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Santa asked a great question last week–what’s next for the Riskies? Being Monday’s Riskie, I get to go first! Or perhaps I’ll let my alter ego, Diane Gaston go first. She has the next thing out from the Dianes.

Next up for Diane Gaston is a novella in a Christmas anthology from Harlequin Historical, due out in October 2006. Although the anthology is as yet untitled, my novella is called A Twelfth Night Tale:
One impulsive Twelfth Night of passion blights the lives of Zachary Weston, the new Earl of Bolting, and governess Elizabeth Arrington, until this Christmas season finds her stranded at his estate with her charge, a young unwed girl about to give birth. Together Zak and Elizabeth witness the miracle of new life, and with it a rebirth of their love. Just as happiness is within their reach, the pain of the past comes back to haunt them. Will this new Twelfth Night unite them forever or doom them to life apart?

In 2007 (date to be arranged) Innocence and Impropriety by Diane Gaston will be released by Mills & Boon. This book tells the story of Rose from A Reputable Rake:
When Jameson Flynn, secretary to the Marquess of Tannerton, hears Rose O’Keefe sing in Vauxhall Gardens, he is powerfully aroused, both sensually and emotionally, but the marquess wants Rose for himself and charges Flynn with making the arrangements. Rose desires love not a business arrangement, and the man she loves is Flynn. Into this triangle comes Lord Greythorne (from the Harlequin Daily Read, The Diamond), and Greythorne wants Rose for more sadistic pleasures.

Diane Perkins has not been sitting on her duff, either. Do you remember Blake from The Marriage Bargain? Blake’s story is coming in 2007. Still untitled and the month unscheduled, but coming nonetheless:
After Spence’s reunion with his wife, Blake and Wolfe go to Brighton and soon learn they must try to thwart a con artist attempting to swindle Blake’s parents into total ruin. There Blake meets the lady-of-the-night who, two years before in Paris, stole his money and his heart. Mariella has reappeared now as cousin to Lord Caufield (Harry and Tess from The Improper Wife) and may or may not be part of the scheme to swindle Blake’s parents. Whatever and whoever she is, the passion between Mariella and Blake is hot enough to consume them both.

Still to come from Diane Perkins is Wolfe’s story, and from Diane Gaston, The Marquess of Tannerton’s story. Both of me will be hard at work on both from now to 2007.


PS The pictures are details of fashion prints from 1815 La Belle Assemblee- I own the whole 12 months!

(My first time blogging to Risky Regencies, that is. What were you thinking?)

Julia Ross is a hard act to follow but I’ll try. I thank Janet Mullany for my interview of last week. It gives a good idea of my writing life, my split personality, and the books I have out (and my A Reputable Rake coming in May!)

One thing Janet did not ask was why I chose to write in the Regency time period. I suspect my fellow Riskies have discussed this before. I have not searched all the previous blog entries, so I don’t know for certain. I may belabour this topic over the next few weeks, so this is just an overview, adapted from my Author! Author! article on the Warner website.

First of all, the Regency was a beautiful time period. The lovely Classical architecture and decor of the Georgian age became more varied and colorful, but avoided the excesses of the Victorians. The Regency was a time of great wealth, of beautiful Country houses and gardens, of lovely, elegant fashions. Gone were powdered hair, white wigs, and heavy make-up of the Georgian age. Regency women wore beautifully draping empire-waist silks and muslins, dresses that would still be considered lovely today. Men’s clothing also became more like our modern clothing, the bright-colored brocades and laces of the 1700s giving way to the simplicity, cleanliness, and perfect tailoring Beau Brummell insisted upon. Men and women rode though Hyde Park in fine carriages drawn by perfectly matched horses. The titled elite gathered in exclusive places like Almack’s and White’s. Men sported at Gentleman Jackson’s Boxing Saloon or Tattersal’s. Ladies made “morning calls” in the afternoon, and made their curtsey to the Queen in opulent gowns.

Exciting people lived during the Regency. My favorite is the truly great but imperfect Duke of Wellington, the man who defeated the Emperor Napoleon, but there is also the Prince Regent (“Prinny”), Lord Byron, Beau Brummell, Jane Austen, Caroline Lamb, Harriette Wilson (who Amanda wrote about in her April 15 blog about courtesans), and so many more fascinating people.

The Regency time period echoes our World War II era in my mind, a time of great courage, honor, and drama, and one that eventually led into great social change. The drama of the long war with Napoleon, culminating in Waterloo, a battle still discussed, written about and fictionalized today. Also occurring at this time was the War of 1812, less victorious for the British, events in India, and the humming of impending social change, the beginning of the decline of the upper classes and the growth of wealth from industry and trade, social unrest nipping at the heels of the class system.

The Regency is a transitional period between the decadence of the 18th century and the repression of the Victorian Age. As such there are elements of both, providing rich opportunities for dramatic conflict. For example, it is an age when the idea of marrying for love came to the fore, and yet, marriages of convenience still took place. Women–married women, that is–were still allowed to enjoy a sexual relationship, although more discreetly than did their Georgian mothers. Their poor Victorian daughters were not so lucky. Roles and behavior were more fluid in the Regency, less defined than the eras before or after, allowing the novelist great license to explore.

The Regency is an accessible period: Distant enough to provide an escape from every day life into a world of beauty and conflict, but familiar enough to be able to imagine ourselves living in it.

I love going into the world of Regency England every time I sit down to write. It often becomes as real to me as if I truly lived there. I aspire to bring the Regency vividly alive in my books so readers might love it as much as I do.

It is great to be among this wonderful group of authors who feel that same love of the Regency and that same desire to explore it in new, exciting, and “risky” ways.

Cheers! Diane

Diane Perkins (Warner), the newest member of the Riskies, leads a double life as Diane Gaston (Harlequin Historical/Harlequin Mills & Boon). She’s gained a loyal following as a writer who tackles the gritty underside of the Regency era with passion, style, and compassion. Her May 2006 Harlequin Historical release, A Reputable Rake, is an RWA Rita finalist, and The Mysterious Miss M was voted 2005 Favorite First Book on eHarlequin and tied for Best Historical Series on

Brilliant writing, a classic reformed rake plot, and vivid depictions of the Regency period make this a compelling read for fans of this era. Romantic Times BOOKclub

This latest, after such stellar releases as The Mysterious Miss M, and The Wagering Widow clearly show this author has what it takes…. Historical Romance Writers

Diane, congratulations on your Rita-nominated book, A Reputable Rake. Tell us a bit about this book–how did you come to write it, and what gave you the original idea?

The “Rake” of A Reputable Rake (Gaston), started out life as the villain, Cyprian Sloane, in my second Mills & Boon, The Wagering Widow. He tried to take over the book, so to appease him, I promised him a book of his own. Sloane was one of those “bad boys” who really is honorable inside. He decides to become respectable, but the alluring woman next door threatens that goal.

Did you come across any interesting research snippets while you were writing this book?

I read Courtesans by Katie Hickman (Harper Collins, 2003), which told the real life stories of five courtesans from the 18th and 19th centuries. It seemed to me that courtesans had more freedom and led more interesting lives than Regency housewives and I wanted to write about them. So I decided to have the heroine run a courtesan school right next door to Sloane, and he keeps getting embroiled in her scheme, to the risk of his attempt to become reputable.

Which is your favorite book, and why?

Well, The Mysterious Miss M (Gaston) has a special place in my heart, as does my first Diane Perkins book, The Improper Wife. Both were born of the same idea–a dramatic, emotionally bonding first meeting between the hero and heroine. The Mysterious Miss M is extra special to me, because it was my first published book and the book that almost never was. But I really have a special fondness for A Reputable Rake, another Gaston book. Cyprian Sloane captured my heart immediately, and his heroine, Morgana Hart, was such a strong, resourceful woman. I loved them both, and I loved the cast of characters that joined them in the story.

This is a Regency with the gutsiness of a Dickens novel. It’s not always pretty, but it’s real and passionate. Gaston’s strong, memorable debut provides new insights into the era and characters that touch your heart and draw you emotionally into her powerful story. — Kathe Robin, Romantic Times BOOKclub.

The Marriage Bargain was a struggle for me to write but I am so proud of the result. It was a Romantic Times Top Pick and a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice nominee.

Perkins takes a standard marriage of convenience plot and brilliantly turns it into an emotionally intense, utterly captivating story that will thrill readers to their core.– Kathe Robin, RT BOOKclub

Your first book, The Mysterious Miss M, has a heroine who is a prostitute. Was this a difficult book to sell?

When the manuscript that became The Mysterious Miss M became a finalist in RWA’s 2001 Golden Heart contest, I marketed it to every agent and editor I could think of. It was rejected over and over, editors and agents saying that readers would never accept my “prostitute” heroine. By the time Miss M made the finals of the 2003 Golden Heart (giving me membership in the Wet Noodle Posse!), I knew of nowhere else to send it. I had just finished writing The Improper Wife and could only think to use my GH finalist status to try to sell that book. Then one day I had a phone call from Kate Paice, an editor at Mills & Boon who’d judged Miss M in the Golden Heart and wanted to buy it! I literally never considered sending the manuscript to Mills & Boon, so if it had not been for the Golden Heart contest, Miss M might never have seen print. And I would not have written The Wagering Widow or A Reputable Rake. I should add that Miss M won the 2003 Golden Heart for Best Long Historical manuscript, and a couple of months later, The Improper Wife sold to Warner Forever.

Her stories are witty and unforgettable, with characters that are laid bare in such a manner that readers are drawn into the story right from the opening chapters… Diane Gaston’s books are always page-turners; she involves her readers in the dramas of her characters with the knowledge of their motives and cheeky insights into their thoughts. Naomi, Fallen Angel Reviews

Do you feel that having a first book with such a controversial heroine made your readers expect something different and daring in consequent books?

I am not sure about readers, but I know that Mills & Boon expected something different and daring in my subsequent books! They really have encouraged me to explore the darker side of the Regency, which has been great fun. Warner has been more interested in the emotional character-driven stories set in the Regency, and that also has been a great pleasure, because I love to delve deep into my characters.

What do you consider particularly risky about your writing?

The easy answer would be my choice of subject matter for my books — prostitutes, gaming hells, courtesans — but I think what is really risky about my books is my take on the characters. I love to conjure up complex characters that have genuine flaws and darkness about them. And I don’t like to totally redeem them either. They are flawed people who grow because of love, but not everything turns out perfectly. Because of love, however, they are able to live with what is not perfect.


The Improper Wife is a grand historical romance written with deep emotion, authenticity, and originality. One for the keeper shelf.— Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today

Your books have beautifully done sex scenes. Do you find them difficult to write?

Thank you! I have the great good fortune to have Karen Anders, a Blaze author, as a critique partner, and, although my sex scenes are not nearly as erotic as hers, I have learned so much from her on what makes a great love scene. Something emotional has to happen and change for the characters in their sexual encounter, and you must try to bring in as many of the senses as possible. So I just try to emulate Karen when I write the scene.

What are your influences/what do you like to read?

My influences are first and foremost Mary Jo Putney and Mary Balogh. Books like theirs were what I aspired to write when I tried my hand at writing a Regency Historical Romance. I’ve also read a great deal of Georgette Heyer and all of Jane Austen. Before I started writing in the Regency, my very favorite genre to read was Traditional Regency, now sadly fading from the publishing landscape. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to all the authors who taught me to love this time period and to honor its history. Unfortunately, now that I’m writing in the time period, I have a great deal of difficulty reading it. I think I am afraid I will assimilate other author’s story ideas. Or maybe I’m afraid I’ll read something so wonderful, I’ll be scared to compete! What I’m enjoying reading lately are non-fiction books set in or relating to the Regency era. Lately I’ve been reading books about Brighton, where my next as-yet-untitled Warner book is set. Before that I thoroughly enjoyed My Lady Scandalous : The Amazing Life and Outrageous Times of Grace Dalrymple Elliott, Royal Courtesan by Jo Manning.And I recently read Discipline by Mary Brunton, a novel written during the Regency. I want to read more novels of the time period and on my TBR pile is The Duchess of Richmond’s Ball: 15th June 1815 by David Miller, about the Ball the night before Waterloo. I also recently acquired a 1926 edition of The Linleys of Bath by Clementina Black and I can’t wait to read that.

What are you working on now, and when does your next book come out?

I am currently writing Warner Forever Book #3, as yet untitled. It is the second book in my “Ternion” series of the three friends, Spence from The Marriage Bargain, Blake, and Wolfe. This is Blake’s story. My next book to be released is another as-yet-untitled book, a Harlequin Historical Christmas anthology. My novella, A Twelfth Night Tale (Gaston), will be one of three. The other authors are Elizabeth Rolls and Deborah Hale. A Coveted Rose (Gaston) will be out in the UK sometime in early 2007, telling the story of one of the courtesan students from A Reputable Rake. Blake’s story from Warner, (Perkins) , is due to be released in Spring 2007.

Diane, welcome to the Riskies, and thanks for talking about yourself!

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