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Tag Archives: Regency Romance

Today the Riskies welcome guest author, Camille Elliot. She’s offering a giveaway, too, so be sure to check the details at the end of her post.

Hello! My name is Camille Elliot and I’m a relatively new Regency romance author.

Camy selfieI’ve been reading Regencies since I was thirteen years old, but didn’t start writing them until a few years ago. For my 40th birthday, I decided to take a “bucket list” trip to England rather than throwing a big party, and I’m so glad I went! It was the most wonderful experience I’ve ever had and it inspired some scenes in my latest Regency, The Spinster’s Christmas.

I was able to visit Lord Byron’s estate, Newstead Abbey, and it absolutely captivated me from the first sight of the ruined chapel front attached to the house.Abbey front

The grounds are absolutely stunning—not as extensive as, say, Chatsworth, but beautifully cultivated. Most of the gardens were developed in the late 1800s but some of the gardens nearer to the house had been there when Lord Byron lived at Newstead.

Two of the gardens that really captivated me were the Small Walled Garden and the Rose Garden. They were originally the kitchen gardens, but were developed, I believe, in the late 1800s. The Small Walled Garden is especially beautiful with arches made of trained pear trees, and the high walls make it seem like it’s cut off from the rest of the world.Small Walled Garden 1Small Walled Garden 2


The Rose Garden is gigantic and I could see it as a wonderful place for children to play hide and seek. What was rather funny was the way the trees were sculpted. My friend, Liz Babbs, said they looked like Hershey’s kisses, but I thought they looked like giant turds.Rose Garden 1-cropped


Rose Garden 2When I wrote The Spinster’s Christmas, I went back to my memories of Newstead Abbey for a key scene in the book (in other words, a major kissing scene). The children are playing Hide and Seek in the Rose Garden, which I named the Lower Gardens, and my heroine speaks to my hero in the Small Walled Garden, which I named the Upper Gardens.

When writing the scene, I almost felt like I was back at Newstead. Sigh. I hope to go back to England soon, and back to Newstead again!

Thanks so much for visiting with us today and sharing this adventure, Camy!

Camy writes Christian romantic suspense as Camy Tang and Regency romance as USA Today bestselling author Camille Elliot. She lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious dog. She is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads one of the Sunday worship teams. The Spinster's ChristmasHer latest novel, The Spinster’s Christmas, is now available for pre-order:

This story is the first in Camy’s new series.

The Lady Wynwood series:
The pain and suffering of her short marriage eventually brought widowed Lady Wynwood emotional and spiritual peace. She is able to help her extended family members find love and happiness, but what about herself?
The Spinster’s Christmas:
Miranda Belmoore has never felt attuned to the rest of society. Her family has never understood her blunt speech and unwillingness to bow to conventional strictures, and so they have always made her feel that there is something wrong with her. Now as a poor relation in her cousin’s house, she makes plans to escape a life of drudgery and disdain from her own family members.
Naval Captain Gerard Foremont is having difficulty adjusting to life back on land, frustrated that his career has been cut short by his severely injured knee. Guilt haunts him as he sees the strain his long convalescence has had upon his parents. As they spend Christmastide with the Belmoores, he wants to help fulfill his mother’s wish to have her orphaned niece come to stay with them.
However, an enemy has infiltrated the family party, bent on revenge and determined that Twelfth Night will end in someone’s death …

Camy is offering three copies of The Spinster’s Christmas when it releases (please note it is not available yet!!) to three lucky winners who will be chosen randomly from among those who comment below. Do you have a favorite place in England you would most like to go back to visit again? If you haven’t been there, what one place is highest on your “wish to see” list? Writers, what real places have inspired scenes in your stories?

MichelleStyles smWelcome my friend and fellow Harlequin Historical author Michelle Styles who writes in a variety of time periods, including Roman, Victorian, Regency and Viking.  Michelle is the perfect person to explain to us how Viking Romance differs from Regency Romance and how they are alike. 

Michelle’s latest Viking Romance, Summer of the Viking, is available June 1. Prejudice in Regency Society was a special UK release in April, easily available to North American readers from Book Depository

Here’s Michelle!

As I write both Viking and Regency Romances, Diane Gaston thought this blog would be the perfect opportunity for me to compare and contrast the two time periods. A bit like the questions I used to always answer on high school history exams.

The big similarity is that they are both romances. At their heart, Viking and Regency romances are about the growing emotional relationship between the couple. Society may change but deep human emotions remain the same. This fact makes it easier for an author to find a way into a time period. Ultimately romance is about the emotions and the characters’ emotional reactions to the events which overtake them, within the confines of the society they exist in.

SummeroftheVikingRegency society is an urban society. People have banded together and live in cities. This puts certain pressures on behaviour and accepted standards of behaviour. Like Western settings, Viking romance are rural. Although urban centres did exist, I am not sure we would recognise them as cities in the same way that we do now or indeed as the Regency did. It means many activities were done within the home — hard for a heroine suddenly to acquire a new wardrobe, for example. Or to go to the theatre. Or meet friends for tea.

Because society was far more violent, the choice of occupation for the hero is far less. Basically, unless the hero became a priest, he would be a warrior. He would also be a merchant, farmer and a politician but under-pinning all of this was his status as a warrior. His skill with the sword and shield as well as leading men will have been tested. He will have travelled as the Vikings were forced to look beyond their shores for trade.

9780263250138Regency heroes can and do have lots of different occupations and hobbies. They do not necessarily have to be leaders of men in battle or skilled with weaponry. They can be more refined, if you will. It means their reactions to various events may be different than that of a Viking. Viking heroes tend to be the ultimate in alpha male dom. Regency heroes while still alpha are not quite so uber, unreconstructed.

The rate of literacy was far lower in the Viking era. The whole concept of sitting down and reading was alien to a certain extent. Theirs was an oral culture which means memory was hugely important. There was no such thing as university, for example. Young men might go away to be trained but the universities are founded because of a need for clergymen, rather than for warriors. Equally for the writer, the ordinary Regency voice is accessible through diaries, journals and other published sources. Nothing like that exists for the Viking period. We can’t be precisely sure of the slang or the exact manner of speech. This can be also considered a blessing as there is no one to tell you that you made an error either.

Equally the concept of private space was different. There was much more communal living. The hearth was central in the room, rather than being at one side and things happened in the great hall. While the lord might have a private hut or chamber, there were no great houses with little nooks for privacy.

Sexuality and marriage were different. As the Viking society was pre-Christian until near the end of the Viking period, the taboos against divorce or indeed sex didn’t exist. Women could divorce as well as men. Indeed several sagas use this as crucial plot points. Men could take mistresses. And sometimes would have more than one wife. However, from we know from the sagas, polygamy was not popular and most had one wife at a time. Men could also have mistresses and there were various concepts of legitimacy. Children belonged to the man and he was expected to contribute to their upbringing. So if a noble had a one night stand, he would leave a token for the woman in case there was a result. The population pressure was not great and incidence of child mortality was high. Men needed heirs.

Communication was far worse in Viking period. We do not know how long it took for a message to get between two places. Transport was also much more primitive. The roads were appalling to non-existent and those who could travelled by boat.

Slavery existed but it was different from what we think of as slavery today. It was very possible for a high born man or woman to be sold as a captive. They could be ransomed. Slavery was not based on colour or creed. It would be unthinkable to a Viking not to have slavery because there were no machines to certain tasks. Everything was handmade. However when writing about things like the existence of slaves, one has to use a light hand and not rub modern noses in the fact.

Why are these things important? Knowing the limitations makes it easier for an author to craft the story. But ultimately because the spine of the story is the growing relationship, there are a lot of similarities.

Which do I like writing more? In Viking set romance, there tends to be more sword fights and I do love writing a good fight!

Giveaway: to celebrate the publication of my latest Summer of the Viking, I would like to offer one reader a signed copy. Please email me ( ) with the answer to the following: where is Summer of the Viking set? Hint – look on my website:

I will draw the winner next Wednesday (3 June 2015).

Thanks, Michelle! Another difference I noticed right away was that Viking Romances are more likely to have a bare-chested, leather-clad, sword-carrying, tattooed hero on the cover! Whew!

I have a new book!

The Lord’s Highland Temptation is available now as an ebook and mass market paperback.

Last year around this time I was in Scotland on Number One London Tour’s Scottish Writers Retreat. What a lovely experience! I simply had to put what I saw and experienced in a book. The Lord’s Highland Temptation is that book.

This book was also inspired by an idea I’d held onto for a while. Did you ever see the old movie My Man Godfrey? The original 1936 version starred William Powell and Carole Lombard. It was remade in 1957 with David Niven and June Allyson. A socialite passes off a vagrant as a gentleman and he becomes the family butler, with everyone in the family singing his praises–except the oldest daughter, who did not trust the man at all. In the end it is discovered the butler is a wealthy man and he and the younger daughter, who has idolized him the whole time, fall in love.

The movie bugs me every time I’ve watched it, because the screenwriters picked the wrong heroine! The tension was between the older sister and the butler. She was the one who should have wound up with him!

So I decided to rewrite that story and set it in Scotland in 1816. My Man Godfrey is a screwball comedy and my book is the sort of emotional story I always write, but I fixed that heroine problem!

This book has been getting some very nice reviews. It even received a starred review from John Charles in Booklist: “RITA Award-winning Gaston gracefully tips her literary cap to the classic film My Man Godfrey in her latest thoughtfully nuanced, sweetly romantic Regency historical. While she deftly explores such serious themes as family duty and survivor guilt, Gaston also celebrates the importance of kindness and compassion in our lives.”

Thank you, John Charles!

See more at my website.

Have you ever thought a movie or TV show picked the wrong hero or heroine?

I approach writing my weekly Risky Regencies posts as I do my fiction writing: I let my mind wander and seize on something that seems like it might go somewhere. Usually, it works, at least enough for me to get something tapped out on the keyboard.

But today? I am Tapped Out. I officially have NO IDEAS for this post. Which means, unfortunately for you all, I’ll have to let my mind wander as I type, not just show the finished product.

Yesterday, my son, my father and I went to the Bronx Zoo, which is truly spectacular. It made me think about what zoos were like in the Regency–pretty pathetic things, I think, and I am pretty sure they were called “menageries,” not zoos, and can you imagine how poorly the animals were treated? Horses were treated well, they had to carry the Men on their Important Hunting Expeditions, after all, but other animals did not get very good treatment. No wonder our heroines always befriend cats and dogs and the like.

I was also thinking about what made a plot good–sure, there’s that catch in the throat when you’re not quite sure the author is going to live up to the expectations of a romance, and are they really going to get together, because sheesh, it sure seems like there’s no way they can get out of this mess, not without a lot of deus ex machina. And when they do, you’re almost pathetically grateful to the author for making us breathe easier. Mary Balogh is the queen of this, and she makes my heart stop almost every time I read one of her books. Who does that for you?

And the weather–our heroes and heroines did not have the benefit of central air, heat, or Polartec fabric. It’s gorgeous here on the East Coast now, and the crocuses are starting to spring up and the weather will be in the 70s today, and it fills one (meaning me) with a feeling of enthusiasm and joy. I wonder if our heroes and heroines felt the same, only moreso, because they were confined inside their drafty houses? Or did they combat their winter lassitude by doing all sorts of outdoorsy things that put a sparkle in their eyes and a healthy pink blush in their cheeks? Did they even talk about seasonal depression?

Now, here’s the class participation part: When your mind wanders, what does it wonder about? What authors make your breath catch in your throat? And is it Spring where you live? If so, what’s the part you like the best about Spring?


I’m in trouble now.

Looking over those long, gorgeous lists by Amanda and Cara, I am terrified now to admit that my list is going to be far shorter. Maybe I’ll be forgiven if I say that between writing and raising two kids, I’m always feeling shortchanged on time. Not just on time to read, but to watch TV and go to movies and such. And I know that I can’t really blame it all on the kids, either. It’s me–my muse, my creative side, which occasionally produces things that make me proud but often skitters stubbornly away when I need her to work. Then I plod on alone, because sometimes that gets her to come back just to tell me that “I’m doing it all wrong.” But the process is painfully slooooowwwwww and time-consuming…

Anyway, I always have any number of great reads calling from my TBR pile. Right now, MR. IMPOSSIBLE by Loretta Chase, A KISS OF FATE by Mary Jo Putney are a just a few tempting me to blow off other responsibilities. At least I bought them in a timely manner. I’ve come to accept that I can’t keep up with my favorite authors, even Laura Kinsale, whose stories are so wonderful that it is worth waiting several years between books. But I do get to them eventually!

So I don’t dare do anything called “best reads of 2005”. That would imply I’d read enough books to compare. I’ll content myself with “great books I read in 2005”. Some of them came out much earlier (proof that I do get to my favorite authors’ backlists) and I haven’t included the Riskies, which were certainly among the best Regencies of 2005. But I’m not partial. Not at all! 🙂

So here ’tis:

VISCOUNT VAGABOND and THE DEVIL’S DELILAH, by Loretta Chase (repackaging of two Regencies circa 1990. Both witty, funny but always with an undercurrent of real emotion.)

ALMOST A GENTLEMAN by Pam Rosenthal (A 2003 Kensington Brava, sexy but with far deeper characterization than the admittedly few other Bravas I’ve read–loved the hero and especially the heroine!)

UNCERTAIN MAGIC by Laura Kinsale (First published in 1987–a bit lighter than the more recent Kinsales, but still bewitching and with the trademark tortured hero)

GAMES OF PLEASURE by Julia Ross (Yes, a 2005 release! And a pleasure it was. I find Julia Ross’s books consistently lush, complex and passionate, but this just may be her best yet.)

So there you have it. A short list but a good one. I thank all these authors for blessing me with these stories. May they (and all those whose books I didn’t get to) write many more to wobble on my TBR stack!

LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, a Romantic Times Top Pick!

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