Hi! I’m just back from Maine (authors of risky Regencies need relaxing vacations). So what do I think is a risky Regency? To me, it’s a story that has some element that may seriously upset some readers.
Before I started writing Regencies myself, I didn’t realize that there were some readers with rigid expectations of the genre. I’d read books ranging from Georgette Heyer (and endless imitations) to unusual stories like Karen Harbaugh’s VAMPIRE VISCOUNT, Gail Eastwood’s THE CAPTAIN’S DILEMMA (hero is a French POW), Mary Jo Putney’s THE RAKE AND THE REFORMER (an alcoholic hero, a non-virgin heroine) and didn’t see a problem with any of this glorious variety.
When my own books started coming out, I was startled by some of the comments on Amazon, both rants and raves. I never intended to upset anyone, but a couple of things did set some readers off:
1) Sex. One reader even insisted that “Regency women didn’t do that”. Um, have sex with their husbands? Where did the Victorians come from, then? But I understood her point: she just didn’t want to know about it.
2) Heroines who are desperately seeking something, even if they don’t know what it is, and make mistakes or misbehave in pursuit of that something.
My next book, LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, has both those risky elements and more. Ah well… I’m braced for mixed responses. At least I don’t think I will bore anyone!
BTW I can’t wait to read Cara’s book; Atalanta sounds like my kind of heroine. If heroes can be rakish and tortured, why can’t the heroines cause some trouble, too?
I’m getting excited for the New Jersey Romance Writers’ conference this weekend. It’ll be the first conference I’ve been to in over four years. I’m looking forward to the PAN (Published Authors Network) retreat which will start with a kick-off speech by Mary Jo Putney, a long-time favorite author of mine. I’m looking forward to several workshops on self-publishing. But I’m especially looking forward to seeing friends again, including Riskies Janet and Megan.
Another new project I’ve been trying is preparing a Print-on-demand version of Lady Dearing’s Masquerade. I’ve gone back to Hot Damn Designs for a wraparound cover and I’ve put a lot of work into formatting the text.
It’s so different from e-book formatting! Since individual readers can change fonts on their e-readers, you give up a lot of control over how the book will look. With POD, it’s just the opposite. I’ve been happily immersed in typography. This may be boring to some, but I’m finding it quite absorbing to figure out how to lay out the text so it is readable, attractive and conveys some of the feel of the book.
I don’t expect the POD version to do as well as the e-book, but it will be nice to have the paperback available for readers who prefer it, and also to have copies for giveaways, etc… More on that soon, I hope!
In the meantime, what new things have you tried lately?
And before you go, please check Gail Eastwood’s post to see if you won a Kindle or Nook edition of The Lady From Spain!
I just got the second proof copy of the Print-on-Demand version of Lady Dearing’s Masquerade. The first copy had a few problems, which I’ve fixed and this copy looks great! Even though I believe e-books are real books, having a copy I can hold in my hands is still really, really cool.
So now I am looking at this proof copy. Susanna’s post last week, Trouble with Titles reminded me of how I’ve been struggling with a title for my balloonist story. The connection: I’d be delighted to give away this copy in exchange for some help brainstorming.
Note: this is just brainstorming–I’m going to pick a winner at random, not based on who gives the best title advice. I won’t necessarily use any of the names we come up with. I still have a few months’ work to finish the story, so the Perfect Title Fairy might still deliver.
Just tell me what you think of my ideas so far and let me know if any new ones come to you.
To give you an idea of the story, here’s the tiny blurb I currently have up on my website, which sounds kind of trite (quick pitches are another thing I struggle with).
My hero, Gil, is a Waterloo veteran turned aeronaut. Not trusting the future, he lives for the moment, while my heroine, Emma, is a village schoolteacher so weighed down by past tragedies she has forgotten how to enjoy life. Together they deal with ghosts from their pasts, a saboteur and a passion that won’t be denied.
My initial working title was Heaven Sent. He crashes into the meadow behind her cottage and changes her life. Clever, huh? Not so much. There are at least eight books on Amazon with that title, mostly romance in various sub-genres but also one book that was religious in nature.
I decided I was not in love with that title anyway.
So I took out my journal and trusty blue gel pen and started brainstorming:
The Angel and the Aeronaut — too traditional Regency! Too much sex in this book for that title.
Then I thought of playing with Flight of …. something. Flight of Fancy? Flight of Passion? But I also found a few books with titles like that.
OK, maybe The Height of something? Folly? Passion? Desire?
Or something to do with rogues–my hero seems like a bit of a rogue and rogues are sexy, right? Rescued by a Rogue? Or does that sound too Regency again?
That’s where my brainstorming petered out. So for the chance to win the final proof copy of Lady Dearing’s Masquerade, let me know what you think of these title ideas. New ideas warmly welcomed!
I’ll announce the winner next Friday.
Earlier this week, I enjoyed an anniversary overnight with my husband in the Finger Lakes. Here’s the view from our room, across the vineyard and down to Seneca Lake. We had a lovely time and returned with two cases of wine. 🙂
I’ve been visiting Finger Lakes wineries since my just-out-of-college days, when my wine knowledge was next to nil. I can honestly say that at most Finger Lakes wineries, there’s very little wine snobbery. Staff are friendly, happy to answer questions and help you discover what you like. I highly recommend taking a tour.
Finger Lakes winemakers have been working with reds for a while, with some success, but I still tend to prefer European reds. IMHO the Finger Lakes wineries are at their best with white wines. I love their Chardonnays and especially those that have undergone what is called “malalactic fermentation” which basically transforms fruity acidity to a rich, buttery acidity. Yum! Especially with rich seafood dishes. I’ve now tried Rieslings from other places and still think the Finger Lakes Rieslings are unmatched, as did Tim Patterson, a wine writer in Wines & Vines: “My due diligence completed, there was only one rational conclusion: The distinctive character of Finger Lakes Riesling comes from where the grapes are grown. It’s the terroir, stupid. There’s only one growing area on the planet (so far) that regularly yields the distinctive balance of acid, alcohol, and texture that marks this bounty from this part of Upstate New York.” These Rieslings are full of flavor, great with many foods or by themselves.
But enough about what I like. What did they drink during the Regency? When I first started reading Georgette Heyer’s books, I hadn’t a clue as to what some of the wine terms meant. Here’s a rundown, since some of these terms are no longer in common use.
“Hock” refers to white wine from Germany; the term comes from the name of the town Hochheim in the Reingau region. “Claret” is red Bordeaux, from that region in France (blends which may include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and other grapes). Burgundy was from Burgundy (made from blends including Pinot Noir), although now the term is sometimes used to denote a wine that may or may not be similar to the French wine.
Regency characters might also drink fortified wines, with a high alcohol content because they have distilled alchohol added. These included Madeira (made in the Madeira Islands, part of Portugal), port (from Portugal) or sherry (from Spain).
I don’t know if homemade wines were commonly drunk by the haut ton, but the gentry made such wines based on fruits and herbs. There’s a recipe for “Mrs Fowle’s Orange Wine” in The Jane Austen Cookbook, by Maggie Black and Deirdre Le Faye. It would be an interesting experiment to try. I suspect the result was pretty strong, since the last steps involve adding brandy.
Do you enjoy wine and what are your favorites? Have you ever tried wine-making?
But before we chat, here are the winners of the LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE Kindle ebook giveaway:
Congratulations! Please send your email and the email of a friend who you think might enjoy the Kindle ebook to elena @ elenagreene. com.