• Giveaways,  Reading,  Writing

    Contests and Top Ten Recyclables of History

    I’ll tell you about the contests at the end of this post, so keep reading.

    I’ve decided to rewrite something that was set vaguely in the late 18th century (a period I find much more interesting than the Regency proper with all it froufy dresses. Is froufy a word? I guess it is now) and set it in an imaginary world. I want to keep some of the elements of the imaginary world we have already created in the Regency, so here is my Top Ten Recyclables of History:

    1. Non froufy dresses. Pretty dresses, yes. Here’s one at left. It’s slightly froufy but not overly so.

    2. Battling superpowers because this makes for good conflict if Country A is about to declare war on Country B at any moment for the flimsiest of reasons.

    3. Men have the power but women get the last laugh.

    4. Great cities with universities and cathedrals.

    5. A huge emphasis on manners and propriety beneath which buzzes wild passions and politics.

    6. A changing social order where you can slip and slide from wealth to poverty and back again.

    7. The beginnings of change with the use of steam and scientific enquiry.

    9. Servants, because I’m interested in them.

    10. Tight pants for guys. I’m sure this is something you don’t need a pic for because it’s already imprinted on your brain but I’m giving you one anyway. This is Napoleon, looking less short and fat than usual, and heavens, could that boy fill out a pair of pants, in the artist’s imagination at least. Maybe he was keeping a spare handkerchief, or battalion, or something there. (This is what happens when you do a search on google images for regency tight pants. Go on. Try it.)

    So now it seems the question is what else do I need to make this a convincing world that is like Europe and the Near East in the late eighteenth century but different? Nope, no dragons or other paranormal elements. What would convince you? Or what have I missed out that you’d like to see?

    And now, trumpet fanfares, CONTESTS!

    I’m thrilled to offer an eARC of Julie Anne Long‘s next release A NOTORIOUS COUNTESS CONFESSES which comes out at the end of October. It sounds fabulous. So help me build my imaginary neo-Georgian world, or just stop by and say hello or whatever,  and your comment or question will enter you into a drawing. The usual restrictions apply. Contest ends tonight at midnight, EST.

    And you can also hop on over to Goodreads to enter to win a signed copy (recycled tree product) of HIDDEN PARADISE which is being released in about a month’s time.

  • Reading

    Amanda’s Summer Reads


    At, first, this week’s assignment confused me. Were we supposed to write about what we’re actually reading this summer, or what we woud take with us to our mythical private Risky Regency Beach. (Oooh, I bet that would be a fab place. Piles of books everywhere, buckets of champagne, trays of strawberry-dipped chocolates and mangoes. Cabana boys named Clive and Gerard and Orlando and Sean…)

    Ahem. I digress. Okay, so I turned this into a two-section thing: what I am reading right now, this week, for my summer enjoyment, and what I would put in my bag to take to our lovely RR beach. And let Orlando read to me while he feeds me grapes…

    Books I am Currently Reading: (and these could go to the beach, too–I’m certainly not averse to hauling a massive hardback biography across the sands if I have to!)

    1) Bess of Hardwick: Empire Builder by Mary S. Lovell, who also wrote the riveting book The Sisters about the wildly eccentric Mitford sisters. Actually, these could be companion studies of dysfunctional families through the ages! Bess was born into the “upper middle classes” of Tudor England, but rose, though 4 advantageous marriages and much wheeler-dealering to be the second most wealthy woman in England after the Queen. She built several grand properties, including most famously “Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall.” She was close to Elizabeth and her leading courtiers, and had much to do with Mary Queen of Scots (her fourth husband was Mary’s main jailer, a source of high tension and stress that eventually drove their marriage into acrimony and separation). The book is full of wild family squabbles, spectacular marital spats, and an intriguingly wide view of Tudor society. I love it, and will probably read Arbella: England’s Lost Queen when I finish (Arbella, the ultimate rebellious teenager, was Bess’ granddaughter and a serious claimant to the throne).

    2) The other book I’m reading is Julia Childs memoir My Life in France. In 1949, she married and moved to France with her diplomatic service husband, thus having the chance to experience the glories of French food for the first time. She attended the Cordon Bleu, started working on a cookbook with some friends, and the rest is history. Gorgeous meals, beautiful scenery, the general joie de vivre of France–it’s delightful. I would have so loved to party with her and her husband!

    And now, what I would pack in my beach bag (paperbacks, so a little lighter than the two above!)
    A Singular Lady by Megan Frampton (the blue cover would go so well with the sea, and the chick lit at Almacks tone is perfect for a vacation)
    Code of Love by Cheryl Sawyer (because it looks interesting–I’m a sucker for intellectual skullduggery like code-breaking)
    Runaway Duke by Julie Anne Long (because I’m also a sucker for dukes who don’t wanna be dukes–like they have a choice, poor things. Snort. And because I enjoyed her first book)
    Rebel Angels by Libba Bray (the sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty, which I just finished and loved. Historical paranormal YA, where the fate of the world and the Realms rests on the shoulders of a gaggle of Victorian 16-year-olds. Loved it!)

    And that’s it, my vacation book list. Until I start adding to it. And BTW, the pic is one of the very few you will ever find of me in a swimsuit. Someone snuck up on me as I was reading on the hotel lanai in Hawaii. The last bikini pic of me was when I was 3 and had a flashy gold lame creation to wear in my wading pool… 🙂

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