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Tag Archives: The Captain’s Dilemma

I know you understand the issues –I think all of us here tend to be research geeks. Sometimes it’s hard to pull ourselves away from the endless journey of searching out more information, more fascinating details –just a little more time, or just one more day…. Not everyone gets it. Back in the days before the Internet (I know, I’m old) I was so lost in the pages of the London Times from 1813, peering at the screen of one of those God-awful microfiche scanning machines in a library basement, I forgot one child’s orthodontist appointment, a whole afternoon, plus dinner, and oh boy, the looks I got when I finally went home!!!

The Internet has been both a blessing and a curse. So much is now available at our fingertips, but there are so many more rabbit holes to fall down!! Those were less likely to occur in the pre-Internet days. When I could only get information I needed for The Captain’s Dilemma (orig pub date 1995) by traveling to England and visiting special libraries (both military and civilian), you can bet I stayed on point for pretty much every minute I was over there! No rabbit holes. But the time thing, well, that was still an issue. Traveling alone was a blessing so there were no dinner appointments to make or other people’s schedules to accommodate. I guess there’s never enough time, no matter which way we research!

But now if we’re lost in the wonderful feast of Internet information, we may not even notice we’re down a rabbit hole until we’re pretty far down, LOL!  Does anyone else think the ease of Internet surfing has made research even more addictive?

Not to mention things like Pinterest!! How many of you have Pinterest boards set up for details of clothing, heroes, heroines, ideas for cover art, period room décor, views that inspire you –do I need to list more? Totally addictive. Every time Pinterest sends me an email with “suggestions” for my boards, I try to delete it, I really do. And sometimes succeed. But sometimes I just-can’t-stop-myself! My finger hovers, then clicks the fatal button and there goes a precious half-hour or more. But sometimes I find really helpful pictures that somehow escaped previous discovery.

For The Magnificent Marquess, I set up a board on Pinterest to collect pictures of East Indian artifacts that Lord Milbourne might have in his London townhouse after living in India. So many beautiful things!! They inspired me but I had to be careful not to put them all into the story!! (It’s called East Indian design, under Gail Eastwood-Stokes.) Here’s the link if you want to explore: (Be warned, there’s 226 pictures!)

However, I’ve discovered readers can be interested in these things too. Am I the last one to figure this out? I just did a tea party with Cerise DeLand and Susana Ellis where I posted this silver tea pot  very similar to one my marquess uses in the story. I was astonished by all the love!! But then, I loved it, so why wouldn’t others?

On Facebook I’ve posted this picture of some gorgeous Indian teacups that were too beautiful not to use in the book. Just for fun, here’s the excerpt from fairly early in The Magnificent Marquess where both these cups and the silver teapot similar to the one above make their appearance.

The hero is serving tea to the heroine (I can’t explain why without giving spoilers):  “I must compliment you on your fetching ensemble,” Lord Milbourne said, picking up the silver teapot and pouring tea into one china cup. Was he fighting a smile? She could not quite tell. “It is so fitting to the occasion, for one thing. If I had a wife, I would make certain to take down the name of your modiste.”
Now he was openly roasting her! Apparently she was not already miserable enough. He added milk and sugar to her cup without asking, and held it out to her. She moved to the tea table and took the cup from him in suffering silence. She took a biscuit, although she was not certain she would be able to swallow anything solid, with her heart in her throat. He poured a glass of brandy for himself.
“Ah-h. One of the smaller but no less happy benefits of the war being over,” he said, holding the glass up and taking a deep, appreciative sniff. “Please, do sit. Otherwise I shall feel obliged to remain standing. In the company of a lady, and all.”
She dropped into the nearest chair, biting her lip. What he must think of her now! His tone said it all. How silly of her mother to have feared that she would ruin her sister’s chances with her blue-stocking ways! She had done a far more thorough job of it now, in a way her mother could never, ever, have imagined.
She sipped the tea, just now noting how exquisite the cup was. A little taller than usual, it was made of thin white porcelain and decorated so thickly with gold leaves, flowers, and vines that at first glance it appeared to be made of gleaming solid gold. The tea set on the table, too, at first appeared to be beautifully made but conventional in shape and design. It was only when she looked closer that she realized the silver pieces were covered with the same sorts of natural motifs she had seen on the walls and carved screens. The knobs and spout supports were flowers. Had every single thing in the house been brought with him from India?

I was tempted to make this post chock full of pictures from my East Indian Pinterest board –be glad I spared you (even though most of them are stunning!!). If you look there, just know you have to scroll down past all the weapons (Lord Milbourne has a collection of those on his library wall). Even some of those are pretty amazingly beautiful!

What are your research time and rabbit hole challenges? I refuse to call them weaknesses!! J It all goes to enrich our stories and reading pleasures, right?



First of all, Gail would like to thank everyone who participated in the fantastic discussion of epilogues last week. She also asked me to announce the winners of her giveaway. Congratulations to Beth Elliott and Linda, who have won Kindle or Nook versions of The Captain’s Dilemma, the Regency romance which Gail has recently reissued with a lovely new epilogue.

This week I’m celebrating the reissue of my Regency, Lord Langdon’s Kiss, which unlike The Captain’s Dilemma, needed a lot more work than the addition of an epilogue. Lord Langdon’s Kiss was my first book, and although I’m proud that it sold, I’ve learned a lot in the fifteen years that have passed since I wrote it. In this version, I tackled an issue I’d shied away from the first time around and found that it helped me torture the hero a little more. That’s always a good thing. I also pruned out a lot of redundant introspection, cutting about 17,000 words. Maybe I can make a novella out of the chopped bits.

llkAnyway, I feel very happy about the revisions and I’m pretty sure I kept everything that people enjoyed about it the first time around. I’m hoping my favorite review is still true.

Lord Langdon’s Kiss is a fine Regency romp that will satisfy lovers of the genre like ice-cold lemonade on a hot afternoon. This is what Regency romance is all about.” (Four hearts) — The Romance Reader

I think the digital revolution has been a wonderful boon to the traditional Regency genre. It’s helped make many previously published Regencies available to new readers, and also opened up a market for new traditional Regencies, filling the void left when the major publishers ended their Regency lines.

Have you discovered or rediscovered any good traditional Regencies lately? Please share, for the chance to win a copy of Lord Langdon’s Kiss on Nook or Kindle.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hello everyone! Gail Eastwood here. I’m popping in for a visit thanks to the kind invitation of our Risky hostesses, most particularly Elena Greene, who has given me the opportunity to guest blog on first Fridays of alternate months. I am delighted to be here to share your gracious company and conversation, and also to help Elena gain a little more time to work on her newest work-in-progress. I have read a little of it and can’t wait for her to get it done!!

Some of you already know me, or may remember that I wrote Regencies for Signet back in the day, but for those who don’t, here’s a link to an interview Elena did with me a few months ago on this blog. Coming back to the writing realm after ten years makes me feel a little like Rip Van Winkle at times, so much as changed! It is indeed a brave new world, but I’m excited to jump into it.

If I may beg your indulgence, for this post I’d like to go back to the topic of cover art, picking up from Elena’s post of Sept 14. Elena shared her dilemma over “branding” her sexy short story Lady Em’s Indiscretion through her cover art. My own dilemma, as I prepared the first e-book reissue that I am doing myself, The Lady from Spain, was whether or not to go with a cover style similar to what the new Signet reissues have, or try something different.

The Signet reissue e-books have taken a very different approach to their cover design, and I have yet to see anyone discussing it or reacting to it, and I’m dying to know what people think! Three of my books are being done this way.

As you can see below, I opted for “different” for the ones I am doing myself–all part of the grand experiment. For LFS, I wanted something that would suggest the suspense of the story and still atleast hint at the Regency time period. The story takes place mostly in London… The reissue of The Captain’s Dilemma, my French prisoner-of-war story pubbed in 1995, is not ready yet, but I will be working on converting it next!


Here are the old versions of those covers. You can see more on my website or on my author pages at Amazon.

What “branding” messages do you get from the new ones? Like them? Dislike them? Do you want to see the characters, and if so, do you want to see both hero and heroine? What would you do instead?
If you’re interested in covers and/or how the designs have changed over time, here’s a link to a great website devoted to covers done by artist Allan Kass, who painted many Signet and other covers over a long career. It’s fun to look for your favorite authors in the archives, and sometimes recognize a favorite book!
Finally, I’m offering a free copy of The Lady from Spainto one lucky commenter, whose name will be drawn and announced by next Friday. So, please, join the conversation! And if you’d like to be part of the drawing, please be sure to include your preference for Kindle or Nook (the only formats available currently) or if you’re willing to wait for one of the other formats which will be available soon. Oh, and your email address!
Thanks so much for letting me visit with you today!
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