A Most Devilish Interview with Ashlyn Macnamara

Ashlyn_Macnamara_Headshot_medWelcome back to Teatime Romance, Ashlyn! Many of you may not know this, but Ashlyn holds a special place in my heart because last year I won from the Brenda Novak Auction critiques from the Secret Curtsy Society (Ashlyn, Sara Ramsey, Anne Barton, Erin Knightley, and Valerie Bowman—all the 2011 Golden Heart Finalists). Ashlyn took a look at the very first draft of what is now A Dangerous Invitation and really helped me figure out where I needed to go in the story. Not only does Ashlyn write great books, but she’s a prime example of the supportive romance writing community.

Macnamara-AMostScandalousProposalCoverAs our readers may remember, Ashlyn talked with Amy when her debut novel, A Most Scandalous Proposal, released in February. We learned a lot about Ashlyn then—how she is agented by Sara Megibow and how her first book jumped off from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility—but today, we plan to delve into the deep, dark secrets of Ashlyn Macnamara. Her second book, A Most Devilish Rogue, released on August 27th with the most scrumptious cover I’ve ever seen. Continue reading

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Book Review: It Happened One Night

With the popularity of novellas on the rise, I thought I’d pull out one of  my favorite novella anthologies: It Happened One Night.

Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, Jacquie D’Alessandro, and Candice Hern wondered what would happen if they each wrote separate novellas, but used common plot elements.  Would the stories be the same?  Good scientists that they are, they decided not to discuss their work until after the experiment was over.  The premise for all four stories: “A man and a woman, who have neither seen nor heard from each other in ten years, meet again when they find themselves staying at the same inn for a twenty-four hour period.”  All are set in Regency England, each in a different season. Continue reading

Cora’s Next Big Thing

What’s the Next Big Thing Blog Hop?

My friend and critique partner Susana Ellis tagged me. The idea is for me to answer ten questions about my latest project, then tag other authors to keep hop going (kind of a like a chain letter, lol). I haven’t tagged anybody yet, though, so if you’re looking for an excuse to tout your latest work-in-progress or new release let me know 🙂

Ten Questions about…The Only Exception Continue reading

Book Review: The Viscount Who Loved Me

Two weeks ago Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I hit the the USA Today bestseller list…13 years after it’s release.  To celebrate the occasion I’m reviewing my favorite book in the series, The Viscount Who Loved Me.

Published twelve years ago, The Viscount Who Loved Me is a bit of an oldie, but definitely a goodie.  It’s the second in Ms. Quinn’s Bridgerton series (the first is The Duke and I), featuring Anthony Bridgerton, the eldest of eight siblings and the title viscount.  HisThe-Viscount-Who-Loved-Me-9780380815579
partner in romance is Kate Sheffield, the older of two daughters in a family not exactly overburdened by wealth.  To save money, both sisters make their debut at the same time, and twenty-one-year-old Kate is constantly compared to the golden, petite beauty that is her sister.  In a lot of other authors’ hands, this would have caused friction to one degree or another between the siblings, but Ms. Quinn elected to let that plot device pass on by, and the two have a genuine affection for each other. Continue reading

Fave Five: Historical Heroes

I have recently discovered the TV show Whitechapel, a blend of historical and modern crime. Whitechapel Joe ChandlerHow I’ve missed this show for the past couple of years I don’t know, because I love it!
Yes, I majored in history in college, and yes, I like detective shows. Those are the qualities that drew me to it in the first place, but
I continue to watch for Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler, the lead character. He’s handsome, of course, but he’s also a little alone in the world, a little different from his colleagues, and a little bit wounded.

One of my favorite kinds of hero.

Here are some others, numbered only because I’m a math teacher and I like lists 🙂

1. I swoon for heroes who are willing to work for the affection of the heroine. Barbara Samuel’s Tynan Spenser does just that in The Black Angel. His betrothed is a stranger to him, and a necessary one—her father can help him win the seat in Parliament he covets. But that doesn’t mean they can’t share affection, and he sets out to win hers with a kiss each day. He carefully picks his moments (and body parts), and I love his creativity and the thought that goes into his courtship. What woman wouldn’t?

2. I adore heroes who are/were soldiers. Whatever reason a man decides to join the Army (to serve his country, to feed his family, because he was the second son of a nobleman), I am drawn to a hero who accepts the responsibility of command (however large or small), who does what he thinks is right. These are men who endure hardships both of body and mind, and who suffer damage to both in the process. The Regency period is rife with these heroes (lucky for me!), returning from the Peninsular Wars or the wars in America. My favorite? Grace Burrowes’s Devlin St. Just from The Soldier.

3. I relish heroes who are repentant. That’s right, repentant. They’ve committed a wrong in the past, and mature enough BalzacBeatrix02somewhere along the way to regret their actions. Case in point: Courtney Milan’s Evan Carlton from Unlocked. He teased and tormented a girl who was different to win popularity among the other young men and women of the ton. Classic bully, right? Absolutely. Then he leaves London, sees the world, and discovers there is more to life than the opinions of society…realizing what a Class A jackass he’s been. But he doesn’t stop there—he attempts to right his wrong, or at least repair some of the damage he caused. It takes a real man to fess up and apologize, and I applaud Evan for recognizing how badly he screwed up, and forging ahead to fix it.

4. I am utterly devoted to heroes who are the underdog. Maybe I’ve watched too many Disney movies (Cool Runnings is still one of my favorites), or maybe I’ve been the underdog once too often myself. Whatever the cause, I love a man who shouldn’t win the heroine’s love but does anyway. And the award for the most creative plot goes to Reginald Mason in Mary Balogh’s Matter of Class. I won’t ruin the book for you if you haven’t read it, but it was masterful. And risky. Where most men would have given up the situation as hopeless, Reggie (and his accomplice) used society’s own rules to win a woman far above his station. Take that, Beau Monde!

5. I sigh over the nobleman who presents an aloof, cold exterior to society, but melts (however reluctantly) for the heroine. Mary Balogh’s Wulfric Bedwyn, Duke of Bewcastle epitomizes this category. He inherited his title and vast responsibilities (including the welfare of his brothers and sisters) at the tender age of seventeen. Duke of Wellington 1814If you’ve read the Slightly series, you know about the glimpses of His Grace in each book. You’ve seen him employ his quizzing glass to
chilly perfection on the impertinent, watched him coerce his siblings into doing what he thinks is best. And in the last book, Wulf’s own story, you saw him melt little by little in the presence of Christine. He’s still the daunting duke on the outside, but his inner self gets to shine. He gets to be caring, sweet, and even a little silly. How can you resist a man like that?

So those are my favorites. What are yours? Are there different types of heroes in contemporary vs. historical romances? Or paranormals?

Debut Author Susana Ellis and Treasuring Theresa

My good friend Susana Ellis joins us in honor of her debut novella Treasuring Theresa, available today!

At the betrothal ball of the man she had expected to marry herself, Lady Theresa latches on to the most dashing gentleman present, hoping to divert attention from her own humiliation. That gentleman happens to be her father’s distant cousin and heir, Damian Ashby, a useless London fribble in her opinion. He is not favorably impressed with her either.treasuringtheresa_1.75

But when her father becomes mortally ill and Damian is obligated to spend time with her at the Earl’s country estate, the two of them unexpectedly find admirable qualities in each other and discover a mutual attraction.

But can a London swell and a country lady ever make their diverse lives and interests work together?

Ready for more? Here’s Susana with Teatime’s Six Signature Questions:

What was the first romance novel you ever read?

Oh dear, this is going to date me. But it was Dear Doctor Marcus, a Harlequin by Barbara Perkins. I think I was in junior high school at the time. I read it many, many times. And then I bought every Harlequin I could get my hands on, until my bookshelves were overflowing!

Your house is on fire—which five romance novels do you grab on your way out?

Gosh, I would grab my Kindle, of course. Why limit myself to five? But if I have to choose, I’d choose Outlander, of course, and grab as many as I could of Mary Balogh’s and Georgette Heyer’s books.

What is your secret passion?

I’m not sure how secret it is, but I’m passionate about all things Regency. I’m having a Regency ball gown made by a costume designer in England to wear for the Romantic Times convention in Kansas City in May. I also bought Regency-era shoes to match, and had my author photo taken with a ringlets hairpiece. When I traveled to England last year, I made sure to visit as many places mentioned in my favorite Regency novels as I possibly could. Too bad the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens no longer exist—I really wish I could better visualize what it looked like back then!

Why do you write romance?

I remember when I first read Dear Doctor Marcus how marvelous it felt when Carolyn first realizes that Marcus returned her feelings. Sort of a tingly feeling inside? I read over that passage over and over again. And then I was addicted. I wanted to see other couples come to that point and experience their happiness vicariously.

After reading so many of them, I became more and more convinced that I could write them too. The stories have always been there—I just had to put them down on paper (or the computer screen).

Is there anything in your story that comes from personal experience?

Hmm…I was about to say no, because I am a born-and-raised Ohio farm girl who now lives in the city, but actually, that’s not strictly true. Treasuring Theresa is about an earl’s daughter born and raised in the country, who believes the city is full of useless snobs, and a viscount, one of the top Corinthians in London, who thinks people in the country are boring beyond belief. Needless to say, they both discover that their views are misguided. So there actually is something of my life in the story!

What is your favorite kind of tea and how do you drink it?

Uh-oh. I don’t really drink tea. Does that disqualify me from this blog? My mother loves chai tea, though. I am not a coffee addict either, although I do enjoy my cup of café français every morning.

A former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, but historical—Regency Susana Ellisin particular—is her favorite. There’s just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination. In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around England and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley chapter of Romance Writers of America.

Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

To celebrate the release of Treasuring Theresa, Susana is hosting a series of contests on her website  for the month of January. All you have to do is answer a question about the Regency period and/or tweet about the contest and your name will be entered for the next drawing. Winners will be chosen on January 9, 16, 23, and 31.

 

Susana’s Parlour (blog for readers of historical romance): http://susanaellisauthor.wordpress.com

Susana’s Morning Room (blog for readers of all sub-genres of romance): http://susanaauthor.wordpress.com

Facebook: susana.ellis.5

Twitter: @susanaauthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/susanaauthor

 

Treasuring Theresa

SBN: 9781419944093

Available January 3, 2013 on Ellora’s Cave, January 10-24 at other e-book retailers.

 

So You Think You Know St. George’s…

Many a Regency romance ends with a great society wedding at St. George’s in Hanover Square…but how much do you know about the famed church?

St. George's

  1. The Parish Church of St. George was completed in what year?
    1. 1711
    2. 1716
    3. 1725
    4. 1731

Answer: C  St. George’s was part of the Fifty New Churches Act passed in 1711, but wasn’t until 1720 that a location was approved and a design was chosen.  The first stone was laid in 1721 and the building was certified complete on March 20, 1725. Three days later it was consecrated by the Bishop of London.

  1. What denomination is St. George’s?
    1. Catholic
    2. Anglican
    3. Lutheran
    4. Presbyterian

Answer: B  St. George’s is an Anglican (Church of England) church, part of the Diocese of London. It is the parish church of Mayfair.

  1. Which American president was married at St. George’s?
    1. Teddy Roosevelt
    2. Franklin Roosevelt
    3. Woodrow Wilson
    4. Andrew Jackson

Answer: A  Teddy Roosevelt married his childhood sweetheart Edith Kermit Carow in 1886. He took a room at Brown’s Hotel in Dover Street to meet the residency requirement, and remains the only American president to be married at St. George’s. His wedding also inspired many other Americans to marry at the church.

  1. According to tradition, St. George was a native of Asia Minor.  When did he become the patron saint of England?
    1. The sixth century
    2. The ninth century
    3. The eleventh century
    4. The thirteenth century

Answer: C  A vision of St. George (along with St. Demetrius) spurred on the Norman troops at the battle of Antioch during the First Crusade in 1098. The Normans won the battle, and adopted St. George as their patron.

St. George's organ

  1. Which famous composer was a regular worshiper at St. George’s?
    1. Handel
    2. Brahms
    3. Bach
    4. Purcell

Answer: A  George Friderick Handel emigrated to London from his native Germany in 1724, purchasing a house in Brook Street just as the church was nearing completion. His opinion was sought on the suitability of the organ when it was being installed, and he provided the music for the testing of candidates to play it. In 1726 he became a naturalized British citizen, attending services at St. George’s until he died in 1759.

So how did you do? What fact surprised you most?

Want to learn more about St. George’s? Visit their website at http://www.stgeorgeshanoversquare.org/Default.aspx