I was privileged again this year to attend the annual Buns & Roses Romance Tea for Literacy. The event benefits the Richardson Adult Literacy Center. Part of the fun is driving up with my friends Sophie Jordan and Lily Dalton. Here we are right before Sophie slammed her thumb in the car door.
We always have an adventure. Last year Sophie got a speeding ticket. It’s no wonder then that after we arrived, we needed naps and sustenance.
Saturday many of the authors signed new releases at Barnes & Noble. Diane Kelly gave me one of her Brigits, the dog that features in some of her books.
We partook of more sustenance, which may have included yummy cake balls, and the next day it was work, work, work and lunch with some of my favorite readers.
Finally, it was time for tea. We all dressed up.
And listened to Tessa Dare’s wonderful speech.
And waited with bated breath to see the bear. Each year a new bear is sold. This one is a Scottish lass.
There’s an auction, including a quilt with all of our names on it, and another booksigning.
All in all, it’s a wonderful event, and I feel so fortunate to be asked to be part of it.
I know it’s a bit early to talk about Christmas–or, rather, it probably seems early to you. I’ve been thinking about Christmas all summer. I’ve been imagining snowflakes and cozy fires, mistletoe and evergreens, holiday balls and hot cider. And then I’d step outside and the sweltering heat of summer would bring me back to reality. The fact is that if one is to publish a Christmas book, one must write that book in the off-season. This fall I have two Christmas novellas being released.
One is a re-release of my novella from last year’s anthology Christmas in the Duke’s Arms. It’s called The Spy Beneath the Mistletoe, and it’s about two secondary characters from Love and Let Spy, which is my James Bond-themed historical romance. In this novella Q and Moneypence get their happy ever after.
The second release is an anthology set in a London bookshop during the holiday season. This one is titled Christmas in Duke Street. In this novella Lucien, a former prince whose family was overthrown by a revolution, is in London searching the volumes of a little bookshop in Duke Street for documents proving his identity when he comes across Cassandra, a lovely widow looking for adventure.
It wasn’t all Christmas, all the time this summer. I was also able to write a bit about summer for an anthology that will be out in November titled A Gentleman For All Seasons. You’ll notice two resident JQs are part of the group of authors. My story, “The Summer of Wine and Scandal,” is about a London dandy and a country miss with a secret.
Do you have a favorite season to read about? I actually love fall and love writing books set in autumn. One person who comments will win a copy of my new release, The Rogue You Know.
The winner will be randomly chosen and announced on the blog Sunday.
I’m not very good at keeping a diary. If you go by my past efforts you’d swear I‘ve only lived through a bunch of Januaries.
But fortunately, my hero in THE MADNESS OF LORD WESTFALL, Pierce Langdon, Lord Westfall, is a dedicated journalist. He keeps a thorough record of his thoughts and doings, perhaps so he can judge the soundness of them. When one is believed mad by so many others, it’s hard not to suspect they might be right.
In THE MADNESS OF LORD WESTFALL, a number of chapters start with excerpts from Westfall’s journal. Here are a few of them:
The defining moment of my life occurred when I was eight years old and fell from the topmost limb of an oak tree. They tell me my head struck several branches on the way down. I was insensible for the better part of a sennight, which was a mercy because it allowed the doctor to set my broken arm without inflicting further agony. For the injury to my brain, he did nothing.
Perhaps that was another type of mercy.
I only know that when I finally opened my eyes, the voices were there. They have been with me ever since.
Then of his later childhood, he writes:
If a child suffers from weak eyes, he doesn’t know he ought to be able to see individual bricks in buildings or separate leaves on trees. He assumes his uncorrected view of the world is the same thing everyone else sees.
So it was with me and the voices. I forgot there had ever been a time when I couldn’t hear the thoughts of those around me, as if they’d spoken them aloud. I assumed others could hear my thoughts as well, and would not object if I commented on the unspoken elements of conversation.
I could not have been more wrong.
Of course, not all of Westfall’s entries deal with his unique “gift.” Here’s his take on popular entertainment of his day:
One good thing about German opera—it’s so deucedly loud, it drowns out the voices of the minds around me. However, when the soprano is bellowing like a cow that wants milking and the tenor squalls as if he’s being gelded on the spot, I’m not sure the exchange is worth it.
Because he could hear the thoughts of the women around him, Westfall has given them a wide berth. He couldn’t bear to have a woman smile at him outwardly while despising him inwardly. However, once he meets Lady Nora Claremont, he’s willing to chance it.
When I began confiding my thoughts to this journal I wrote that the defining moment of my life occurred when I was eight years old and I fell from a tree. I was wrong. It happened when I was thirty-two and I fell in love.
Both events have had equally devastating effects upon my mind.
But, as Shakespeare says, “the course of true love never did run smooth.” (Which is a good thing. Otherwise we’d have no story!) In Westfall’s case, the woman he loves is thinking some pretty traitorous thoughts. This puts him in a sticky wicket with the Order of the M.U.S.E.(Metaphysical Union of Sensory Extraordinaires) whose aim is to protect the Crown and is also responsible for having Westfall released from Bedlam in the first place.
His Grace expects me to use Honora in the furtherance of the Order’s goals. I can think of nothing more repugnant. If by some miracle I have not already destroyed whatever we might become to each other, I cannot risk losing her. Not even for King and country.
I’d rather return to Bedlam and the water chair.
So Westfall is faced with a choice—betray his mentor and his own conscience or betray the woman he loves. Somehow, he must find a way to save both.
Hope you enjoy his dilemma! I sure enjoyed writing it. THE MADNESS OF LORD WESTFALL comes out today!
Pierce Langdon, Viscount Westfall is mad. Everyone knows it. He fell from a tree when he was a boy and woke to hear strange voices. When the voices grow stronger as he grows older, his family commits him to Bedlam. But what he hears are the thoughts of those around him—a gift to be used in service to the Order of the M.U.S.E. Until he falls again…this time for a totally unsuitable woman.
Lady Nora Claremont hides her personal heartbreak behind the facade of a carefree courtesan. Viscount Westfall is the most confusing man she’s ever met. He seems to know exactly what she wants…and what she’s thinking.
Which is a dangerous thing, because what Nora wants is Pierce.
And what she’s thinking could expose her as a traitor to the crown…
How about you? Would being able to hear the thoughts of others be a blessing or a curse?
Let me know what you think. One lucky commenter will win a digital copy of THE CURSE OF LORD STANSTEAD (Book 1 in the Order of the MUSE series!)
Good luck! (You can also be entered in a monthly drawing by signing up for my newletter)
Hi, everyone! I’m Theresa Romain, historical romance author, and I’m so delighted to be joining the Jaunty Quills as the newest member. (Psst, Jaunty—your pine nuts are in the mail.)
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? So here’s a picture of me when I was about five. Change the upholstery and stretch me out a little, and this could still be me. Note the:
- Emergency backup book at side
- Super-emergency extra backup book at other side
I’m, um, a little older now. But I still love to read everything I get my hands on. And my favorite genre to read? Romance, of course! I read and wrote my way through psychology, English, and history degrees, and I started writing historical romance a few months before my daughter was born. This probably tells you everything you need to know about how compulsive I am.
Now, seven and a half years later, I have seven published novels, plus more stories in the works. My husband gets a dedication in every book as the greatest support I have, and my daughter—known online as Little Miss R—often gets a nod for her loving interruptions. I write for both Kensington and Sourcebooks, and in November my first self-published project will be out in A Gentleman for All Seasons, an anthology with Kate Noble and fellow Jaunties Shana Galen and Vanessa Kelly.
To relax amidst all those deadlines, I like to watch remodeling shows on HGTV (“It’s a house HEA every hour!” I tell my husband) and cooking competitions on the Food Network. Hey, you never know when you’ll be faced with a durian and asked to make a delicious appetizer.
How about you? I’d love to get to know you all better, so do tell: how do you relax? Are you a knitter? Butcher, baker, candlestick maker? If you wind down with books or TV, what’s your favorite genre or favorite show? I’ll give a print copy of one of my Matchmaker or Holiday Pleasures books–winner’s choice!–to a random commenter. Giveaway open worldwide.
If you haven’t come across my books before, check my site (theresaromain.com) for excerpts–along with bonus short stories, background trivia, and a monthly contest giving away romances. Thanks very much, and I look forward to getting to know you all as a member of the Jaunty Quills. Pine nuts, anyone?
It’s release day for The Rogue You Know, and time to play name your favorite line! I’ll give a quote from each of the first five chapters. At the end, tell me your favorite, and your comment enters you to win a $10 gift card to Amazon.
Susanna ducked into the cool darkness of the town house and flattened herself against the wall. She closed her eyes, swiping at the stinging tears. Breathe, breathe. Free from the whispers-that-were-not-whispers and the stares and, best of all, her mother, she slouched in smug rebellion.
Gideon shot away, running on fear as much as thrill. He exited the alley and tumbled into the street, when he heard the dog’s growls behind him.
“Not much of a meal, is he?” Gideon called over his shoulder.
The dog barked, and Gideon pushed his body to the limit.
“If you want to eat me, first you have to catch me!”
She dashed to the vase, dug the bag out, and stuck it into her bodice.
“If you wanted me to rip your clothes off, you only had to ask.” He took a step forward.
“Listen, Strawberry.” He bent close to her pretty face and those large brown eyes. “I don’t give a damn about your rules. I’m in this for the goddamn necklace, not your lessons on…deportment.”
“Wiggle through!” he yelled at her.
She was trying. Her hips seemed to be stuck in the opening. She might have wiggled more vigorously, but the wood dug into her skin through the thin gown. She didn’t want to tear the material.
“I can’t. My gown will rip. Help me down.”
She wasn’t certain what his answer was, but it sounded like, “The hell I will.”
She felt his hands on her bottom and screamed in outrage.
Far from causing him to remove his hands, he pushed harder.
What’s your favorite selection? Comment to be entered to win a $10 gift card to Amazon. Want a double entry? Stop by the Casablanca Authors blog (my publisher) on Thursday and comment on my blog there to enter to win another $10 gift card to Amazon.
Winners on both blogs will be announced Sunday!
The Rogue You Know
She’s beyond his reach…
Gideon Harrow has spent his life in London’s dark underworld-and he wants out. A thief and a con, he plans one last heist to finally win his freedom. But when everything goes wrong, he finds himself at the tender mercies of one of Society’s most untouchable women-Lady Susanna Derring.
…and out of her depth.
Susanna has spent her life in London’s glittering ton, under the thumb of a domineering mother-and she wants out. When a wickedly charming rogue lands at her feet, she jumps at the chance to experience life before it’s too late. But as she descends into London’s underworld, she finds that nothing- not even Gideon-is as it seems. As excitement turns to danger, Susanna must decide what price she’s willing to pay…for the love of a reformed thief.
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1UlC0m7