woman should feel any pain if her lover prepares her correctly.”

Beatrice turned to face him. “I feel inclined to believe you, since many women want APromiseofMore-200x267to share your bed.”

“Have you never experienced desire? For any man? Or a woman perhaps?”

“Woman?” She puzzled over that while she took a deep breath. “No. I guess I’ve been a coward.”

“You must have been desperate as you broke your rule—you propositioned me.”

She could hardly deny it. “Yes. My family was desperate and I blamed you for our situation.”

“I suppose your father and your brother didn’t help raise your esteem of men in general. Did your mother not have the power to sway your father or your brother at all?”

“No. She had no idea how to manage them.”

Sebastian’s mouth curved cynically; Beatrice instinctively knew he’d never allow any woman to “manage” him. “We should go to bed. We’ve got a big day tomorrow. I’ve agreed to stand up for Christian, but then I’d also like to get back to London as soon as possible.”

Beatrice glanced over her shoulder at the large bed behind her and took a deep breath. She quickly looked back at her husband. Thankfully he wasn’t the man she thought he was, but he was still incredibly dangerous. Apart from his sensual charm and heartbreaker handsomeness, Sebastian Hawkestone possessed a potent quality that beckoned and lured, a compelling vitality that called to everything deeply feminine within her. Despite her fear about what went on in the marriage bed, she was also very vulnerable to him. The last thing she should do was fall in love with, or have feelings for, her husband, the man who made no secret that he despised love. A man who was only looking for someone to bear his children.

“I can see your mind thinking. Don’t let your fear cloud your judgment. You should empty your mind and put your trust in me to show you pleasures you have never dreamed of. Can you do that? For one night, your wedding night, can you trust the man you married?”

Her breath caught in her throat at the images his promise conjured in her mind. That and the seductive sensuality in his eyes held her so spellbound she couldn’t reply.

His gaze dropped to her lips. “Come here, Beatrice.”

She stared at him, still dazed by the seductive tone in his voice.

“You promised to obey me when you married me this morning. Come here. I promise you’ll enjoy it.”

Warily she searched his face, darkened in the shadows, but it was the faint line of stubble along his jaw, lending his handsome features a dangerous intensity, that made her evade his gaze. Sebastian’s vital masculinity didn’t exactly intimidate her, but she would be wise to remain uneasy, for the forbidden sensations he aroused so easily in her both frightened and titillated. The raw, powerful sexuality emanating from him was palpable, the unspoken tension between them very real.

Restless and adrift in unfamiliar sensations, she finally obeyed him and got to her feet, moving across the small space to stand in front of him. He reached out and took her hand and pulled her closer until she was standing between his legs.

“Give me your hand, sweetheart. Touch me . . .” He guided her hand to his face. “I am flesh and blood, just like you. I don’t want to hurt you. I want to teach you all the pleasures that a man and woman can share.”

He made her breathless, fluttery inside. And yet there was something warm and tender in his eyes that doused her fear.

“This doesn’t frighten you, does it?” he asked, drawing her fingers to his lips, letting her touch him there.

“No . . . ,” she murmured truthfully.

He pulled her gently down until she sat in his lap. His strong arms came around her to cradle her tightly against his chest. His face was so close to hers she could see the tiny lines at the corners of his eyes. Laughter lines, her mother would call them, and it warmed her even more. He brought his mouth close to her and brushed her lips with his. They were warm and soft. Soft as the caress of a butterfly’s wing. An unmistakable yearning flooded Beatrice along with an unfamiliar hunger she could only call desire.

She stared at him, dazed, as he drew back.

The husky texture of his voice stroked her as brazenly as the hand that rose to graze the line of her jaw. “Have you never been kissed before?”

She shook her head. His beauty robbed her of all speech.

He brought his head down once more and pressed his lips firmly against her mouth. His kiss was like nothing she had ever dreamed. His mouth was hot, wet, open against hers, bold and excitingly intimate. Her nostrils filled with his scent. Her mouth tasted his brandy flavor as shocking pleasure assaulted her senses.

The kiss went on, and on, and on, until she felt as though she were drowning. Drowning in feelings. Drowning in emotions that she wasn’t sure she wanted to feel. Reluctantly his mouth pulled away from hers, and he drew in a deep breath while capturing her gaze.

“Did you feel that? Did you feel the same fire I did? The signs are all there. Your pulse has quickened, your skin is flushed. Your body responds to mine.”

Her heart racing, Beatrice sat in his arms trying to analyze the perfectly described sensations that were overwhelming her. She couldn’t believe she was indeed feeling this way, experiencing powerful, forbidden sensations for a man she had only known for a day, a man she really didn’t know at all. Never had she had such a primal reaction to a man, and it frightened her. She wanted to feel pleasure but nothing more. With just one kiss she was certain Sebastian could make her feel far too much.

In all her twenty-five years, no man had ever stirred her the way one look from Sebastian could.

His eyes darkened with sensuality like a cloud-covered night. Captivated, she stared into them.

His voice dropped lower. “Shall we retire, my lady?”

She didn’t protest when he stood with her in his arms and made his way across to the bed, which Beatrice eyed with trepidation, her mouth suddenly dry.

He looked down into her face, his gaze locking with hers. “Bridal nerves are not uncommon. I understand your nervousness, but I promise you have nothing to fear.”

“In this area, the intricate workings of pleasure, I curtsey to your experience. I trust you not to hurt me.” Not to hurt me physically, that is, Beatrice added to herself. The man had the power to hurt her emotionally if she let him.

She took a deep breath, chastising herself for being such a mouse. She was the one who had asked to become his bride, and agreed she would share his bed and provide him with children. Now it was her turn to uphold her end of the bargain, especially as it had turned out he was probably not guilty of the crime she’d thought him guilty of.

“Do you know what is supposed to happen between us?” he asked as he gently laid her on the bed.

“As I said before, I have an idea. But perhaps I have not been given the right information. I was told generally what to expect. That I should be prepared to submit and it will be painful the first time in particular.”

His eyes softened. “There will be a brief moment of pain, but after that, I promise you, you will find lovemaking quite pleasurable.”

“Half the women in England would not have rushed to your bed if you were not expert at what you do, my lord.”

“Sebastian. And it has not been quite that many.” His faint smile held more than a hint of charm. “I shall do my utmost to justify your faith in me.”

Beatrice searched his compelling eyes, finding a tenderness there that amazingly reassured her.

“I hope I do not disappoint you,” she said as she looked up into his face.

His brows drew together thoughtfully. “Disappoint?”

“You never wanted to marry me, and for all I know you never wanted to marry at all. I want to try and be a good wife to you.”

“I’m happy with this arrangement. I always knew I would marry and sire an heir. I just didn’t realize it would happen so fast.” A half smile flashed across his mouth before he gave a graceful shrug of his shoulders. “It’s too late now for recriminations or deliberations on our marriage.”

“I regret that I trapped you into an unwanted marriage,” Beatrice replied, her voice rough with emotion. “Especially as it seems I have made a grave error of judgment.”

Sebastian rose over her, the muscles of his arms taut as he leaned above her, commanding her attention. “Let’s not regret the past. We both agreed that we were not unhappy with this marriage. I don’t want to spend tonight dwelling on regrets.” His dark eyes held her spellbound. “Do you think we could make a pact, sweetheart? For tonight we forget everything else, we forget your brother, we forget how it was that we came to be in this position.”

“I would like that.”

“So would I.” His voice was hushed. “This is our night. Nothing exists before or after this moment. Tonight we celebrate our union and start the marriage as we mean to go on. Friends.”

“Yes,” she whispered. Friends would be safest‑for her anyway.

Don’t forget to enter the contest….

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Apr 09

Shana Galen – Regency Slang

Color Shana Galen H-R-2118Love Historicals is excited to have best-selling historical author, Shana Galen visiting today. It’s my pleasure to introduce Shana, (it’s Bron here) because Shana was good enough to provide a cover quote for A Kiss of Lies.

I remember meeting her at the RWA 2012 conference. I was such a newbie author and it was my first RWA, but she took time from her busy schedule to listen and answer my questions. Thank you!

Please welcome Shana. She has a fabulous giveaway for one lucky reader and, isn’t the cover of her latest book, Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend (Jewels of the Ton), beautiful?

Regency Slang
by Shana Galen

I’ve always been fascinated by slang. I remember as a kid I liked using the slang I heard in the Star Wars movies. I’d tell other kids, “Now you’re Bantha fodder!” Yeah. I got some weird looks.

When I was in high school, I fell in love with the 1940s. The famous jazz singer, Cab Calloway, wrote a jive dictionary that I just adored. I still love his songs, like “Are You Hep to the Jive” with lines like, “Whaddya say, gate? Are you in the know, or are you a solid bringer-downer?”

But I don’t write books set in the Star Wars universe or even the 1940s. My books are set in Regency England, and if you’ve ever read a Regency romance, you know the novels have their own lexicon. Maybe that’s what attracted me to the period.

Recently I started writing a new series I’m calling the Covent Garden Cubs. A cub SapphiresareanearlsbestfriendAPPROVED-300is a cant (slang) word for a young thief. I’d been writing about courtesans, which was a lot of fun. I adore the glittering world of the demimonde, but I also wanted to dip a toe in another part of the Regency world—the part most of the people living in London were familiar with: the underworld. The hero is an earl, so he’s not all that familiar with thieves’ cant, and that made some of the character’s verbal exchanges pretty funny (to me, at least!).

But I have to say the thing I found the most interesting about Regency cant was how much of it we still use today. The words even mean pretty much the same thing thieves used them to mean 200 years ago. This actually created a dilemma for me because if I used certain period cant phrases, they sounded too modern. I was afraid the reader would think I was being anachronistic. Throwing in a “modern” phrase also means I’d run the risk of jarring the reader out of my historical setting. I had to be careful which phrases I chose because I wanted to be sure 1) the reader could figure out what they meant from context, and 2) the phrases didn’t sound too modern.

Here are a few examples of “modern” phrases that aren’t so modern.

Down—aware of a thing; knowing it.

In the Regency, a house-breaker might say, “There is no down,” meaning the people in the house are asleep or not alert. That’s not so far from some of the phrases we use today, like “Are you down with that?” or “Keep it on the down low.”

And what would the house-breaker call his fellow house-breakers? His cronies or possibly his gang. We still use gang as a label for a group of miscreants or kids up to no good.

There were other words I wanted to use but were afraid they weren’t in circulation in that period. To my surprise, many of the words we associate with crime were familiar to people in the Regency. Some of these include snitch, fence, to grease (bribe), job (like do a job; robbery), and pig (police officer or Bow Street Runner).

Interestingly, the word rap, which I didn’t have occasion to use, meant to take a false oath or curse. For example, “He rapped out a volley,” meaning he swore a lot of false oaths. Isn’t that similar to the definition of rap/rappers we have today?

By the same token, the word rogue, which shows up as part of the title of many Regency romances (including one of mine), didn’t have the meaning it has today. Today it’s sort of a compliment, meaning someone who goes out on his own or a man who is a little debauched (not a word we use a lot today!). In the Regency, a rogue was more or less a thief or a person who made a living by dishonest means. The arch rogue was the leader of a gang of thieves, think Fagin in Dickens’s Oliver Twist.

Just for fun, I thought I’d give you a little quiz. See how you do.

  1. Dub the jigger means
    1. stab the man.
    2. open the door.
    3. bribe an official.
  2. Dead cargo is
    1. worthless booty.
    2. a man who’s been hung.
    3. a lazy rogue.
  3. A flash ken is
    1. a rich man’s house.
    2. a container to hold gunpowder.
    3. a safe house for thieves.

 

I’ll post the answers later today, and I’ll be checking in to answer comments all day too. One person who comments will win a copy of my new release Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend (open internationally).

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Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Booklist says, “Galen expertly entwines espionage-flavored intrigue with sizzling passion,” and RT Bookreviews calls her “a grand mistress of the action/adventure subgenre.” She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers, so send her an email or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Apr 08

Wedding Traditions

Wedding-Nash-Loving_cup_Tidbits_FreebieToday is my wedding anniversary. We all remember the day we got married, although some would probably rather forget it. In my case, a couple of things stand out in my memory. During the ceremony the priest was drunk and poured sweat all over the bible. Later, during the reception, as my groom and I were dancing our first dance together as husband and wife, my husband’s grandfather turned to my mother, pointed to my new husband, and said as casually as can be, “His father murdered my daughter.”

Today I thought we’d take a look at wedding customs and where they came from.

The bridal bouquet. Can you imagine walking down the isle carrying a string of garlic? In medieval times that’s what brides did, the practice most probably stemming from the time of the plague when people clutched herbs over their noses and mouths to survive. Fortunately for us, the plague is not a problem, and a bouquet of flowers is so much prettier.

Throwing the garter. In medieval England and France it was called fingering the stocking. If that sounds gross, it is, considering that the purpose was for the guests to go into the bridal chamber to check the bride’s stockings to make sure the marriage had been consummated. These days the groom tossing the garter is sufficient to appease the clamoring crowds.

Bridesmaids’ dresses. There was a time when the bridesmaids dressed exactly the same as the bride. While this practice stole the limelight from the bride, it was also believed that evil spirits would have a hard time finding her if she and her bridesmaids all looked alike. Makes sense, I guess. Fast forward to Victorian times when the bridesmaids wore white dresses but short veils to contrast with the bride’s long veil. Today, commercial dyes make all those hideous bridesmaids’ dresses possible. You have to wonder if some brides choose the worst-looking dresses for their bridesmaids so that they’re not upstaged. No bride would do that, would she?

The bridal veil. Consider the multi-purpose veil. Not only was it worn to hide the bride from evil spirits (there’s those evil spirits again), but in some arranged marriages the groom didn’t see the bride until the veil was lifted. One can only imagine the embarrassing results if he didn’t like what he saw.

The honeymoon. In Norse tradition, the bride and groom went into hiding for 30 days, during which a friend or family member would bring them a cup of honey wine. Thus, 30 days of drinking honey wine would equal a honeymoon.

The big wedding. In this consumer society it’s no big deal to shell out huge sums for a big, showy wedding. But what about those poor frontier girls who not only couldn’t afford a lavish wedding, but they often didn’t even have access to a preacher? If you’ve ever wondered where the “common law” marriage came from, it was from the acknowledgment and legalization of a marriage where the frontier couple simply moved in together. Not so different from a lot of modern relationships.

The wedding dress.  The next time you’re watching Say Yes To The Dress, remember that there was a time when a girl’s wedding dress was whatever she could find in her closet. It didn’t matter if it was green, blue or black. It was Queen Victoria who made white fashionable for brides.

The wedding cake. For some crazy reason, modern-day brides and grooms take perverse fun in smashing the cake into each other’s faces. Which I guess is better than in days of old when the groom would bite off a piece of barley bread and then hold the remaining loaf over his beloved’s head and shower her with crumbs in a sign of male dominance.

Putting the cake in the freezer. Why anyone would think eating left-over freezer-burned wedding cake is a good idea is beyond me. But back then it was pretty much assumed that a baby’s christening would shortly follow the wedding, so why bake two cakes when you could bake one big one and save some for the christening?

I’m sure these old traditions provided many brides through the ages with memories they’d rather forget. What about you? Any mishaps on your wedding day that you can laugh about now? After all these years I can laugh about the drunken priest. As for the other memory, it wasn’t true, but that’s a story for another day.

 

 

 

Apr 06

A Kiss of Lies – SALE $0.99c

It’s my birthday week! April 3rd saw me turn another year wiser, unfortunately older too. I thought it made a great birthday present having book #2 in my Disgraced Lords series, A Promise of More releasing on April 15th. But Random House Loveswept have given my readers more, book#1, A KISS OF LIES is on SALE at $0.99c until April 13th.

Here’s a taste of A KISS OF LIES. Sarah is rubbing liniment into Christian’s shoulder which is stiff from his burns…

He shifted painfully in the chair, his hardness pushing at the opening in his

A Kiss of Lies by Bronwen Evans

A Kiss of Lies by Bronwen Evans

breeches. If she looked down, she’d see her powerful effect on him.

Her hands stilled, and she looked at him in concern. “Am I hurting you? Is it too much?”

“No. It hurts just to look at you. You’re so beautiful.”

She ignored his comment, working her fingers deep into the muscles. “How did it happen?”

Memories assailed him. He almost gagged remembering the smell of his burnt flesh. She noted his reaction.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked.”

He took a deep breath. “It’s silly, I know, but sometimes I can still hear the crackle of the flames, feel their heat on my skin, and smell my own flesh burning.”

She placed her fingers over his lips to hush him.

He pulled away. “No one has ever asked me about this before. Perhaps I should talk about it. It might chase away the ghosts.” She stood waiting expectantly. “A band of us were trying to take out a French cannon. The wagon on which it sat collapsed, and I was trapped under it.”

With a puzzled expression, Sarah said, “At my interview, you mentioned a woman had set fire to you.”

He briefly closed his eyes. He could still remember exactly what she looked like—young, pretty, deadly.

“When the wagon collapsed, a Frenchman fell from it and broke his neck. Maybe he was her lover. She decided to vent her anger on me. She walked to the fire, picked up a burning stick, and lit the gunpowder around the wagon. Then she stood back to watch me die an agonizing death. Thankfully, my friend and fellow soldier, Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, was there to save me. It took him longer than I’d have wished,” he added with a sad smile.

Sarah gaped in horror. “What cowardice! What a dishonorable thing to do! She lit it deliberately, knowing you were trapped? How could she be that cruel? How could any woman…?” She shivered despite the heat. “I could never do that to another human being.”

He gave a wry smile. “I’ve learned that gender is no indication of the cruelty a person is capable of.”

“But to destroy something so beautiful . . .” She stood quite still. A blush swamped her cheeks, and her eyes traveled over the rest of him, starting at his face and moving down his neck, over his torso, then down past his stomach to his groin. There they stopped. There they rested—like a caress.

One of her hands unconsciously followed the pathway of her eyes, running over his chest—until she snatched it away, horrified at what she’d just done. She dropped her hands from his body and stepped back.

The room filled with tension, and the air crackled like the moments before a thunderstorm.

Hope flared in his soul as she took a step nearer. He could read the confusion on her face. She was tempted. She was afraid. She desperately wanted to touch him.

He almost reached up and pulled her into his lap, but that wasn’t the way to win her. Good things come to those who wait. He had a sea voyage of several weeks in which to seduce her. She wanted to learn about passion. He sensed she needed it like a healing balm. On board this ship he’d have no competition for her affections from other men.

No. He shook his head to clear it of her intoxicating scent. He’d not ruin it all with a callow, rushed attempt. Time was what was needed, and he had plenty of it.

He rotated his shoulder. “Thank you, Sarah. That does indeed feel much better.” He gathered up his shirt and pulled it over his head.

She quickly collected herself. “I’m pleased to have helped. I’ll administer the liniment each night, and I’d advise you to keep the arm and shoulder active during the day so the muscles don’t stiffen up so much.”

With that she bid him goodnight and hurried to her stateroom.

Christian sat in the chair for several minutes trying to get his rioting heart and hardened body under control.

How ironic to finally find a woman who desired him, burns and all, but who was afraid of passion.

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Apr 03

An Englishman Invented the Kilt?

The writer of medieval romance who wants to feature Scottish heroes and heroines must be careful when speaking of tartans. Tartan as we know it today is not thought to have existed in Scotland before the 16th century.

The earliest documented tartan in Britain, known as the “Falkirk” tartan, dates from the 3rd century AD. It was uncovered at Falkirk in Stirlingshire, Scotland, about 400 meters north-west of the Antonine Wall. The fragment was stuffed into the mouth of an earthenware pot containing almost 2,000 Roman coins. It is the largest hoard of Roman coins ever discovered in Scotland. earliest tartan

On 9 August 1933 workmen were leveling a small hill, removing the sand, when one of them hit a Roman jar with his spade. It broke on lifting and a hard metallic cluster covered in mold fell out along with the remains of a piece of cloth. Fragments from this metal lump were clearly silver coins and the find was claimed as Treasure Trove. After cleaning, some 1,925 silver coins were identified; others having been taken from the scene by workmen suggest that the original hoard was of around 2,000 coins.

The earliest coin had been struck in 83 BC, while Rome was still a Republic, and the latest had been minted for Alexander Severus in 230 AD. Many were worn and had clearly been in circulation for some time before being added to the stash. The extended date range suggests that the hoard was collected over a considerable period of time, probably from around 160 AD to 230 AD; that is to say after the Roman abandonment of Scotland. The location of the hoard and date range all suggest that it was amassed not by a Roman but by a native.

The hoard was discovered some 7 feet below ground in a filled in pit or ditch and must have been buried at a time of emergency, one in which the owner died, and with him the knowledge of its location.

The piece of cloth is assumed to have closed off the mouth of the red pottery vessel. Although small, it is of a type known as weft-woven (or dog-tooth) check in woolen fabric. It has a simple check design of natural light and dark wool. Early forms of tartan like this are thought to have been invented in pre-Roman times, and would have been popular among the inhabitants of the northern Roman provinces.

The heroine of my novel Fatal Truths is a Scot, and I wanted to convey this on the cover of the book. The temptation was to add a typical tartan, but the story takes place in 1136 AD. My designer, Steven Novak, came up with a subtle band of tartan featuring more or less the colors of the Falkirk tartan.

Fatal Truths by Anna Markland

Elayne Douenald wears a playd in the story, which is a sort of checkered shawl of brown and grey wool.

By the late 16th century there are numerous references to striped or checkered plaids. It is not until the late 17th or early 18th century that any kind of uniformity in tartan is thought to have occurred. Martin Martin, in A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, published in 1703, wrote that Scottish tartans could be used to distinguish the inhabitants of different regions. He expressly wrote that the inhabitants of various islands and the mainland of the Highlands were not all dressed alike, but that the colors of the various tartans varied from isle to isle. As he does not mention the use of a special pattern by each family, it would appear that such a distinction is a modern one.

The kilt, however, came much later. The standard outer garment for men was a leine-chrioch, a kind of shirt whose tails came below the knee, dyed saffron yellow and made from as much as 24 ells (about 9 meters) of pleated linen. This in time gave way to the feileadh mór (big wrap) whose name perfectly describes the plaid, the normal Highland dress for men during the 17th and 18th centuries.

feileadh morThe plaid was a huge blanket of woven cloth, about 2 meters in breadth and between 4 and 6 meters long. To put it on, the Highlander lay down on it, with the lower of the two longer sides just about knee level, and wrapped it around himself, fastening a belt round his middle to keep the thing together.

Then he stood up and draped the top half around his torso, and sometimes over his head, depending on the weather.

The material from which the plaid was made was striped or tartan, which is not a Highland word, but which means checked or with stripes crossing at right angles. The English word tartan is derived from the French tiretain which is probably derived from the verb tirer (to pull) in reference to woven cloth.

bonnie prince charlie

Bonnie Prince Charlie

The suggestion that the kilt was invented by an Englishman sends shimmers of persecution mania through many Scottish traditionalists.

In the aftermath of the rebellion of 1715 the British government appointed General George Wade as Commander-in-Chief of Scotland to keep the clans in order. To aid in this process he embarked in 1726 on a massive road building program which by 1740 had produced 243 miles of serviceable roads and forty new bridges. This opened up Scotland for new opportunities and one of the first to take advantage was Thomas Rawlinson, a Quaker ironmaster from Lancashire. In 1727 he established an iron foundry at Invergarry, near Inverness, to be worked by men of Clan MacDonell on whose territory it stood.

Rawlinson is said to have realized that the plaid was not the ting to wear for felling trees and stoking furnaces. He commissioned the regimental tailor at Inverness, whose name was Parkinson, to adapt the paid to make it more suitable for manual labor. Parkinson achieved the modern kilt by separating the bottom half of the plaid and sewing the pleats so they remained in place.

The invention seems to have caught on. By 1745 the well-dressed Highland gentleman’s wardrobe comprised a bonnet, tartan jacket and vest, tartan kilt; tartan belted plaid, trews, stockings with yellow garters and two pairs of brogues.

Since my heroes reside in the 11th and 12th centuries, they won’t be wearing kilts!

By the way, Fatal Truths is FREE April 8, 9 & 10, only on Amazon.

Mar 25

Adrienne deWolfe: Humor from the VELVET LIES Series

Last month, I shared my deep secret about writing humor:

It happens by accident — largely because a character blurts out something hilarious.

Well, that was certainly true for the humorous one-liners that I excerpted from the dialogue in my bestselling WILD TEXAS NIGHTS series.

But things happened a bit differently in my VELVET LIES series.  Writing this post was an interesting exercise for me, because I came to realize just how much of the VELVET LIES series relies on situational humor rather than punchlines. Situational humor requires a set-up, so you’ll see lengthier excerpts here than you did in the WILD TEXAS NIGHTS post.

I hope ya’ll get a chuckle out of the Jones family and their friends as they romp through Victorian America, circa 1881!  ~ Adrienne deWolfe

Western historical romance, paranormal romance, americana romance, kentucky novel, texas novel, texas author

SCOUNDREL FOR HIRE (Book 1)

Silver and Rafe (who is impersonating a geologist)

“I spent most of my youth in…” Hesitating, he cast her a sideways glance. Where would a lawless sport be safe from female busy bodies? “Abilene.”

“Abilene?” Her eyes twinkled as they laughed up at him. “Oh my. A geologist in a cowtown. I can just imagine what you must have dug up.”

HIS WICKED DREAM (Book 2)

Michael and Eden:

“This isn’t a church social. Do you have any idea what your father’s going to do when he finds out you’ve been holed up in a stable with a man? A bad man?”

“You’re not so bad.” She cast him a sideways look. “Apart from your manners.”

SEDUCED BY AN ANGEL (Book 3)

Sera (lamenting the explosion of her jelly jars:)

“Why don’t I just advertise in the Trumpeter that I’m a kitchen failure and pack my bags for a convent?”

SCOUNDREL FOR HIRE (Book 1)

Rafe (who is impersonating the British fop, Lord Chumley)

“Money is monstrous tedious, old chap. It’s always attracting tax collectors, solicitors, and long-lost kin. Why, just last month, some dying old fellow named me his heir. Turned me into a duke. Bloody inconsiderate, if you ask me. Now everywhere I travel in your American West, cowboys are calling me ‘Grace.’”

HIS WICKED DREAM (Book 2)

Eden and Collie (a 15-year-old orphan:)

“M-my cat.” Eden managed weakly, noticing how the boy’s blade pointed expertly in her direction. “What are you going to do?”

“Eat it.”

“But she’s my pet!”

“Looks like it’s time to get a dog.”

SEDUCED BY AN ANGEL (Book 3)

Sera: (speaking to Jesse about the county bake-off:)

“I realize you’re just a man,” she said in long-suffering tones, “and that culinary skullduggery is completely out of your element, but you might at least try to understand the dire consequences of losing a blue ribbon to a gopher-cheeked ninny like Puddin’ Puddocks.”

SCOUNDREL FOR HIRE (Book 1)

Rafe (impersonating the British fop, Lord Chumley, and speaking about his pet otter)

“Pish posh, my dear Silver. Tavy adores you. Why, until she’d met you, she didn’t have the foggiest notion what lavender soap and lip paint were for. I daresay she’s developed quite a taste for them.”

HIS WICKED DREAM (Book 2)

Eden and Sera

“A Kentucky gentleman—like my dear brother Michael—would know how to kiss a lady. But I don’t have to tell you that, do I, Eden?”

Eden cast her friend an exasperated look. “Don’t you have anything better to do besides torment me?”

Sera beamed. “I can’t think of a thing.”

SEDUCED BY AN ANGEL (Book 3)

Sera: “Well?”

Collie: “Well, what?”

Sera: “What do you think of the strawberry preserves?”

Collie: “They ain’t yours, that’s for sure.”

Sera: “How can you tell?”

Collie: “For one thing, the jars didn’t explode.”

SCOUNDREL FOR HIRE (Book 1)

Rafe and Silver (negotiating Rafe’s wage)

“Y-you wouldn’t dare tell Papa about our agreement!”

“Not for five hundred dollars,” he lied soothingly. “After all, you did spare me from spending the night in jail.”

“Your gratitude overwhelms me, Mr. Jones.”

HIS WICKED DREAM (Book 2)

Eden and Michael:

Michael tried to look stern as he crossed to her bed. “You’re supposed to ingest your medicine on an empty stomach, Eden.”

“Have I told you you’re a tyrant?”

“Frequently.”

“Has it sunk in yet?”

SEDUCED BY AN ANGEL (Book 3)

Sera: “I have half a mind to tell the mayor what a dastardly debaucher his new marshal turned out to be.”

Jesse (smirking): “Think Walter will increase my pay?”

Sneak Peek: SHADY LADY (from the Western Historical Romance Anthology, PISTOLS AND PETTICOATS, due out next month)

Sadie: “You are a pest. And pests should be spanked.”

Cass (grinning wickedly:) “Never argue with a lady. That’s my motto.”

Scoundrel for Hire, His Wicked Dream, Seduced By An Angel, Historical Romance, Western Romance, Americana Romance, Paranormal Romance

Mar 21

Bodice Rippers? I Think Not. #lovehistoricals #bodiceripper

 

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

The term “bodice rippers” still turns up occasionally in reference to historical romance. (I just saw it in a lovely article about iconic author LaVyrle Spencer who hasn’t written a book since the 1990s.) We can blame the term on the circa 1972 works in the genre where readers are invited to watch as the ship’s captain takes advantage of the girl he mistakenly thinks is a prostitute, or the lord of the manor forcibly seduces an unwilling, buxom maiden. In either case, and in a true suspension of disbelief, the romance unfolds as the aggressor falls in love with his victim who happens to be the one woman in the universe to awaken his cold, aloof heart; and she, in a sort of twisted Stockholm syndrome, understands him and manages to ignore that their relationship began with what we liberated women, if we read the scenario in the newspaper, would define as sexual assault.

Even way back when, this wasn’t the blueprint for every historical romance’s first physical encounter. Sometimes we were shown a gentle wedding night consummation, though the man was always rich, sexually dominant and experienced as he coaxed his demure but increasingly passionate bride to…well, you know how that scene ends. My point is, that even in the early days, not every historical romance featured a man who tore off a frightened, guiltily titillated woman’s clothes. Yet these books were all called “bodice rippers” and the term still dogs the genre today.

Those early books opened the door to sexuality across many genres, allowing the as yet unseen to be seen. And I’d say the doors are completely off the hinges now, as readers have gone from eating crumbs that only hinted at naughty happenings in Jane Austen’s gothic spoof Northanger Abbey, to eagerly consuming the break-out work of Kathleen Woodiwiss who brought the bedroom into mainstream, to devouring near porn with the 50 Shades phenomenon that has made erotic romance all the rage. (Erotica has existed for thousands of years, it just wasn’t considered grocery store reading material for decent women until, oh, 2011. And yes, I know erotica is not the same as erotic romance.)

Is “bodice ripper” a fair or relevant term any longer? Some readers want their bodices ripped. I mean, if you’re willing to let some guy tie you up and flog you, what harm can a little torn clothing do? Hell, some readers want  to see bodices ripped by more than one partner. (You definitely can’t lay that predilection at historical romance’s doorstep because the typical historical romance hero will rip a man limb from limb for even imagining a menage with his heroine.)

Even on the monogamous side of current writing, such as in Rosalind James’s wonderful contemporary romance Just This Once, a few buttons go flying from a very consenting heroine’s blouse. Her lover promises to buy her a new one. While that interaction serves the story in other ways — i.e., subtly warning of the upcoming conflict between the wealthy hero and the independent heroine —  it still shows a dominant male asserting himself over his chosen mate.

His actions say, “I will uncover you. I will touch you. I will buy you things.”

Romance readers love this stuff. I love this stuff.

So, yes, perhaps the term “bodice ripper” is relevant in as much as scenes still exist where clothing is forcibly removed. To be fair, though, it doesn’t apply exclusively to historical romance and hasn’t for a long time.

My book Unbidden received a recent review in which the reviewer said, “As expected, the story line has ups and downs, but the strength of both characters, and especially David’s respect for Rochelle, kept me turning each page as fast as I could read and savor every word.” The phrase that I put in bold pleased me more than any other thing any other reviewer has ever said about that book, because that is what I try to write and what I enjoy reading.

Here is a short blurb for my kind of book: decent, desirable man pursues consenting, independent adult woman. Or vice versa. If the bodice gets ripped after a mutually respectful relationship is established, then so be it, though I can honestly say I’ve never ruined anyone’s clothing in a love scene I’ve written. Yet.

I don’t think the negative connotation of “bodice ripper” is deserved any longer, especially in the historical romance genre. We may have invented it, but the days of overly physically aggressive heroes seem to be behind us, replaced by the organized dominant/submissive relationship launched by the 50 Shades phenomenon. This new genre depicts BDSM romance with 100% consensual interactions, rules, safety words, and yes, sometimes flogs. Because let’s be honest, that is partly what attracted readers to those early historical romances: dominance and submission and getting to watch.

There are few, if any, authors writing stories where rape turns into true love, or even where a woman’s insistent “no” is sleazily turned to a “yes” that leads to happily ever after. If someone is writing it, then those books are in a genre all their own, and if someone knows what that genre is, put it in the comments below. I haven’t found it and I’m not going to go looking for it.

jill hughey

Let’s allow bodice ripper to become a historical term — like penny press, perhaps —  that refers back to reading material of bygone days. Still relevant and entertaining, but not necessarily what is being printed now. If you choose to call a current book a bodice ripper, make sure it contains at least one scene in which characters are truly tearing one another’s clothing. Otherwise, call it what it is. The genre choices are almost infinite these days!

 

Learn more about Jill Hughey at http://www.lovehistoricals.com/historical-romance-authors/jill-hughey/

Mar 17

The Irish Wolfhound

This seems like an appropriate time for an article about the Irish Wolfhound, particularly since the real hero of my latest release belongs to that breed!

Several of my books feature dogs, but you have to be careful when writing medieval romance. Some breeds that are popular today didn’t exist in medieval times. Also, medieval people kept dogs mainly for hunting, so an author has to be cautious not to make them too “pet-like”. That’s hard though. Boden and Brigantia, the mastiffs in If Love Dares Enough are obviously part of the family.

While researching Carried Away which is set in medieval Germany I discovered an interesting medieval breed I’d never heard of before, the hovawart. Dieter von Wolfenberg claims he keeps the dog for its value as a fierce watchdog, but it’s evident he cares for the animal.

Anyway, I digress. The wolfhound in Fatal Truths is named Faol, Gaelic for wolfhound.

The name originates from its purpose, wolf hunting, rather than from its appearance. The breed was originally developed from war hounds to one used for hunting and guarding. Irish Wolfhounds can be an imposing sight due to their formidable size; they are the tallest of all dog breeds.

The American Kennel Club describes the breed this way:”Of great size and commanding appearance, the Irish Wolfhound is remarkable in combining power and swiftness with keen sight. The largest and tallest of the galloping hounds, in general type he is a rough-coated, Greyhound-like breed; very muscular, strong though gracefully built; movements easy and active; head and neck carried high, the tail carried with an upward sweep with a slight curve towards the extremity”

wolfhound

Attila-Wikimedia Commons

In actuality, the Irish wolfhound is the tallest of the galloping hounds. However, the wolfhound is not to be confused with being the heaviest, as its structure should be similar to that of a Greyhound, or any sight-hound for that matter (examples being whippets and Afghan hounds). Wolfhounds have a very broad and deep chest that tucks up.

The Irish wolfhound was bred for long solitary hunts based solely on the dog’s ability to visualize its landscape and perceive, unlike scent hounds (such as Bloodhounds and Beagles) who rely on scent rather than sight. For this reason, the neck of an Irish wolfhound is long with the head held high. It should appear as if it is fast enough to catch a wolf, and strong enough to kill it.

Faol doesn’t tangle with a wolf in Fatal Truths, but the brave hound does take on a lynx.

Fatal Truths by Anna Markland

Irish wolfhounds have a varied range of personalities and are most often noted for their personal quirks and individualism. Despite its large size, it is rarely found to be destructive in the house or boisterous. This is because the breed is generally introverted, intelligent, and reserved in character. An easygoing animal, Irish Wolfhounds are quiet by nature. They often create a strong bond with their family and can become morose if left alone for long periods of time.

An Irish wolfhound is not a guard dog and will protect individuals rather than the house or the owner’s possessions. However independent the wolfhound is, the breed becomes attached to owners, but they are generally somewhat stand-offish with total strangers. Most Wolfhounds are very gentle with children and relatively easy to train. They respond well to firm, but gentle, consistent leadership. However, historically these dogs were required to work at great distances from their masters and think independently when hunting rather than waiting for detailed commands. Faol certainly exhibits this trait in Fatal Truths.

Irish Wolfhounds are often favored for their loyalty, affection, patience and devotion. When protection is required this dog is never found wanting. When they or their family are in any perceived danger they display a fearless nature. They are guardians rather than guard dogs.

Like many large dog breeds, Irish Wolfhounds have a relatively short lifespan, with 7 years being the average. Heart problems and bone cancer are the leading cause of death and like all deep-chested dogs, bloat is common.

The breed is very old; there are suggestions it may have been brought to Ireland as early as 7000 BC. These dogs are mentioned, as in Irish law and literature dating from the 5th century. The word “Cu” often became an added respected prefix on the names of warriors as well as kings denoting that they were worthy of the respect and loyalty of a Cu.

Ancient wood cuts and writings have placed them in existence as a breed by 273 BC. However there is indication that huge dogs existed even as early as 600 BC when the Celts sacked Delphi. Survivors left accounts of the fierce Celts and the huge dogs who fought with them.

wolfhunt

Hunting Wolves with Wolfhounds-Wikimedia Commons

They were mentioned by Julius Caesar in The Gallic Wars, and by 391 AD, they were written about by Roman Consul, Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, who received seven of them, “canes Scotici”, as a gift to be used for fighting lions and bears.

Wolfhounds were bred as hunting dogs by the ancients, who called them Cú Faol. The Irish continued to breed them for this purpose, as well as to guard their homes and protect their stock.

During the English Conquest of Ireland which began in 1169, only the nobility were allowed to own Irish Wolfhounds, the numbers permitted depending on position. They were much coveted and were frequently given as gifts to important personages and foreign nobles. Wolfhounds were the companions of the regal. King John of England, in about 1210 presented an Irish hound to Llewellyn, a prince of Wales.

 

Now you know more about the breed, let me introduce you to Faol. He’s been sent to Normandie as a gift to the hero, Alex, a Norman Count, but takes a shine to Henry, one of two children in the story.

 

“Wait!” Laurent insisted, beckoning to one of the men-at-arms who had accompanied him. “Cousin Gallien has sent a gift.”

The man came forward pulling a dog on a leash. It was a shaggy-haired breed Elayne recognized, Cù Faol, kept by King Dabíd for hunting wolves, but she’d never seen one so tall. Halting in front of Alexandre, the handler braced himself as the dog put its massive paws up on his shoulders, towering over him. The beast looked down lazily at the group assembled in front of him, his tongue lolling out of his mouth, as if to say, “See how magnificent I am.”

Claricia crushed into the Comte’s legs and he put a protective hand on her shoulder. “What kind of dog is that?” he asked. “He’s a monster.”

“A wolfhound,” the handler replied. “Don’t worry. He looks fearsome, but he’s an obedient dog. Wolfhounds are gentle, only becoming fierce when provoked.”

“We have dogs like that in Scotland,” Henry asserted bravely.

The dog lost interest in his handler and licked Henry’s face. The boy laughed, pushing the persistent hound away playfully.

The soldier handed the leash to Laurent. “Seems he likes the young lad.”

“I think the feeling’s mutual,” Romain observed.

Apprehension skittered up Elayne’s spine when Laurent held out the leash to Henry. “Think you can handle him?”

Henry beamed as he took the leash and led the dog with legs longer than his own to the doors of the Keep. Elayne let out a long, slow breath. Her son’s regal bearing reminded her of his royal grandfather.

Smiling, Alexandre took Claricia by the hand. Elayne’s throat constricted. It seemed he really cared for her children. That augured well for their stay.

As the group moved indoors, Henry grinned at a well-dressed boy standing at the open door beside Steward Bonhomme. He looked about the same age as Henry, and he returned the smile, gawking at the huge dog.

It gladdened Elayne’s heart. Her son had made two friends.

amazonkindle

BTW I’ve just released a boxed set of the complete Montbryce Legacy Series. Four books at significant savings over buying each separately.

amazonkindle

Mar 06

Virginia Henley

We are thrilled and honored to welcome Virginia Henley as our first guest author. Tell us about yourself, Virginia.

MeSigningHeadShotMy passion is not writing books. History is my passion! I was born in England and learned at a very early age that British history is totally fascinating and absorbing.

I was over forty years old, married with two young sons, and living in Canada before the idea came to me to write a book. In l975 I read a book by Kathleen Woodiwiss that combined history with a sensual love story and I recognized immediately that I could write a historical romance.

It took me a year to complete my first novel and then began the frustrating process of submitting it to publishers who would only accept agented material. After four years I finally found an editor’s name at Avon Books. I wrote and asked if she’d look at it and she made me a modest offer on it. By this time I would have agreed to have it printed on toilet rolls if that was the only way I could get published.

THE IRISH GYPSY came out in l982 and I’ve written approximately one book a year since then. Altogether, I have written 28 long historicals, 6 novellas, and one short story.

My favorite period of history is the one I happen to be writing about. I love Medieval, Tudor, Elizabethan, Restoration, Georgian, Regency, Victorian and Edwardian.

Like every author I dreamed of making the New York Times Bestseller List, and I finally achieved my goal with my tenth book SEDUCED. Back in 1994 the NYT List only consisted of 15 titles. The first week I was number 14, and the second week SEDUCED jumped up to number 10, ahead of such illustrious authors as Dick Francis, James Patterson and Anne Rice. I was so elated, I climbed on the roof and shouted it to the world.

What do you do to promote your work? 

Bantam Doubleday Dell sent me on book tours and I bought full-page color ads in Romantic Times Magazine. I attended the yearly conferences of RT and Romance Writers of America where I met everyone in the business: Publishers, editors, distributors, salesmen, artists, cover models, other romance authors, and readers who brought books for me to sign.

I answer every fan letter as soon as I receive it, and the last few years it is usually by email. These days I use social media. I have a website, I use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. But I find it difficult to do both the writing and the promoting at the same time. To be effective, I can only do one or the other.

Tell us about your current series.

Each book I write stands on its own, but over the years I’ve gone back and written a couple of sequels. About five years ago, my editor informed me that Regencies were selling more than any other time period. So I decided to write a story about real people and real scandals of the Regency, which for me are far more fascinating that anything in fiction.

I wrote THE DECADENT DUKE about Lady Georgina Gordon, who married the Duke of Bedford and went to live at Woburn Abbey.

The following year I thought this extraordinary family would make a good series. The second book was THE IRISH DUKE about Lady Lu, a daughter of the Bedfords, who married the Duke of Abercorn.

The third book was THE DARK EARL, a daughter of the Abercorns who married the Earl of Lichfield.

The fourth and final book of the series that takes us into Victorian times is LORD RAKEHELL. This is the story of Lord James, the son and heir of the Duke of Abercorn, who was an attendant of Queen Victoria’s scandalous son, Edward. The Prince of Wales married Princess Alexandra of Denmark and eventually became King Edward VII.

LORD RAKEHELL was a November release in Trade Size, and will go on sale in mass paperback in December 2014.lord rakehell

How do you create sexual tension in your romances? 

I choose a hero who is dark, dominant and dangerous, and then I create a woman who is a match for him, or more than a match. I like to put my reader in bed between my hero and heroine and let her in on all their sensual secrets.

When I began writing TEMPTED about Black Ram Douglas and Flaming Tina Kennedy, set in the Scottish Borders, I set out to make my reader hate my hero. Once I’d succeeded, I slowly set about making my reader love him. I like to think that if you read my books you’ll learn a bit about history, a bit about sex, and a hell of a lot about human nature.

Do you have any rejection stories to share?

Yes, I have a couple. A few years ago I wrote a Plantation novel set in South Carolina just before the Civil War began. My editor totally rejected it. She explained that they only wanted England, Ireland and Scotland from me, and moreover, since this story was about slavery, it was politically incorrect. So last year I decided to publish MASTER OF PARADISE myself and put it up on Amazon as an ebook.

The other book that was initially rejected was my historical A WOMAN OF PASSION about Bess of Hardwick. My editor told me it was not a romance because Bess had four husbands. My agent and I argued for months about getting a contract for this book, but the editor wouldn’t budge. Finally my agent went over the editor’s head to the publisher, and she said, “We are going to let Virginia write whatever she wants.” I am so happy that the book was finally published because I believe it is the best book I have ever written.

What are you reading now? 

At the moment I’m reading THE CONQUEROR by Georgette Heyer. I first read this book over forty years ago, long before I became a writer. Heyer’s Regencies are delightful gems, but her histories are magnificent. I pale at the thought of how much research she must have done on this book, and I can only imagine the arguments she likely had with her editor back in 1930.

I’ve just downloaded into my Kindle FLASHMAN AND THE SEAWOLF. I want to see how well Robert Brightwell portrays George MacDonald Frazer’s incomparable Flashman. I used Frazer’s history THE STEEL BONNETS to write my Scottish Border books.

The internet makes a lot of research easier than it used to be, but I have my own history books that I’m constantly re-reading. I have all Thomas B. Costain’s histories that are filled with incredible detail and anecdotes.

No credible editor would allow a historical writer to use Wikipedia as an authentic source.

What is your opinion on authors giving away free books?

I think free books are a wonderful way to gain new readers. It is also an inexpensive form of promotion. However, it is against my principles for a dozen writers to do a boxed set of full-length novels and sell the entire set for 99 cents. There is a glut of free books out there that will come back and bite us.

I would like to thank Anna Markland for this wonderful opportunity to be the first guest on your delightful LOVE HISTORICALS BLOG.

Thank you, Virginia.

Virginia will give away a kindle copy of Lord Rakehell to one lucky commenter. Please be sure to leave your email so we can contact you.

Website:   http://www.virginiahenley.com

Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/virginia.henley1

Twitter:    http://www.Twitter.com/VirginiaJHenley

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/VirginiaHenley

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