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Tag Archives: The Vanishing Viscountess

Well, not really.

But she did sorta steal my model. As far as I know A Reputable Rake was the first romance cover to use model Ben Whitaker, so naturally I thought he was my model. But Julia says she picked him–picked him–for the cover of her newest release, Mr. Cavendish, I Presume.

Look at this!!!!!!

See? He looks happy to be on my cover and a bit surly on Julia’s. What conclusion would you make comparing the two?

If these are not enough for you, here are more images of Ben Whitaker

And here is more discussion of him.

I tell you, this Julia is really something. She also stole my model from The Vanishing Viscountess; took him for The Lost Duke of Wyndham.

Check this out:

Of course, this model is the popular Nathan Kamp. And he’s been around, so I guess neither Julia nor I can claim him.

But, Ben? That’s another story.

Watch Julia and me duke it out over dukes and other cover heroes next Sunday. New York Times best-selling author and double RITA winner, Julia Quinn will be our Risky Regencies guest Sunday Oct 26, and she’s answering my interview questions, and discussing The Lost Duke of Wyndham and Mr. Cavendish, I Presume, two very connected books. She’ll also be giving away one signed JQ book, maybe one with a hunky hero. So don’t forget to stop by.

I actually think Julia’s and my covers are terrific. All of them. Which one is your favorite and why?

(Aren’t you proud of me? I got through the whole blog without once reminding you that Scandalizing the Ton is still in bookstores and available online….Oops. Well, I almost made it.)

My contest is still running on my website. Win my backlist book of your choice!

Do you all mind if I toot my own horn? I really really really want to share this with our Risky friends.

One of the things (many? most? all?) authors do when their books are released is to wait for the reviews. With The Vanishing Viscountess, I’m no exception, especially because the early review from Romantic Times BOOKreviews was only lukewarm:

In this spin-off of Innocence and Impropriety, Gaston pens a
nicelywritten, albeit standard, hero-rescues-heroine scenario. With its
sensualityand some nice touches of emotional intensity, this is a pleasant
andentertaining story.–Joan Hammond,


Not a bad review, but I had been hoping for better. Needless to say, I worried about what the other reviews would be. (Picture me biting my nails…)

Next came Cataromance:

Looking for a book with passion, love, action, danger and surprises? Look no further; The Vanishing Viscountess is perfect for you. Diane Gaston will grab your emotion with this one.–Debby G for Cataromance

Yes! But that was only the start.

Romance Reviews Today:

Diane Gaston’s THE VANISHING VISCOUNTESS is a suspense-adventure story wrapped around many of the Regency Romance elements so many of us love. The love that arises between Tanner and Marlena seems both pointless and hopeless when Marlena faces hanging if she is ever captured. Both characters will attract you with their past luggage, current resourcefulness, and their loving care of each other during their trip. There are two sub-plots interwoven with the main characters’ travails that add depth and understanding to the situation. These story threads all come together in a perilously climactic ending.–Robin Lee, Romance Reviews Today

Soon to be on Historical Romance Writers, now on Amazon:

In THE MYSTERIOUS MISS M, Diane Gaston showed great poignancy. In THE IMPROPER WIFE, written under the pseudonym Diane Perkins, the author displayed humor and sensitivity. In her latest release, Ms. Gaston decides to try her hand at a road romance and success is THE VANISHING VISCOUNTESS!

This reader has long enjoyed road romance, simply because the hero and heroine spend a significant amount of time together. En route from one locale to another, the couple is forced to work on a relationship through danger and isolation. If done properly, the hero and heroine appear to be the only ones on the page. In THE VANISHING VISCOUNTESS, Diane Gaston sticks to this formula, yet quietly attaches sub-plots and the entire package ties together beautifully.

From any author, my single request may seem selfish, but I want entertainment! In THE VANISHING VISCOUNTESS, Diane Gaston entertained me! — MaryGrace Meloche on Amazon

(MaryGrace’s opinion particularly relieved me, because she thought the story succeeded where the RT reviewer had been unimpressed)

And finally Rakehell:

Diane Gaston a
marvelous author spinning a tale of drama, intrigue, secrecy and
love in The Vanishing Vicountess. The first chapter of most books sets
scene, introduces you to various characters, surroundings and etc. This book
hits you like a pugilist and knocks your directly into round four with a
shipwreck, a heavy conscience, loneliness, lies, mystery, and regret. Let us
forget the fateful coup de foudre – love at first sight; and all
by page
18. The Vanishing Vicountess far surpassed my expectations
and surprised
me by touching me when I least expected it – right from the

This is a beautiful story. It has all of the elements you hope for in a romance. From the first page to the last the story wraps itself around you like a warm blanket encouraging you to trust it just enough to warm you even when you have that brief cold moment of doubt. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good historical regency novel or to anyone who loves a bit of a lusty drama and the triumph of the underdog. I know I do! This is the first Diane Gaston novel I’ve read, but it certainly won’t be my last.– Christine Shoup, Rakehell

Whoo hoo!

Maybe even more gratifying were the reader reviews from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

To Romance Lover “RL” and Judy T on Amazon, and MK, JT, and MP/A Reader, Diane Gaston Fan, on Barnes & Noble, my heartfelt thanks for taking the time to write about The Vanishing Viscountess.

These are the sorts of things a writer hopes to hear about her work.

My great thanks to all the reviewers for getting the word out to readers about all our books. It is so very gratifying to receive great reviews, but I must say I appreciate all reviewers and readers who put their opinions “out there” for all to see.

Now the big question. Do you listen to reviews? Do they influence you?

(and I can’t wait until tomorrow, when Cara discusses the PBS/BBC Persuasion!)


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I’m just going to ramble today because you already heard from me yesterday about The Vanishing Viscountess. By the way, I’ll pick a winner of the book at midnight tonight.

I’m telling you, you all put me to the blush with the nice things you said yesterday. It made me feel really really good and in a few days, when I’m stuck on whatever project I turn to next, I’m going to try to rememember to reread all your lovely comments. (Either that or start pulling at my hair and rending my garments)

I do hope you go look at my Google Map on my website. If you click on the placemarkers you can see the Road Trip. And if you enlarge the map you can see the placemarkers along the side. It is easier to read.
It was fun making the map so I’m really excited to share it.

Talking about the problems of writing a Road Story in the January Romantic Time BOOKreviews, here yesterday, and on my website led me to thinking a lot about the research I do and how I do it. I will not claim to be an expert at this, but I do have my own way of doing it. I’ll be talking about research in various places in the next couple of weeks.

Tomorrow and Wednesday on Romantic Inks where I’ll be giving away a copy of Innocence and Impropriety.

January 15 on Romance Vagabonds, those lovely and enthusiastic writers.

I’ll also be doing a chat January 15 9 to 10 PM ET at Mystic Castle. Chats always intimidate me because I’m always afraid I’ll forget how to get into the chatroom (I always manage). So come ahead of time so you can figure out how to get in, too.

An interview on History Hoydens Jan 15 and more on research Jan 17.

And I’m talking about Research on The Wet Noodle Posse on Jan 10. “How Much to Research Before You Start Your Book.”

Speaking of The Wet Noodle Posse (2003 Golden Heart Finalists), we (and this includes our Janet, too, another noodler) are embarking on a year long blogging project, covering all aspects of how to write a romance novel. Here’s our promotional blurb and a contest at the end for including this blurb on your blogs and websites.

The Wet Noodle Posse had such a great time with our month of Golden Heart prep that we’re giving away writing tips…one month at a time. In addition to book and critique giveaways, join Q&A sessions and read guest blogs from bestselling writers like Sherrilyn Kenyon and Gena Showalter.

Check out our line-up of topics!

January-Getting Started (goals, choosing story idea, focus, etc.)
February-Character Development (names, physical descriptions, backstory, etc.)
April – Conflict
June-Business side of Writing (market, marketing, promotion, etiquette)
July-Prepping for Conference (both for national and smaller conferences)
August-Inspiration (for stories and for keeping yourself going)
September-Writer Health (physical and mental)
October-GH Preparation
November-Writing Challenges (NaNo, BIAW, turning off the internal editor, etc.)

Get great information in a fun community! Visit

You can enter to win Barnes and gift certificates by posting this news release on your blog or forwarding to a chapter/group e-mail loop or newsletter. To be eligible, e-mail the particulars of your forward/post to and post no later than January 20, 2008. A random drawing will determine the winner(s) of the gift certificates.

All this should keep you busy, but don’t forget to READ and, if you are one of the writers, to WRITE. I think I’ll tear my hair out and rend my garments because I’m not sure I have that much to say about research!!!! Yikes!

If you have a chance to look at my Google Map, let me know what you think! And I’m game for more The Vanishing Viscountess sightings to be reported!

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Today the Risky Regencies interview one of their own. Diane has a new release, The Vanishing Viscountess, out this month in North America from Harlequin Historical and the UK from Mills & Boon.

Diane will randomly select one lucky commenter to receive a special prize–the Mills & Boon version of The Vanishing Viscountess. Mills & Boon selected The Vanishing Viscountess to be a special release celebrating the 100th birthday of Mills & Boon. This edition has a gold embossed cover, special interview features, and a bonus book—The Mysterious Miss M

The Vanishing Viscountess truly is a beautiful love story. Filled with danger, passion and love. Immediately one is swept away in this exciting road adventure.–MP, Barnes & Noble reader review

1. Diane, welcome to the Risky Regencies interview. Tell us about The Vanishing Viscountess

First of all, thank you so much for having me at your wonderful Risky Regencies blog. I feel right at home here! But let me talk about my book.

The Vanishing Viscountess is the Marquess of Tannerton’s story. Remember Tanner from Innocence and Impropriety? While writing I&I, I made a deal with him. If he stopped trying to take over Flynn and Rose’s story, I’d write him a story of his own. I got back at him, though. In Innocence & Impropriety, Tanner depended upon his money, title, and connections to solve all his problems. In his own story, I stripped him of all those trappings and made him survive using his wits and resourcefulness.

I gave Tanner a damsel in distress, a fugitive from the law, the Vanishing Viscountess, Marlena Parronley, unjustly accused of murder and on the run. Tanner rescues her from a shipwreck and insists upon escorting her to safety in Scotland, even though he has very little money and must pretend not to be a marquis. Tanner and Marlena must travel across Great Britain from the Anglesey coast to Edinburgh, Scotland without Tanner’s use of his title, his connections, or his wealth.

And, of course, danger pursues them the whole way.

2. How did you get the idea for this story?

Besides from Tanner himself, whose character was imbedded in my mind, I’d been fascinated by news accounts of real shipwrecks that I’d read in my Annual Registers, a set of books of the time period that are a little like almanacs (I own 1810 to 1820, but they are in terrible shape). The Annual Registers contain summaries of the proceedings of parliament, lists of marriages and births of peers, and month-by-month selection of news stories of the previous year. (You can find an online copy of The Annual Register of 1814 here ).

Sadly in all of the accounts I’ve read of shipwrecks around the English coast, all the women and children died.

I like to start my books with something exciting if I can and a shipwreck seemed to fit the bill. From Tanner and a shipwreck the rest of the story just grew.

3. What was risky about this story?

This was my first “Road Story” plot. When I conceived the idea for Tanner’s story, I didn’t realize I was writing a Road Story. It meant I had to research many settings, not just one, because the characters travel to a different place almost every day. I also had to come up with a believable route and find realistic places the characters could stop. I had to make certain that I described the terrain in a realistic way. I used Google Maps and Google Earth to help me. I wrote about this for the January 2008 RT. You can also read more about it and find my Google Map on my website here.

Another thing that I think was risky was that my heroine, Marlena, withholds information from Tanner, even as they become lovers. I hope that I gave her sufficient motivation for virtually lying to Tanner. I’ll have to see what readers think.

4. You always tell us that you write about the Regency Underworld, the seamy side of the Regency. How was The Vanishing Viscountess the seamy side when your hero is a Marquis and your heroine a Viscountess?

It is always a challenge to me to include a “Regency Underworld” element to my stories. In The Vanishing Viscountess, I tried to put Tanner and Marlena in situations lords and ladies do not usually face, like surviving a shipwreck, being the victims of wreckers, traveling as ordinary people, having to buy and wear ordinary clothes. I also give readers a glimpse of the seamier side of being a servant in the backstory of the secondary heroine, Fia, who has been coerced into her employer’s bed.

5. What’s next?
My next book is Scandalizing the Ton, scheduled for release in October 2008.

It is my Regency Paparazzi story! I got to wondering what it would be like for a Regency lady to be hounded by the press, like Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, or Paris Hilton are today. And what if the Regency lady became pregnant and no one knew who the father of the baby was, like poor Anna Nicole Smith? My heroine, though, has done nothing to bring this media attention onto herself. She only had one brief moment of indiscretion.

Readers briefly met the hero of Scandalizing the Ton in Innocence and Impropriety and he is mentioned in The Vanishing Viscountess. The hero is Tanner’s friend Adrian Pomroy, now Viscount Cavanley, and even he does not know who the father of the baby is….

I couldn’t put it down. What a story! It grabs you and doesn’t let go. Emotion, love, danger, sensual beautiful love scenes, and realism to the max… who could ask for more? A super-keeper of a book. This is one of Diane’s best, and I’ve read all of them!–MK, Barnes & Noble reader review

I hope you all will put The Vanishing Viscountess on the top of your TBR piles and make it a New Year’s resolution to read it. Be sure to let me know what you think of it.


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After Christmas we spent a few days visiting my in-laws in Williamsburg, Virginia, and this time we actually took a stroll down historic Duke of Gloucester Street to see the Christmas decorations. The weather was beautiful!

I knew from doing the booksigning that the Barnes & Noble in Historic Williamsburg didn’t carry Harlequin Historicals, but emboldened by discovering my book in two local Northern Virginia bookstores, I set out on a quest to see where in Williamsburg I might find The Vanishing Viscountess on the shelf.

The answer? NOWHERE

After our walk in Colonial Williamsburg, we drove to the Barnes and Noble in “New Town” (a nearby trendy new shopping center/residential complex that is supposed to mimic a city street, except the fake rocks beneath the lamposts play Christmas music). No Harlequin Historicals there. In fact, they only had a very small Romance section tucked away in a corner beyond the manga and the sci fi. Why stores limit their Romance sections is beyond me. You would think they would love the genre which sells almost 50% of all mass market books.

But I digress.

I begged for us to make one more stop–A Books A Million store in a perfectly ordinary shopping center in Williamsburg. Surely they would carry Harlequin Historicals–But they didn’t. By this time my husband and in-laws just wanted to get home to eat some dinner, so they wouldn’t take me to check the local Walmart, which I was almost sure would have The Vanishing Viscountess.

I love writing for Mills & Boon Historical/Harlequin Historical. I think Harlequin Mills & Boon produce wonderful books and innovative ones. They are not at all afraid of taking a chance on new time periods and settings, like Amanda’s A Notorious Woman, or on “the Regency underworld,” my little niche. They continued to print Westerns when the other publishers wouldn’t touch them.

The Harlequin Historical line was almost discontinued in 2003-2004. Instead, Harlequin turned the acquisition over to Mills & Boon Historical, which has done wonders with the bookcovers and has increased the number of books released per month. To save the line, however, they also limited distribution to only their best selling venues.

This means you don’t see Harlequin Historicals in grocery stores or lots of places that carry the other Harlequin lines. Obviously, not every big bookstore sells them, either. If a bookstore does sell them, they are typically with the other Harlequin lines and are usually on a bottom shelf. You have to work hard to find Amanda’s and my books in a bookstore.

Most of our Riskie readers are familiar with ordering books online , but if you want to buy a Harlequin Historical in a bookstore and you can’t find it, there is something you can do.


Ask a clerk if they have the book buried in a bottom shelf. If they don’t, ask the clerk to order a copy. All of the bookstores that did not carry The Vanishing Viscountess told me they could order it for me.

And if you do see Harlequin Historicals in a bookstore, do us a favor and turn some of them out so they catch the browsers’ eyes.

Everyone have a very safe and happy New Year’s holiday! This is not one of my favorite holidays, because of the whole drinking and driving thing and because my kids will be “out there” where people are drinking and driving. My husband, the cats, and I will stay at home and watch TV and maybe have champagne. However you celebrate…stay safe!

And let me know if you see my book on a bookstore shelf. Oh, Michelle Willingham’s latest Harlequin Historical is out in January, too, so also look for hers. We’ll be interviewing her this month.

Today I’m off to see PS I Love You…again! Yippee.

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