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EDITED TO ADD: Thanks you to all the contestants. I have decided that all the timely commenters are winners. I will be emailing you!

I’ve been blogging about the research I did for my story in the upcoming anthology Dancing in The Duke’s Arms. My research included such topics as songs, cheese, cattle, and plants. From that you might conclude my story is about a singing dairy maid who moonlights as an herbalist. But you would be wrong. (INORITE???!??)

To celebrate I will send five winners a mystery prize(s).  For each prize(s), I will spend at least $15.00 US. If you hang out here, you probably know that I have impeccable taste except when I am odd or just plain weird. There’s just no telling.  To enter, check out the rules below and follow the instructions.


My story,  An Unsuitable Duchess, is all done and final, and you can pre-order the anthology now for $3.99. After June 26th, the price will be higher.  Links below! Fun fact: I A/B tested two versions of my title. A Suitable Duchess faced off against An Unsuitable Duchess. Although I kind of liked the suitable title, I suspected unsuitable would win. And it did. In a landslide. It wasn’t even close. So. Unsuitable it is!

Cover of Dancing in The Duke's Arms, an anthology. A couple is dancing outside. He gazes fondly at her, she is perhaps a little shy. They are outside because it is summer and who doesn't want to dance outside with handsome duke?

Dancing Dukes!

The anthology includes four original novellas by Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen, Miranda Neville, and me. Print will be available shortly.

Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?

Every summer the cream of society gathers at the Dukeries, named for the ducal estates concentrated in one small corner of Nottinghamshire. While the entertainments include parties, balls, and a famous boat race, the ducal hosts and their guests find adventure, passion, and happy ever afters.

Pre-Order Dancing In The Duke’s Arms

Amazon | Barnes&Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

More about the anthology

The anthology comes in at over 125,000 words. You’ll get four romantic, thrilling, and steamy stories for four wonderful authors. The on sale date is June 26th.

May I Have This Duke? by Grace Burrowes

The governess is determined to leave, but the duke’s plans for her dance to a different—and far lovelier—tune!

The trouble with houseparties….

Gerard Hammersley, Duke of Hardcastle, is dragooned by an old friend into attending a house party, though Hardcastle refuses to fall prey to the matchmakers who relish such gatherings. He recruits his nephew’s prim, prickly governess, Miss Ellen MacHugh, to preserve him from being compromised by the conniving debutantes, and offers in exchange to deflect the drunken viscounts who plague Ellen.

Is that they must end.

Ellen agrees to Hardcastle’s scheme for two reasons. First, she’s been attracted to His Grace since the day she laid eyes on him, and knows that behind Hardcastle’s lack of charm lies a ferociously loyal and faithful heart. Second, she’s departing from Hardcastle’s household at the conclusion of the house party, and two weeks safeguarding His Grace’s bachelorhood is as much pleasure—and as much torment—as she can endure before she leaves him.

Read an excerpt from May I Have This Duke?

DUCHESS OF SCANDAL by Miranda Neville

She was too wild, he was too proud…

When the Duke and Duchess of Linton meet after years of estrangement, they may discover they were made for each other after all.

Too Many Scandals

After months of marriage, the Duke of Linton agreed to live apart from his wife. Thrown together due to a scheduling error, Linton finds Althea still has the power to make his heart race. Linton seems different from the critical, indifferent man she married. But though she burns for him as a lover, can she trust him to be the husband she needs?

Read an excerpt from Duchess of Scandal


When Princess Vivienne of Glynaven’s family is massacred, she escapes to England only to be pursued by assassins. The Duke of Wyndover comes to her aid, but is he the man she’s been waiting for?

There’s no such thing as the perfect hero…

Nathan Cauley, tenth Duke of Wyndover, is so handsome ladies swoon—literally swoon. His blond hair and blue eyes certainly draw attention at the Duke of Sedgemere’s house party, but Nathan doesn’t want a fawning young miss for his duchess. He stumbles upon a bedraggled woman sleeping under Sedgemere’s bridge, and his protective instincts stir. When he recognizes her as the princess he fell in love with eight years before, he’s determined to win not only her affections but her heart.

Or is there?

After revolutionaries massacre Princess Vivienne’s family, she and the head of her guard flee to England. Before they can reach London to beg asylum, assassins kill the last of her defenders. Vivienne is alone and on the run when the Duke of Wyndover comes to her rescue. She barely remembers meeting him years before, and isn’t comfortable with gentlemen who are more attractive than she is. Nathan is more than a pretty face, though, and when the assassins return, he might just prove to be the duke Vivienne has been waiting for.

More about Shana’s story. Read an excerpt


The Duke of Stoke Teversault would like to marry, but the woman his heart has settled on would make an unsuitable duchess.

The Duke of Stoke Teversault has well earned his reputation for bloodless calculation. Indeed, recently widowed Georgina Lark has no idea he’s loved her since before her late husband swept her off her feet. Stoke Teversault means to keep it that way. The cold and forbidding duke and the blithe and open Georgina could not be less suited in any capacity. And yet, when Georgina and her sister arrive at his home, his ice-bound heart may melt away.

Georgina Lark has never thought of the Duke of Stoke Teversault as a man capable of inducing passion in anyone. He’s long disapproved of her, but she will be forever grateful to him for his assistance after her husband died. It’s been a year since she’s realized he’s not the man she thought. Can she convince him to open his heart to her?

Read chapter 1

The Rules and How to Enter

Void where prohibited. Must be 18 to enter. No purchase necessary. All prizes will be awarded. If a winner does not contact me within 10 days of notification, an alternate winner will be selected. Relatives or employees of Carolyn Jewel are ineligible. Winner chosen at random using the contest plugin “And The Winner Is.” International OK! Multiple comments disallowed. Contest closes at 11:59:59 PM Eastern on Friday June 12 (That’s this blog’s time zone.) Make sure you leave a valid email in the email box for your comment.

To enter: Leave a comment to this post in which you tell me the best book you’ve read recently. (I’m looking for recommendations!)


Hello, Risky Readers!

I am busy writing the third book in the Sinclair Series. This is Emily and Devon’s story. I’m about 30% in. It’s going about as okay as writing tends to go. I’d say this is the hard part, but come to think of it, all the parts are hard. I don’t, yet, have any research subjects that are worth sharing but I expect that to change as I get far enough in that I can’t just type in “RESEARCH THIS.”

I do have a novella to tell you about, though. And, to help celebrate, I’m giving away a stash of print books. All of them are Romance. Leave a comment per the rules below and one person will win ALL THE BOOKS.

An Unsuitable Duchess is on sale now as a standalone story.

A lady demurely looking at a fan. Don't be deceived. George isn't really demure.

Cover of An Unsuitable Duchess.

Where to Get An Unsuitable Duchess

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Google Play | All Romance | Print


About An Unsuitable Duchess

The duke of Stoke Teversault has well earned his reputation for bloodless calculation. Indeed, recently widowed Georgina Lark has no idea he’s loved her since before her late husband swept her off her feet. Stoke Teversault means to keep it that way. The cold and forbidding duke and the blithe and open Georgina could not be less suited in any capacity. And yet, when Georgina and her sister arrive at his home, his ice-bound heart may melt away.

Georgina Lark has never thought of the duke of Stoke Teversault as a man capable of inducing passion in anyone. He’s long disapproved of her, but she will be forever grateful to him for his assistance after her husband died. It’s been a year since she’s realized he’s not the man she thought. Can she find a way to convince him to open his heart to her?

An Unsuitable Duchess is a Regency romance novella featuring an austere duke and a sweet, playful widow. If you like charming love, steamy passion, and when opposites attract, then you’ll love Carolyn Jewel’s entertaining read.

Buy An Unsuitable Duchess to watch the Duke stumble into love today!

Rules and How to enter

Void where prohibited. Must be 18 to enter. International is OK. Winner chosen at random via “And The Winner Is” plugin. Leave a comment to this post in which you tell me your favorite flower. Deadline to comment is 11:59:59 PM Eastern, Tuesday, March 15, 2016. No purchase necessary. Multiple comments will not increase your chances. If the winner does not respond to my notification email within 5 days, an alternate winner will be chosen.

Please join Julian Fellowes, creator, sole writer, and executive producer of the hit television series Downton Abbey and the author of the new novel Belgravia, who is touring the blogosphere with a progressive blog tour from April 14 to June 16, 2016!

(This is carolyn posting for Risky Amanda!)

Image of Julian's Book Cover

Belgravia Blog Tour


Similar to a progressive dinner party, where a group of friends each make one course of a meal that moves from house to house with each course, this progressive blog tour features eleven bloggers and authors, each offering a recap and review of one episode from the book.

Visit Luxury Reading to learn more about Episode 5, and read on for our review of Episode 5: The Assignation.

Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win 1 of 3 hardcover copies of Belgravia–details below! 

I was so excited when I was asked if the Riskies would host one of the stops for the blog tour of “Belgravia,” Julian Fellowes’s new serial novel about scandal and romance in 1840s London!  I’ve been suffering some “Downton Abbey” withdrawals since the last episode of that show (sniff!), and this seemed like a good way of recovering.  I wasn’t wrong.  “Belgravia” is so much fun!

It’s much harder than I thought, though, to just review ONE episode, considering all the complicated twists and turns of the relationships in the story, and the way the scandalous past comes to haunt the present.  Episode 6: A Spy in Our Midst was a good episode to draw, though.  So much happened!  As the scene opens, James Trenchard is nervously awaiting word whether he will be accepted into the Athenaeum Club (not really a spoiler: he is), when he is visited by his secret grandson Charles Pope, who says his investment scheme is very close to becoming a reality, thanks to Lady Brockenhurst’s interest (which is already being remarked on and gossiped about in Society).  James fears once the truth is known, his brand new club membership will be revoked (“Anne’s pity for the countess would be their undoing”), but he enjoys his time with Charles anyway, and takes him to lunch at the club, which leads to awkward confrontations with an officious club butler, and a fight with his drippy son Oliver.

In fact, there were many confrontations and near-confrontations here, as well as new layers of forbidden romance (Maria Grey, almost betrothed to John Bellasis, has a new crush on Charles Pope, and John is having an affair with Oliver’s wife Susan, ouch).  There is a real sense in this chapter of matters building to a head, rushing toward a big blow-up that can’t be stopped, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.  (And yes, there IS a spy, a rather unexpected one, but you have to read to the end of the episode to find out who/how/why!)

There is so much to enjoy in this story, much of it the same things I loved about “Downton.”  Complex characters, with complex relationships; family secrets; snappy British dialogue; scandal and sadness and hope.  You can wait and order the full story, of course, but I think it’s a lot of fun to read as they are released now, in installments.  What do you think will happen next???


Win a Copy of Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia

In celebration of the release of Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia, Grand Central Publishing is offering a chance to win one of the three (3) hardcover copies of the book!

To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any or all of the stops on the Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia Progressive Blog Tour starting April 14, 2016 through 11:59 pm PT, June 22, 2016. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments and announced on June 23, 2016. Winners have until June 30, 2016 to claim their prize. The contest is open to international residents and the books will be shipped after July 5, 2016. Good luck to all!

Belgravia Progressive Blog Tour Schedule

April 14 – Episode 1: Dancing into Battle

April 14 – Edwardian Promenade: Episode 2: A Chance Encounter

April 21 – Fly High: Episode 3: Family Ties

April 28 – Calico Critic: Episode 4: At Home in Belgrave Square

May 12 – Risky Regencies: Episode 6: A Spy in our Midst

May 19 – Book Talk and More: Episode 7: A Man of Business

May 26 – Mimi Matthews: Episode 8: An Income for Life

June 02 – Confessions of a Book Addict: Episode 9: The Past is a Foreign Country

June 09 – Laura’s Reviews: Episode 10: The Past Comes Back

June 16 – Gwyn Cready: Episode 11: Inheritance


I have been absent at the Riskies for a bit, but I am here today. ::hand waving:: as to reasons, but the short version is Life. I have had my head entirely in my very overdue current project, Surrender To Ruin, which is currently out for the second round of editorial.  Here’s the cover:

Cover of Surrender to Ruin. Hot guy sitting on the arm of a couch. He's super hot and has the legs for breeches.

Surrender to Ruin

It’s Book 3 in the Sinclair Sisters series, and I expect the book to be out by summer, though right now it feels like the Never Ending Project. (Life. Yeah That.)

Anyway, my birthday is coming up very soon and I would like all the Risky Readers to celebrate. I will assemble a prize of some of my favorite books (across all genres) and a few other surprises, and we’ll work out the shipping etc and select a winner or two or several from among the commenters.


Void where prohibited. Must be 18 to enter. No purchase necessary. Contest closes at 11:59PM EST April 30, 2017.

This blog is in EST!! Your comment timestamp serves as the guide for timely entrance.

Winner chosen at random from among the qualified comments. Alternate winners will be chosen if I don’t hear from the winners within 7 days of notification.

To enter:

  1. Leave a comment to this post in which you tell me something interesting or tell a funny joke or anecdote. No judgment here. “I like pretty flowers” is kind of short, but hey. That’s sufficient.
  2. Provide a valid email when you comment so you can be contacted. The email for the comment form is sufficient.

TWaLH_1600Today I’m very excited to welcome debut author Ingrid Hahn to the Riskies with her book To Win a Lady’s Heart. Welcome, Ingrid and congratulations!

England, 1811. When John Merrick, the Earl of Corbeau, is caught in a locked storeroom with Lady Grace, he has but one choice—marry her.

He cannot bear to tarnish any woman’s reputation, least of all Lady Grace’s.
Lady Grace Landon will do anything to help her mother and sisters, crushed and impoverished by her father’s disgrace. But throwing herself into the arms of her dearest friend’s older brother to trap him in marriage? Never.

Corbeau needs to prove that he loves her, despite her father’s misdeeds. After years of being an object of scorn, not even falling in love with Corbeau alters Lady Grace’s determination to not bring her disrepute upon another. However, if they don’t realize that the greatest honor is love given freely without regard to society’s censure, they stand to lose far more than they ever imagined.

What was the original impulse/inspiration for this book?

An idea had been floating around my mind for some time—a woman going into a storeroom single and coming out again engaged. I started studying tropes and was drawn back to the idea of a forced engagement. But I didn’t know what came next! Not being a plotter was something I used to struggle with, but I decided to embrace it. I decided to start writing to see what happened. So I did. And what happened was much more fun than anything I could have plotted.

Was there any special research you needed to do?

There’s a careful balance with research, isn’t there? “Here is my research, let me show you it” vs not enough period detail to evoke era.

I’m always researching clothing. First, I can’t remember what men’s pants/trousers/breeches were doing in any given year. I look it up, I find something I hope is reliable, I use it, I forget. Regency was a flux time for the lower half of men’s fashions. Sometimes I just pick something and hope it’s not too egregious an error (although I know enough not to use pants, in case you were worried). Yes, obviously we want pants/trousers/breeches OFF our heroes, but sometimes he does have to be around his mother, and she would like them to be ON, thank you very much. Second, I like the names for regency colors. I was pleased to work Pomona into this particular story because green is my favorite color. Browsing at the fashion plates imagining my characters wearing this or that is very fun for me, which is weird, because I’m not really a clothes person.

I also did some research on Regency Christmases. Eventually, though, the Christmas theme took more of a backseat to the rest of the story, so I have a very few light touches here and there, but I pulled back from going into too much detail about the food and other customs.

At the very last minute, I realized I needed to do some research on Regency stables, but between my baby and needing to do a quick turn around after the copy edits, I had to cut part of a line rather than risk another flub.

What’s difficult is sometimes not knowing what you need to research. “Nope,” ended up in this book, which wasn’t used until much later than 1811, but it wasn’t caught until the galley stage (copy editor didn’t catch it, she might not have known either). This is why it’s important to have multiple read your book before delivering to your editor, and at least some of those readers should have some knowledge of your historical time period. Sometimes you just have to accept an error, hope readers will forgive you, and do better next time.

What do you love about the Regency?

I absolutely love the Georgian era. It was a lively time, a lot was being discovered, there were wars here and wars there that add a lot of personal drama and heartbreak in a quickly changing world. The class system was still very much in place (think of Anne Elliot’s objection to Mrs. Clay marrying her father, Sir Walter—and Anne didn’t even very much like her father), so there is a lot to play with between different classes that can help drive up the conflict in a romance novel.

For the regency in particular, I love the fashions—especially earlier, with the gauzy white fabrics, and I love the Grecian hairstyles—and I love the classically inspired interior design. Plus, it doesn’t terrify me. Anything before about 1750 seems dark and incomprehensibly frightening. Everyone seems to have been mad, violent, drunk, filthy, and diseased. The Tudor and Elizabethan eras terrify me. Anything earlier—absolutely not. Nope. No way, no how. I’m a pampered modern woman too used to good dentistry and modern medicine. I like those eras, but I will leave them for other writers to write about so I can keep my cleaned-up fantasy version. Having to do the research myself would put me off them entirely.

What do you hate about the Regency?

Lack of rights for women, lack of equality among people, the idea of having to use a chamber pot (or worse), slavery and conquest in America, war, revolution in France, colonialism in other parts of the world, smallpox, tuberculosis, barbaric childbirth practices (no, please, wash your hands!)…lack modern of dentistry.

Who’s your casting dream team for the movie version?

o-jennifer-connelly-labyrinth-facebookOh! Well. Even though physically she’s not as I imagine my heroine, Grace, I would want a young Jennifer Connolly. Nobody can do unassumingly powerful and secretly vulnerable like Jennifer Connolly. She’s probably a little too beautiful to be Grace, not the Grace isn’t beautiful, but we could let that point slide.

Silhouette_of_man_facing_left_no_4For my hero I’d want a complete unknown. Someone highly trained on the stage who can do incredible acting with minute expression changes and through his eyes. I’d want the glossy magazines to all be crying in outrage: ‘They cast WHO to play John Merrick?’ and ‘Our list of who we would have cast.’ And then for him to become a huge, iconic star always best known for his breakout role in the movie made from my book.

ltroyFor the Landon Sisters’ mother, Lady Bennington, there is no question. She’s one part Mrs. Bennet, one part —Deanna Troi’s mother in Star Trek: The Next Generation. So she’d definitely have to be played by the (very beautiful) late Majel Barrett.

What do you like to read?

Everything! Well, not true. Without question, I adore historical romance. But romance is where genre fiction begins and ends for me. I’m not a huge fan of crime, thriller, or mystery. I’m too daunted by the doorstops of fantasy to even try (plus I’m a very slow reader). I dabble in historical fiction, capital-L Literature, a few classics. I’m all about voice. Voice to me is huge. HUGE. Jane Austen, in my book, no pun intended, has the very best voice in English literature—not that I’ve read all of English literature, of course. For period voice, I love Patrick O’Brian, although he wrote much later. I like his characters, too. When I (finally) read All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, I practically got drunk on the beauty of the language. I followed it up with The Road and was blown away all over again. The story made me cry on the plane, but the language was heaven. I like sharp imagery, reinvented clichés, and having tired, old, everyday things made new and fresh—which makes me the perfect Terry Pratchett fan. Doesn’t hurt that he’s written some of the best characters I’ve ever read, either.

Thought I’m crazy about voice, I’m not really into poetry. I like Mary Oliver, Keats, and Shakespeare, but I find most poetry jarring, inelegant, and trying much, much too hard to be inaccessible. I dabble in poetry in fits and starts, and I have found a few modern poets I like, like Traci Brimhall, and, to some extent, Charles Wright.

What’s next for you?

I am thrilled beyond expression to be working with Entangled again—especially my lovely editor, Erin Molta. My current set of books follow a family, mostly sisters, through the time they fall in love while they’re still grappling with the outfall from their infamous late father’s scandalous downfall. I’m contracted for two more and I have the option of doing the final two if the first three sell well. I’ve had nothing but a wonderful experience with Entangled. I hope my books sell very, very well because I could see myself working with Entangled for quite some time. I’ve had nothing but a 100% positive experience.

Author Photo in GreenIngrid Hahn is a failed administrative assistant with a B.A. in Art History. Her love of reading has turned her mortgage payment into a book storage fee, which makes her the friend who you never want to ask you for help moving. Though originally from Seattle, she now lives in the metropolitan DC area with her ship-nerd husband, small son, and four opinionated cats.

Find Ingrid online at

Interestingly, the tagline for To Win A Lady’s Heart is

She has lost everything but her dignity…

So, you know what I’m going to ask, don’t you. Yes.

Tell us about an undignified episode in your life.

You know, getting locked in a storeroom with an aristocrat and having to eat your way out. If you dare. Or ask Ingrid questions about herself and her book. The winner–and you don’t have to make any embarrassing revelations, although I really, really hope you will, there are other ways, see the rafflecopter options–will receive a free download of To Win A Lady’s Heart. The contest runs through midnight EST on Saturday and I’ll announce the winner on Sunday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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