Sunday, July 31, 2011

Coming Attractions for August

August is more than just “back to school” month here at The Romance Dish—it is a month jammed packed full of fun! We have a ton of wonderful guest authors lined up, our regular monthly features, great reviews, and a few prizes, too. So, without further ado, here is what we have in store for you:

Sexy, historical author Lila DiPasqua starts the month off with a bang when she drops by to dish with us on Monday, August 1st. She’ll be talking about her latest release, A Midnight Dance. Check out Buffie’s review here.

On Tuesday, August 2nd, Dish buddy and historical author Miranda Neville is our special guest. Her newest release, The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton, is getting great buzz around the internet!

Multi-talented author Jennifer Estep joins us on Wednesday, August 3rd, and discusses her paranormal YA debut, Touch of Frost. Check out Gannon’s review here.

Andrea will help put a dent in your wallet with her list of New Releases for August on Friday, August 5th. Have pen and paper ready!

Romantic thriller author and Romance Bandit Jo Robertson visits us on Tuesday, August 9th. The 2006 Golden Heart winner will be dishing about her upcoming debut, The Watcher.

Trish Milburn, also known as Tricia Mills, brings us all the latest and greatest news in the world of Young Adult in her Teen Menu on Wednesday, August 10th.

Make Your Reservations on Thursday, August 11th, as we let you know which books we are looking forward to in September.

Buffie wants you to start your work week off right when she reveals her latest Hot Dish on Monday, August 15th. (Pssst—you might want to grab a fan!)

On Thursday, August 18th, women’s fiction author Dianne Venetta joins us to talk about her first novel, Jennifer’s Garden, on shelves now.

Stop by on Saturday, August 20th to see what books we recommend in our Stock Up Saturday reviews.

Mark your calendars for Monday, August 22nd as we host the lovely ladies of the brand-new Ballroom Blog! They’ve been gracious enough to answer our questions and you don’t want to miss their answers!

The multi-talented Dee Tenorio is our guest on Tuesday, August 23rd. Her latest is a paranormal romantic suspense titled, Deceiving the Protector, out August 15th.

On Wednesday, August 24th, Anna Campbell brings us her Second Helping of a book that you may have missed the first time around.

And to end the month on a great note, we welcome sexy historical author Maggie Robinson back to the Dish on Monday, August 29th. Maggie’s latest, Mistress by Marriage, is the third book in her Courtesan Court trilogy and releases August 30th.

So stop by and stop by often at The Romance Dish!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Second Chance Winners

We have two unclaimed prizes up for second-chance grabs!  The new winners are:


Congrats!  You've won an e-copy of Beverley Kendall's novella, ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND SEDUCTION. Please send an email to theromancedish (AT)gmail (DOT) com to claim your prize.



Congratulations!  You've won a copy of Christina Brooke's AN HEIRESS IN LOVE.  To claim your prize, please send your full name and mailing address to us at theromancedish (AT) gmail (DOT) com.


Winners! Winners!

Congratulations to the following winners!

You've won the prize package from Sandy Blair's recent interview/visit.  




You've each won a copy of A GENTLEMAN NEVER TELLS from Amelia Grey.

Please send your full name and mailing address to us at theromancedish (AT) gmail (DOT) com to claim your prize!


Review -- A Midnight Dance

A Midnight Dance
by Lila DiPasqua
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Publisher: Berkley

As young girls growing up behind the scenes of her father’s prestigious theater, Sabine Laurent and her twin sister Isabelle enjoyed watching the comings and goings of the aristocracy and dreamed of finding their own Prince Charming. Sabine’s interest was always drawn to the tall, dark and handsome man she adequately nicknamed her Dark Prince. Years later, after the death of her father and the disappearance of her sister, Sabine is weighted down by her father’s overwhelming debt and the excessive taxing by the aristocracy. Determined not to end up in debtor’s prison or worse, Sabine decides to take her (and her family’s) future into her own small hands by stealing a large supply of silver from a band of thieves by tainting their drink and seducing their leader.

During the Fronde (civil war in France during the Franco-Spanish War), the head of the Moutier family was executed and all of the family’s lands and possessions were stripped away. For the last five years, Jules de Moutier has been doing everything in his power (including piracy) to gain silver so he can buy back his family’s land and restore the family’s dignity. Transporting his latest booty through the French countryside, Jules and his band of merry men stop to make camp for the evening. As the evening grows darker, Jules is surprised when a beautiful young woman wonders into the camp offering herself to the leader in exchanged for food and shelter. Immediately drawn to the young woman’s lovely golden hair and shapely body, Jules quickly agrees and finds himself in deeper than he expects.

Sabine is shocked to find out that the leader of the band of thieves she is planning to steal silver from is actually Jules de Moutier, head of the aristocratic family who is ruining her own family and, more importantly, the tall, dark and handsome man she remembers from her childhood. Her own Dark Prince. Torn between the hate and bitterness she feels for the Moutier family and the yearnings and dreams of a young girl, Sabine decides she can allow herself the pleasure of one night with Jules … as long as she leaves with enough silver to return wealth and status to her family. But can one night of passion with her Dark Prince be enough?

“She wrapped her arms around her legs and gazed up at the stars twinkling in the blackened sky. Though it was a serene sight to behold, she didn’t dare derive any tranquility from it. How could she? He’d be back at any moment, and the man had the devil’s touch. He’d made her scream in ecstasy. Scream. Her. She was practical. Levelheaded.

She could quash any emotion, control every reaction – except when he neared. Or when he touched her. “

I have been a huge fan of Lila DiPasqua since the very beginning. In fact, she is becoming one of my favorite authors. Her two previous books, AWAKENED BY A KISS and THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED, were anthologies of fiery tales, novellas based on famous fairy tales but with a fiery twist. A MIDNIGHT DANCE is Ms. DiPasqua’s first full-length novel and is based on the fairy tale of Cinderella. Full of rich imagery and tantalizing scenes, Ms. DiPasqua is like a master artist painting a beautiful mural, taking care to show every nuance and detail. The loves scenes are spicy, sexy and oh so delicious! But the emotional journey for Sabine and Jules steals the show for me – each struggling to restore their family but also trying to grasp their own happiness.

Simply put, this is one fabulous book!

~ Buffie

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Review -- Touch of Frost

Touch of Frost
Mythos Academy, Book 1
By Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: July 26, 2011

My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody’s head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I’m determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why – especially since I should have been the one who died …

Jennifer Estep writes my favorite urban fantasy series--Elemental Assassin--featuring kick-ass heroine Gin Blanco. The first four books have kept me riveted and I know the next will be no exception. Now Ms. Estep is delving into the YA scene with her new Mythos Academy series. While I don't always read YA, I have found that there are some great books to be enjoyed even if you're not part of the teen scene, and Touch of Frost is one.

Gwen Frost is sent to Mythos Academy soon after the death of her mother. She feels completely out of place among the other students. They are all descendants of great warriors: Valkyries, Spartans, Amazons and the like. To them, Gwen is just the "Gypsy girl"---definitely not like them. Gwen does have the gift of psychometry---when she touches an object she can see/feel the object's history. Most of the time, it's harmless; finding someone's lost cell phone, etc. But other times, she sees painful and disturbing scenes that are hard to forget. Being the outsider at school goes from bad to worse when Gwen discovers one of her fellow students---Jasmine Ashton, mean girl and Valkyrie---murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Not only that, but the Bowl of Tears---an ancient artifact that is being sought by an evil faction to start the second Chaos War. Now Gwen finds herself in deep....and the next one targeted for death.

Touch of Frost takes the angst of high school life and blends it with the supernatural---think Percy Jackson. You thought the ups and downs of your teen years were bad; Gwen Frost has all that drama times one hundred. But she's a spunky young woman who won't give up. Plus, she has a bit of a crush on Logan Quinn, the rough, tough and very sexy Spartan. Ah, those teenage hormones. I read this book pretty quickly and would have given it an even higher rating, except for the fact that there were some repetitive phrases that were a little annoying at times. Besides that, Touch of Frost was a fun read. While it is classified as a young adult book, I wouldn't recommend it for younger teens due to the language and sexual content. But if you or any older teen you know enjoy a little magic, this book's for you. The next book in the series, Kiss of Frost, will be released November 29th.

~ Gannon

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Today's Special -- Mia Marlowe

Today, it is our pleasure to welcome Mia Marlowe to The Romance Dish. Before becoming a historical romance author, Mia Marlowe shared her love of fictional characters through her performances as an opera singer, sharing the stage with many performers, including Placido Domingo. Mia's novella, A Knack for Trouble, can be found in the just released anthology IMPROPER GENTLEMAN. Please give a warm welcome to Mia Marlowe as she talks to us about ...

Improper Fashions

We've all heard that clothes make the man. Turns out, they made the woman too. In the fashion conscious late Regency period, the cut of a woman's gown could spell the difference between being acclaimed "an Original" or relegated to the ranks of the wallflowers. My novella in IMPROPER GENTLEMEN (available now from Kensington) is set mostly in 1830--the heart of the Romantic era. This little slice of history is jammed between the popular Regency period and the reign of Queen Victoria. Like the world around them, the fashions of the time are in a state of transition.

One of the first things I like to do when I start on a new story is fill my character's closets. I think this lovely plum gown and capelet works well for my heroine Rosalinde's evening wear. (For an excerpt from a time when she's wearing it, visit!)

As you can see, waistlines were back in fashion--no more girlish empire styles. A woman's figure was on display, which meant a return of the corset, a whalebone reinforced body shaper. Young ladies from 17 to 21 aspired to a waist size that matched their age. The corset was worn over a chemise (a slip like garment) with no bloomers, knickers or undies of any sort. Later, slit crotch drawers would be added and still later in the Victorian era, an all-in-one would replace the chemise and drawers.

The skirts were wider than during the Regency, but hadn't reached the ridiculous circumference of the Victorians yet. There was no need for a wire crinoline. A few petticoats would give the fullness needed. The bottoms of the skirts were often embellished with flounces and excessive laces.

Necklines were cut off the shoulder in order to make the shoulders appear wider and the waistlines correspondingly narrower. The gigot, or leg-of-mutton sleeves were very popular.

Shoes of the period were flat and plain, rather like ballet slippers. The most popular hairstyle featured a neat center part with curls around the sides of the face.

Fashion often demonstrates how women are viewed. After the relative freedom of the Regency, society began to put more strictures on women's behavior. Fashion began shaping their figures with a vengeance. Later in the Victorian period, sleeves were cut to restrict arm movement and for a brief time, undergarments limited women to a six inch gait. It demonstrated female frailty and dependence on the men in their lives. In the Romantic period, we hadn't gotten to those extremes yet, but a woman's level of freedom was definitely changing. For the worse.

I use my heroine's wardrobe to show how she feels about herself, her world and her place in it. What do you think? Do the fashions in a story matter to you?

Leave a comment or questions for Mia to be entered in a random drawing for DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS, one of her backlist titles!

For more about Mia and her upcoming books, visit While you're there, be sure to enter her contest and visit her very active blog. Mia loves to connect with readers, so you can also find her on Facebook and Twitter!
Claim your copy of Improper Gentlemen today

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Today's Special - - Sandy Blair

I first discovered Sandy Blair when I won a copy of her time-travel holiday book, A HIGHLANDER FOR CHRISTMAS.  That was all it took for me to glom onto her back list of books and look forward to each new one she releases.  An award-winning author, Sandy has "slept in castles, knelt in cathedrals where kings and queens have been crowned, dined with peerage, floated along Venetian canals, explored the great pyramids, misplaced her husband in an Egyptian ruin (she continues to deny being the one lost), and fallen (gracefully) off a cruise trip." (from   
Please welcome Sandy to The Romance Dish!

Hi Sandy! It was lovely seeing you recently at RWA in New York City. I hope you enjoyed the conference.

Hi Patty! Yes, I had a great time and very much enjoyed visiting with you.

I was especially excited to learn that you have a new book coming out. THE KING’S MISTRESS was released yesterday (July 26th) in digital format from Samhain Publishing. Will you please tell our readers what they can expect from this story?

Would love to! On orders from his king, Britt MacKinnon, captain of the king’s guard, arrives at the Armstrong Border holding to fetch back to Edinburgh the king’s favorite paramour. Identical twin Geneen Armstrong, intent on protecting her pregnant twin, on making the court believe she and her sister are one in the same, doesn’t tell Britt he’s escorting the wrong woman to the king. Lies build upon lies at break neck speed as readers enter the perilous world of Scotland’s medieval court, where intrigue and deception ruled. To a time and place when hearts, lives and Scotland’s destiny hung in the balance.

I love the tagline for this book. The long way home could be the shortest road to ruin. It immediately piqued my interest. Do you write your own taglines or is that the responsibility of the publisher?

My editor came up with the tagline after reading the manuscript. I love it. It accurately depicts the story on so many levels.

What was your inspiration for this story?

Promise not to laugh? I read non-fiction history books before sleep in the hopes of discovering an inexplicable event in Scotland’s past that will send my muse into overdrive, triggering that all important, “What if…?”
Within days of a “What if…?” moment, you’ll find me neck deep in research books. As I delve into the lives of the historical characters involved, my protagonists come to life and plot points begin to unfold. This invariably leads to further research into such fun stuff as indigenous poisonous plants, cottage industries and peculiar funeral practices.

THE KING'S MISTRESS was triggered by my happening upon several confusing accounts of Yolande de Dreux, the widow of Alexander III, her actions following his suspicious death, his heir’s sudden (and yet to be explained) death and the resultant political chaos that followed. THE KING'S MISTRESS begins just days before these events occurred.

Readers are frequently asked to name their favorite characteristics in a hero or heroine. What characteristic do you most admire in Britt and Geneen, the hero and heroine of THE KING’S MISTRESS?

A battle-tested warrior, Britt MacKinnon is a man of ingrained integrity, which is constantly tested by his estranged family, his king, and now by a woman he cannot love but does.

Geneen Armstrong has spent her life giving, never having wanted for herself and now she does want--desperately…and his name is Britt MacKinnon.

Is this a stand-alone book or will there be related stories in the future?

I’m working on story about Britt’s best friend, Lyle Ross. He was nearly destroyed by his love for the wrong woman. I’d like to give him the right one.

THE KING’S MISTRESS is set in Scotland, as most of your books have been. What do you think makes Scotland, and Scottish men in particular, so appealing to the readers of Romance Fiction?

What’s not to love? The Highlands are majestic, and Highlanders come with knee-melting brogues, a wry sense of humor, and bodies that for generations wielded battle axes and broad swords. The best were/are men of honor who hold dear their love of the land and clan, for the law and of course their women.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on two manuscripts: Lyle’s story, which will be a historical Romance, and my mainstream historical.

Okay, time for a little Quick Six fun!

Dogs or Cats?

Dogs. Here’s a picture of my writing partner Coco Chanel.

Aw, she's adorable!

Early Bird or Night Owl?

I may be the Early-est bird you know. 

Beef or Seafood?

Both. I adore shellfish and good steak.

Formal dress or Comfy jeans?

Jeans, please. Preferably the stretch type.

Fly or Drive?

Fly! Life is too short to spend 6 hrs in a car to get somewhere when you could have gotten on a plane and been there in one.

Beach or Mountains?

Definitely the beach! In fact we just moved to New Hampshire, where we can walk to a glorious beach in just 5 minutes.

Sandy, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. Would you like to ask anything of our readers?

‘Twas my pleasure. Thank you for the great interview questions. And yes, I would like to ask your readers a question.

How will Borders’ closing and Barnes and Nobles’ recent decision to cut back on the volume of paperback books they carry in order to make more space available for toys, calendars, etc affect you? 

Sandy will be giving away a terrific prize package, including a plush 6-inch Highlander teddy bear, some locally made Coastal New Hampshire salt-water taffy and THE KING'S MISTRESS (Kindle or Nook), to one randomly selected person who leaves a comment on today's blog.  

Find out more about Sandy and her books at her website

Sandy's new e-book, THE KING'S MISTRESS, can be purchased from Samhain, Amazon and Barnes & 


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review -- Wicked in Your Arms

Wicked in Your Arms
Forgotten Princesses--Book 1
By Sophie Jordan
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: July 26, 2011

After spending the last ten years leading an army against radicals determined to overthrow the royal house of Maldania, Prince Sevastian Maksimi returns home to face his grandfather, the king. Sev was never supposed to become the prince and future king, but the loss of his father and brother sealed his fate. Now he must do his duty by coming to London to find a wealthy heiress to wed in order to secure the Maksimi line and help the royal family and their country financially recover from war. He seeks help from his cousin, Malcolm, in order to find the perfect bride. He requires someone refined and elegant. Someone with an impeccable lineage. Someone other than Grier Hadley. She may have a fat dowry, but her illegitimacy makes her an unacceptable choice.

As the bastard daughter to the king of London’s underworld, Grier is used to the scorn she receives from most people. She doesn’t like it, but is accustomed to it. And she is smart enough to recognize that the only reason she is invited to social gatherings is because her father has money...and lots of it. Her father seeks an exalted status and the only way to get that is to marry off his daughters to men of rank. Grier craves security and respectability and knows she must marry a proper gentleman to get it, but wants a man who appreciates her and not her money. From her hiding place behind a potted plant at a ball, she overhears a haughty gentleman talking to another about the ignoble roots and undesirability of Miss Grier Hadley. That did it! Grier has had enough and promptly spills her cup of lemon water on the arrogant oaf’s head.

Sevastian is stunned and surprised by Grier’s actions. After all, he’s a prince! Who would dare do such a thing to a prince?!

He scratched his jaw. “No one has ever poured a drink upon me.”

“You mean after ten years of war you’ve never suffered a drink in the face?”

“That was war, Malcolm. I suffered bayonets, cannons, and bullets. Dodging lemon water was not part of the routine.”

When Sevastian and Grier are both invited to the same house party and get to know one another, their opinions of the other begin to change. Grier learns that Sevastian’s life will never be his own—his country comes first along with so many responsibilities. And she appreciates his devotion and loyalty. Sev discovers that being born on the wrong side of the blanket doesn’t make that person immoral. Grier is honest and forthright and comfortable in her own skin. Something he feels when he’s with her.

There was something about her—a fire, a passion he had not seen since the war. She was no simpering, naïve, spoiled miss. She possessed an air, a certain knowledge of life and, perhaps most astounding of all, she wasn’t jaded for it.

Despite growing close, they both know that Sev can’t marry Grier. His grandfather would never accept her and her background. Sev is torn between duty and his heart’s desire. The question is, which will he choose?

Books featuring royal characters as the hero and/or heroine aren’t my favorite type, but I loved Wicked in Your Arms! I like that Ms. Jordan didn’t overemphasize the royalty aspect. Yes, Grier isn’t “good enough” for Sev, but he could just have easily been a duke, a marquess, or an earl. His reasons for not entertaining the idea of marrying Grier are sound and believable. And yet, despite his reasons and his initial conceit, he’s an incredibly likable hero. Grier is down-to-earth and sensible and even after overhearing Sev say those unkind things about her before they officially meet, she doesn’t act ridiculous. She handles the situation with a cool head. She also gives as good as she gets when they verbally spar (which I love!). Passion and deep emotion flare between these two people who totally deserve their HEA. I can’t wait for the next book in this series (hopefully it’ll be Grier’s sister Cleo’s story) and heartily recommend this book!


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Monday, July 25, 2011

Today's Special - - Amelia Grey

Photo by Marcia Reynolds
One of the things I most enjoy about attending RWA conferences is the opportunity to make new friends.  Having read, and enjoyed, Amelia Grey's books I was delighted to meet her in NYC and even more delighted when she agreed to be our guest here at the Romance Dish.  Amelia (who has also been published as Gloria Dale Skinner and Charla Cameron) is a historical romance author who has been married to her own high school sweetheart hero for more than 25 years.  She's won multiple writing awards, including Georgia Romance Writers' prestigious Maggie for Best Historical and Affaire de Coeur's award for Best American Historical as well as finaling for RWA's Golden Heart and the Holt Medallion.  Amelia's current book, A Gentleman Never Tells, is the fourth book in her The Rogues' Dynasty series and was released by Sourcebooks Casablanca on July 1, 2011. 

Please give Amelia a warm welcome!

Good morning! I’m thrilled to be at Romance Dish. I met the lovely PJ Ausdenmore at the Romance Writers National Conference in NYC recently. Thank you for having me here to talk about my latest Regency romance A Gentleman Never Tells.

The first thing I want to ask is “Have you ever been caught doing something that you shouldn’t be doing?” I sure have and it’s never been pleasant. Just recently I was on a diet, wanting to lose a few pounds before the Romance Writers Conference and my husband caught me munching on a Snickers candy bar! Maybe you were filing your nails at the office when you should be filing your boss’s important papers? Or maybe you were reading a spicy hot and fabulous romance book when you should have been making dinner? No matter what it is, no one likes to get caught, but that’s exactly what happens to Lord Brentwood and Lady Gabrielle in A Gentleman Never Tells.

Viscount Brentwood is minding his own business, walking his mother’s Pomeranian in Hyde Park early one morning when a lovely and alluring young lady walks out of the mist and into his arms. Of course, this is all very much to his liking until they are caught, and he finds out that she is not only another man’s fiancé, she also happens to be the daughter of a powerful duke. And if that wasn’t enough trouble for the Viscount to be in the middle of, he’s lost his mother’s dog, too.

Lady Gabrielle is dependable, sensible, and obedient. That’s why she had accepted the practical, unemotional marriage her formidable father had arranged for her. That’s what those of her kind did—or so she had always believed until early one morning, when her defenses were down, she threw all of her upbringing away for the chance to spend a few passionate moments in the arms of a handsome stranger.

But kissing the stranger didn’t free Lady Gabrielle. She only thwarted the shackles of one arranged betrothal to immediately find herself stuck in yet another forced engagement. The strong-willed lady isn’t going to give up her freedom so easily. She has plans that her father and Lord Brentwood don’t know about and scandal and mishaps become the order of the day while Gabrielle and Brent scour London to find a notorious dog thief.

So getting caught kissing a beautiful, clever, and courageous lady embroils Lord Brentwood into more intrigue than he thought possible. Now open up and tell me something you’ve been caught doing that you shouldn’t have been doing and you’ll have a chance to win one of two copies of A Gentleman Never Tells. Good luck!

Please visit my website at or email me at for more information about me and my books.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Regency 101

by Anna Campbell

When I'm whizzing around the traps as I tend to do (traps being the intrinsically exciting places you can imagine!), people often ask me about research.

In fact, they ask me so often, I'm astonished. As anyone who's visited me on a blog or seen me speak in person, I get too much unhealthy excitement out of odd details of Regency life. You know, who slept with whom or who bought their china where.

OK, who slept with whom gets me slightly MORE excited!

Something else people ask me is to give them a primer on a definition of the Regency. I've come up with a nice short explanation - it's the period from 1811 to 1820 when George III was incurably mad and his son Prince George became Regent, effectively monarch in his father's place although without the actual title of king.

I then explain (quickly before eyes glaze over) that in terms of historical romance, the Regency covers anything from the end of the 18th century to the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. I then mention Napoleonic wars, industrial revolution, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, Georgette Heyer and men in boots (this last one has the remarkable effect of unglazing all eyes!).

Mention Colin Firth and THAT lake and eyes even reach the point of looking quite bright!

Just in case you've forgotten, I enclose this illustration to prove my point!

So I thought I'd do a quick whizz through some fun books that make a great introduction to the Regency and some of the terms that pop up with Almackian frequency in Regency-set romances.

All of these books (with one exception) are fairly readily available at the online stores like Amazon or the Book Depository. All have the benefit of being entertaining and the sort of history that is more concerned with who seduced whom (and how they addressed them in the morning) rather than who legislated what. I've also included a couple of really beeee-ootiful books that offer numerous glamorous settings for seductions and legislations.

Well, maybe more of the former than the latter!

For the general reader, I highly recommend GEORGETTE HEYER'S REGENCY WORLD by Aussie Jennifer Kloester. It takes you on a whirl through all things like the Season and Almack's and how to cause a scandal (or not). If you're a devotee of Heyer's novels - and I know from my reviews here that a lot of you are - there's the extra fun of how the historical information links to specific stories.

A book I constantly have on hand when I'm writing is Daniel Pool's WHAT JANE AUSTEN KNEW AND CHARLES DICKENS ATE. For really specific Regency questions, this one isn't great as it tends to squeeze the whole nineteenth century together in one big delicious sandwich. But if you want to know how to address that duke you've got coming to dinner and whether to sit him next to Agatha Horseface-Smythe, the bishop's spinster daughter, or the Hon. Letitia Flirty-Pants, it's fabulous.

For more specific 'history' books - you know, what happened when (and who slept with whom - yeah, I know, I'm obsessed!) - I recommend THE PRINCE OF PLEASURE AND HIS REGENCY 1811-20 by J.B. Priestley and OUR TEMPESTUOUS DAY by Carolly Erickson.
Both the Priestley and the Erickson cover the Regency proper (or improper!), between 1811 and 1821.

THE PRINCE OF PLEASURE is the one you might have trouble finding, although it seems to be readily available secondhand. I bought a first edition (1971) fairly cheaply at a used book store here in Oz years ago but only just read it. Wow, what a fabulous piece of social history. And the illustrations in the hardcover edition will have you drooling like George, the Prince Regent, drooled after his dinner (he was a big eater, was George - he was the original for Georgy Porgy in the nursery rhyme!).

Easier to get and extremely enjoyable (although the Priestley is more gossipy) is Carolly Erickson's OUR TEMPESTUOUS DAY: A HISTORY OF REGENCY ENGLAND. What I like about both this and the Priestley is that you get a real feel for the personalities of the era.

One of the best books I've read for years and considerably more exciting than you'd think a tome about the scientific revolution in the Regency era could possibly be (perhaps I could say 'electric'?) is THE AGE OF WONDER by Richard Holmes. This book offers a vivid portrait of the best minds of the time and the way they clashed and sparked off each other and created the modern world that we live in today. Highly recommended! Seriously, a lot of it reads like an exciting historical novel.

And now for some visual gratification...

No, not more Colin Firth (although now you mention it...).

One of the lovely things about writing books set in the Regency is that it was just such a darn pretty era.

I love the clothes, both men's and women's. And I love the explosion of decorative arts that took place in this first third of the 19th century. China, furniture, fabrics, doodads, just name it - they're elegant and beautiful and have lasted through time as icons of beauty and utility.

If you're a decorative arts freak ( like moi!), I highly recommend THE REGENCY COUNTRY HOUSE by John Martin Robinson and REGENCY STYLE by Steven Parissien. I gave the Robinson to a friend of mine and he referred to it as architectural p*rn. More decorously, I'll call these two picture books for adults!

Both are incredibly inspiring for a romance writer who lives too far away from Flirty Pants Hall to check it out in person. Although that's always fun if anyone wants to send me a plane ticket!

Both books are a little unwieldy for reading in bed (especially the Parissien which is both a coffee table book and a book that features coffee tables, Kramer would be delighted!). But they're both so gorgeous, who cares if you have to sit up at a table to leaf through them?

OK, must stop there or I'll still be talking research books till the next Regency! This was meant to be a quick review of four books and you see where that idea ended up!

So do you like to research the background to your romances? Or are you happy for the world of the book to be complete unto itself? Do you have any favorite books about the Regency? And do you prefer your Darcy wet or dry?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jenn LeBlanc Winner

Thanks to everyone who stopped by during Jenn LeBlanc's visit.

The random commenter who wins a e-copy of THE RAKE AND THE RECLUSE is:

hrdwrkdmom aka Diana

Congrats to you, Diana!!! Please email theromancedishATgmailDOTcom to claim your prize.