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Tag Archives: Amanda McCabe

We’re delighted to have Amanda McCabe/Cormack/Laurel McKee pop in for a quick visit! Here’s her post.

         I’m so happy to be posting at the Riskies again today!  I miss being here regularly, though it’s fun to still be risky in an honorary way. 🙂  I’ve been very busy lately, having just finished a Regency Christmas story (The Wallflower’s Mistletoe Wedding, out in November!), working on a new 1920s mystery series, planning the next Elizabethan mystery, and plotting a new romance series set in Victorian Paris.  I feel like I need a Tardis to take me to every time period where I need to go right now!

I do enjoy getting to explore time periods, discovering how human nature hasn’t changed and never will, and the very different ways people in different times interpret and deal with that nature.  There’s always love, anger, greed, family, compassion, sacrifice, power, and it’s fascinating to think about how a person would wield those emotions in a world different from our own.  But I also see how all these time periods (Elizabethan, Regency, Victorian, and the 1920s) have something in common with the era we are living through right now—they were moments of vast and swift change in the way the world works and how people deal with those changes. 

The Elizabethans were exploring the globe in ways never seen before, as well as being ruled by a woman (!!), dealing with changes in religion and government, and seeing the explosion of the arts in a way never seen before or since.

The Regency was a bridge between the Enlightenment and revolution and the world of the Victorians, a moment of Whiggery and moral openess (at least among the upper classes!) and unpopular monarchies, while the Victorians saw the agrarian way of life that had gone on for centuries shift to cities and new jobs in industry (for better and also for much worse).  The railroads and telegraph systems opened the world to common people in a new way as well.  Oh, and there was also a woman on the throne again!  (A woman who projected a new image of domesticity and respectability, in contrast to her uncles, though she was not such a prude as all that in her real life…)

Right now, I am living in the 1920s, seeing the world through an artist of the period’s eyes.  Art was seeing major changes after the Armory Show, and women could now vote, drive cars, have jobs beyond nursing and teaching (or at least the possibility of such things, for the first time).  World War I had changed everything.

Of course, there are also fun parts of research, and one of those is finding silly slang to use.  For instance:

A silly person could be: “bacon-brained” (in the Regency) or “nerts” (in the 1920s)

Money could be: “blunt” (Regency) or “cake” (1920s)

A spirited woman could be: a “bearcat” (1920s), and “out and outer” (Regency), or “a filly” (Victorian)

Something pleasing is; “Berries!” (1920s), or (my favorite) “bang up to the elephant” (Victorian)

A wallflower could be “a cancelled stamp” (1920s), an engagement ring “handcuffs”

Nonsense could be: “Phonus balonus!” (1920s—I am using this one in real life now!) or “Fustian!” (Regency)

Of course, the best slang always has to do with being drunk.  Can you guess the time periods here”  “Half seas over,” “Ossified,” “Spiffilicated,” “A trifle disguised,” “Half-rats,” “In one’s cups”.  Being on a bender could be “On a toot,” “Top heavy,” or “Benjo.”

What are some of your favorite time periods???



Hello, Everyone! I’m back from the RWA conference in Atlanta where I had a wonderful time! It was truly a golden conference for me–or rather for Diane Gaston. My A Reputable Rake by Diane Gaston won the RITA award for Best Regency Romance. You’d think that would be enough good fortune for any one person, but The Mysterious Miss M won a National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency. Janet’s Dedication was also a finalist in the NRCA and it could very easily (and just as happily) been her book to win Best Regency.

It was a great conference for Riskies. Cara’s My Lady Gamester won the Booksellers Best Award for Best Regency and Amanda’s Lady Midnight won the Booksellers Best Award for Best Long Historical.

There were so many highlights of the conference I don’t know where to begin or what to include. The very best part is seeing all my Romance writing friends, some whom I only see at the national conference. It was fun seeing Megan and I had time to share Wet Noodle Posse fun with Janet and Amanda and I snuck in a short half hour for a “comfortable coze.”

The Mills & Boon editors were so cute. Well, Sheila Hodgson was elegant but Joanne Carr and Jenny Hutton were lovely, young, gorgeous and enthusiastic– and tall! All the Mills & Boon folks and the Harlequin folks were lovely to me, even before I won!

The whole atmosphere of the conference was exciting, supportive, and joyful. I loved every minute.

Blogger would not let me post photos but I will put them on a blog as soon as Blogger decides to behave.


If I told RR every project I have in the works, it would take a triple-length post, I think! I have a confession to make–my name is Amanda, and I am a researchaholic. I’m addicted to libraries, to the papery smell, the quiet, the cool air, everything. Give me a desk tucked behind some stacks and a pile of history books, and you won’t see me for weeks. It was a favorite method of my parents when I was a kid. I’m also very easily distracted by stray factoids I come across in researching, so lack of ideas is never my problem. The problem is stopping with the research and starting on, you know, writing a book.

So, I’ll just let you know about my Top Two (okay, Top Three) projects of the moment, ones that are actually sitting on various editors’ desks and not just a gleam in my eye and a bunch of research titles on my Barnes and Noble receipts.

1) Historical fiction number one, working title Tincture of Secrets. This one is set in Florence and Venice in the 1470s. Our heroine, Isabella, wants to be an artist. And, lucky for her, her cousin happens to be Botticelli’s favorite model–but she also happens to get Isabella mixed up with the Medici, right at the height of the bloody Pazzi Conspiracy. Art, murder, revenge, gondolas–what else does a story need???

2) Historical fiction number two, working title Fortune’s Fools (thanks, Cara!). No gondolas here–it’s set in Elizabethan England, early 1580s. Penelope was a Maid of Honor to the Queen, until her naughtiness got her exiled to rebellious Lancashire. There she meets a young Shakespeare, a Catholic conspiracy, a new love–and gets set on a path to the Tower.

3) And, since this is Risky REGENCIES, a Regency historical called The Alabaster Goddess, Book One of the Muses of Mayfair. An aristocratic thief, archaelogical high jinks, a mysterious artifact (the titular goddess), and a hero and heroine on a collision course with fate–and each other. No gondolas here, either, but then you never know what might happen in Book Two… 🙂

And that’s what Amanda is doing on her summer vacation!

As I slowly wade my way through revisions today, be sure and check out my post from Sunday and make comments there or here–I will announce the winner at the end of the day!  And “Taming” has a new review today….

And btw how great was Birdsong on “Masterpiece” last weekend??  It was sorta like the dark-dark side of Downtown Abbey

Amanda McCabe has written 11 books and a novella for Signet Regency. She’s been a finalist for the RITA, RT’s Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Daphne DuMaurier Award, Holt Medallion, and National Reader’s Choice Award. When not reading or writing romance, she loves doing needlework, taking dance lessons in ballet and flamenco, and digging through antique stores in search of new treasures. She lives in Oklahoma with two cats and a Pug dog. Learn more at

Praise for A TANGLED WEB!
“McCabe does a terrific job with this simple story of love, rank and a bit of deceit in, quite possibly, the last of our traditional Regencies. ” Romantic Times, 4 1/2 Stars!

The Interview

Q. How did you think of writing this particular book? Did it start with a character, a setting, or some other element?

It actually started with the PBS show “Regency House Party”! I loved the interaction of the various “characters”, and what happens when you throw different types of people into close proximity for an extended period of time. So, A TANGLED WEB is sort of “Regency House Party” crossed with “Persuasion.”

Q. How long did it take? Was this an easy or difficult book to write?

It took about three weeks. And I will NEVER do a book so quickly again! The publisher needed the manuscript in a hurry to get it into production, so I worked much longer hours than I usually do on a book. The characters didn’t help me at all, either. Some of them refused to follow my careful house party matchmaking, and kept switching partners on me!

Q. Tell me more about your characters. What or who inspired them?

There are four couples altogether. The main one, the hero and heroine, are my “Persuasion” couple. Diana and Tom were in love when they were young, but as she was an earl’s daughter and he was a tenant’s son, they were kept apart by her ambitious family. He went off to Canada to seek his fortune, and she married and was widowed. But they never forgot each other. One couple is quite villainous, and the other two are young people in love (the ones who could not decide who they really love!). We have Diana’s shy younger sister, her beautiful and flamboyant best friend, the bookish duke’s son, and the handsome n’er do well. Who will end up with whom??? And then there is their hostess, Diana’s mischevious Aunt Mary, who is quite delighted by all the romantic turmoil she’s caused. It was so much fun to work with all of them, even when they were being stubborn!

Q. Did you run across anything new and unusual while researching this book?

I had to research the history of Canada (or British North America) in this period, something I hadn’t really looked at for any other project. Tom spent a great deal of time out in the wilderness and in small trading communities, where the amenities were rough. But his mother, who went to Canada with him (and now wants him to marry well, since he’s rich!), lived in Toronto, or York, and it was quite a comfortable and civilized place. I learned a great deal that I didn’t know before.

Q. What do you think is the greatest creative risk you’ve taken in this book? How do you feel about it?

Hmmm-this doesn’t seem like an especially “risky” story, since I had to get it done in such a hurry! But my hero isn’t a duke or earl, he has no title at all, and he made his own way in the world. I liked him so much, both for the fact that he built a fortune on his own wits and adventurous spirit, and for the fact that he loved Diana for so long and tried so hard to be “worthy” of her.

Q. Is there anything you wanted to include in the book that you (or your CPs or editor) felt was too controversial and left out?

Originally, in my mind, the villainous couple caused even more trouble, but in the end there just wasn’t enough room to include all their machinations! But hopefully they get what they deserve in their future lives.

Q. What are you working on now?

A historical fiction story set in Florence in the 1470s. The research has been fascinting! I also have an idea for a new romance series, titled “Villains, inc.” So, stay tuned!

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