It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…MEET THE EARL AT MIDNIGHT Giveaway

9781402294273-300 (1) Hello! Duchess Diana Quincy here. I am very excited to welcome author Gina Conkle to the salon. Duchess Gina’s books reach across two sub-genres of romance: adventurous Viking romance and sparkling Georgian romance. Her latest book, Meet the Earl at Midnight, received 4 stars from RT Book Reviews which said the story is “a delightful twist on Beauty and the Beast.” Enjoy!


It Was A Dark And Stormy Night…


Have those words ever lured you?


You find some version of the famous phrase in books and movies and we’re snagged before you know it. This was the same for Meet the Earl at Midnight, my newest Georgian romance.


A visual dark and stormy night kept playing in my head and wouldn’t leave me alone.


I live in southern California where it doesn’t rain much, and this character — a man — kept making his presence known. He’d show up wearing a long oiled cloak with the collar flipped over his face and a black tricorn pulled low. All you saw of him was a sliver of humanity, dark brown eyes and the top of a blade straight nose.


So, when we had the rare rainstorm, I sat down to write his story. In fact, the story was born as much from a light rainstorm as the need to balance the Norse hammers in my head (I also write Viking romance).

Author Gina Conkle

Author Gina Conkle


And the funny thing? I’m the organized sort. I have to plot first. In this case, before I knew it, not quite half the story was written with nary a plot in sight. The moment came, though, for some structure, and much historical research was had. But, I knew the story was set in 1768.


So, here are three things that came of that research:

1)   Women artists had a tough row to hoe. London’s Royal Academy of Arts opened in December, 1768 with two female artists in their league, Angelica Kauffman and Mary Moser. However, the two women were not “physically” featured in Zoffany’s painting, The Academicians of the Royal Academy which celebrated the Academy’s opening. Why? Zoffany’s work features nude male models, therefore, the women’s portraits were hung on the wall rather than showing them physically in the room.

2)   I kept having really bad weather during the winter of 1768…I mean lots and lots of rain. I decided to check the weather near London in 1768 and guess what? 1768 was an extraordinarily wet year even the summer with about 6 weeks of constant rain, not just light showers and gloom.

3)   The Age of Wonder was born. You probably know about the hot naturalist, Sir Joseph Banks, and the famous Cook expedition. With the race for knowledge on, King George wanted in on the intellectual action. In the 1760s, he bought 6,000 books from Sir Joseph to start a royal library of sorts.


The history nerd in me can wax on for a long time over the snippets and details I learned. Along the way I also learned that I need to refine my knowledge of the peerage (especially since I’m hosted by “Duchesses”). I tend to write less about dukes and earls and more about men from other walks of life. But, a good man no matter his walk in life makes a fine hero.


Meet the Earl at Midnight


It’s going to take a Beast to tame this Beauty 


The Enigma Earl. The Lord Phantom. That’s what the gossip pages call Lord Greenwich, a mysterious nobleman who doesn’t show his face in London Society. With a reputation like that, it’s no wonder that Lydia Montgomery is horrified to be dragged from bed and packed off to live with him to save her mother from penury.


While Lydia has received all of the training a lady should endure, she’s decidedly un-ladylike. She despises her corset and isn’t interested in marriage; in fact, she would prefer to remain unmarried so that she can spend her time improving her art. But if she wants a chance at happiness, she’ll have to set aside her fear of Lord Greenwich and discover the man hiding behind the beast.


 Amazon ~ Barnes&Noble ~ Kobo ~ iTunes ~ GooglePlay


Thanks to “Their Graces” for hosting me on this lovely blog. This is great and I much appreciate you, the reader, and the hosting authors for this opportunity.


To celebrate books, I’d like to give away a copy of Meet the Earl at Midnight and a $10 B&N gift card** to a random commenter who answers the question below:


What’s your favorite period in history and why?


**Limited to residents of the US or Canada (the drawing done within a week of the blog post).


Learn more about Gina and her books:  Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Newsletter


on “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…MEET THE EARL AT MIDNIGHT Giveaway
87 Comments on “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…MEET THE EARL AT MIDNIGHT Giveaway
  1. Welcome to the blog Duchess Gina! I write Regency romance so I love that time period. But lately, I’m also intrigued by the 1920s – the clothes, the “Roaring” attitude and the sense during that time that anything goes!

  2. My favorite time is the 20’s-30’s. I loved hearing my grandma talk about growing up in Chicago and seeing the mobsters

    • Hi Jill,

      My youngest son wanted me to write a story set in the WWI and post WWI era, though he was thinking more action/adventure than romance. With all the inventions and then Prohibition, life became faster paced and exciting.
      Thanks for sharing your favorite era-

    • Hi Denise,
      Yes, Regency rules! You’re following the right website to get your Regency fix with the Duchesses.
      Thanks for letting me know your favorite era (about 1/3 to half my romance reads are Regency!).
      Have a great day-

      • your book looks great–I love Georgian, too. I’m seeing a lot of press/blogging on your book!

  3. You DID grab me at that phrase! I “cut my teeth” on the “older” gothic authors and love that dark, remote, moors, governess type theme. I truly wish more authors would use it!

    Gina’s novel sounds wonderful and I’ve added it to my Wish List! Thanks ever so much for letting me know about it.

    Congratulations, Gina!

    • Hi Connie,
      Thanks so much for the kind words! I hope you enjoy Edward and Lydia’s story. My mom read “The Highwayman” to me when I was a little girl (the Alfred Noyes poem) and I was in love with the noire-ish settings. Love those!
      Thanks for stopping by the blog today!

    • Hi Sara,
      Thanks for sharing the era you love to read. The Victorian era makes me think of the battle between being proper and dressed up to your chin juxtaposed with the naughtiness.
      Have a great day and thank you for stopping by the blog-

  4. My favorite is anything set between 1750 and 1850. That seems to hold true no matter what location. My favorite setting is Scotland, but I do love colonial/revolutionary/new nation America, too.

    • Hi Gretchen,
      A lot happened between 1750 – 1850, didn’t it? I love the new AMC “Turn” series about the first spy ring in America. I like how AMC is not glamorizing the times, but showing the sparseness of homes and the way they lived. I want to write something set prior to the War for Independence, too. Did you ever read the book ‘Firebrand’? It’s one of those oldies in romance but super good!
      Thanks for stopping by the blog and letting me know your favoritetime period to read-

  5. I adore a steamy Regency romance but I will say the 1920’s have caught my attention lately as well. I sampled the beginning of IT STINGS SO SWEET by Stephanie Draven and loved it! Naughty delicious stuff.

    • Alexandra – I recently read It Stings So Sweet too and I loved it as well. I was also entranced with the period after reading The Paris Wife, about Hemingway’s first wife and their life together in 1920s Paris.

      • Hi Diana,

        Thanks for again for hosting me on the blog. I’m seeing more of the 1920s era showing up. Downton Abbey has opened up more eras for readers.

    • Hi Alexandra,
      I will have to take a look at It Stings So Sweet. Thanks for the recommendation. Steamy Regency sounds great to me!
      Thanks for taking the time to stop by the blog today (and for the book share). Have a great day-

    • Hi Kate,
      I think of America’s Gilded Age leading into the glamour of the Edwardian era. Lovely clothes then. Thanks for stopping by the blog today!

  6. I like any period in history (in general) because it interests me a lot. But in terms of books…regency. The rules in this period are like the law for everyone. It’s always so fascinating to see what the H/H would do in breaking them.

    • Hi Sandy,
      Yes, I think Regency still rules romance. In preparing for the release of this book, two bloggers asked me why go with Georgian over Regency?? And how did I see them as different?? I think Georgian (the middle period anyway) as more “wild west.” You’re right that it’s fun to read about heroes and heroines finding ways to break those tightly scripted rules.
      Thanks for stopping by the blog today!

  7. I’m about to start an ARC of this book for a review & am very excited to read it. And I love the Georgian era–though Regency holds my heart. But if it’s a good story with fabulous writing I will also read Victorian and Edwardian.

    • Hi Maria,
      Thanks for reading the ARC of Meet the Earl at Midnight. I tend to span eras, liking especially end of the Viking Age (early 1000s) and the time of William the Conqueror through early 1300s. When I was younger I loved Civil War era romance but not so much anymore. Have a great day and I hope you enjoy Edward and Lydia’s story.

  8. I have within the past year have fallen in love with regency era novels. They are just perfect for Rakes and I can’t get enough of them. Other than that, old west love stories hold a special place in my heart as well as contemporary romance. I really enjoy a bad boy reputation turned around by love or taken by surprise by it.

    • Hi Amy,
      Sounds like you’re drawn more to the hero than a specific era (though it does seem like Regency has a lot of those Rakes!). The third book in my Midnight Meetings series has a “bad boy” rake. He shows up in book 2, and he’s been so much fun to write and he’s a secondary character right now! I also like lone wolf heroes.
      Take care and thanks for stopping by the blog!

    • Hi Collette,
      Yes, Regency rules, doesn’t it? I’m glad to see you like a wide span of eras. And thanks so much for the kind words on the cover. I love it, too. I’m hoping we see more medievals on the shelves soon. There’s something about a man and a broad sword.
      Have a great day and thanks for stopping by~

  9. I enjoy something about them all however I guess if I had to choose one, it would be the regency era.

    • Hi Lori,
      You know even though I have no desire to write Regency, a good number of my keeper books are Regency. You must really enjoy Diana Quincy’s stories.
      Thanks for sharing your favorite era to read~

  10. Hard to choose just one! I love reading nearly everything set in the 19th century but I especially love the Regency era best. I think mainly because it was the ‘coming of age’ with the Industrial Revolution just taking hold and ‘modern’ conveniences coming into their own. I also like the Roaring 20’s too. What’s more fun that reading about speakeasies and flappers?

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

    • Hi Karen,
      I’m going to guess you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, right? I love the 1760s for the big changes in England with the “Canal Craze” which i liken to our tech boom. At first a small number of people profited (in the 1760s) and they profited in a HUGE way (the hero in book 2 of this series was a self-made man from the canal building. Then there was a second canal boom in the early 1790s and everyone and their brother tried investing (smartly or not) and then there was a bust. I liken that to our dot com crash. Very interesting how some things in history do a “rinse and repeat” cycle. Thanks for sharing your thoughts today!

  11. I have to say I love all historical times in my books but if I had to choose it would be medieval and Regency… It brings to mind 2 favorite books.. :)

    • Hi Heather,

      Regency and medieval and Edwardian seem to be themes today (with Regency as “Queen”). I wonder why there aren’t more medievals on the shelves anymore with reader interest still there? I’d love to hear the two favorites that came to mind. Please share. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by the blog-

  12. I love historical romances from the late 1700’s to about 1840. Lately, I have picked up some historical romance novels that take place in the Edwardian era.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Since the Georgian period spans a lot of time, I specifically like 1760s – late 1780s. I’ve started watching the AMC TV show “Turn” about America’s first spy ring during the War for Independence. Watching Downton Abbey is as close as I get to the Edwardian era. Thanks for leaving a comment and sharing your favorite era to read.

  13. My favorite period is the Regency era in England. There was a lot of change beginning to take place, and the first historical romances I read (Georgette Heyer) were (mostl) placed in that time period.

    • Hi Janie,
      I haven’t read Georgette Heyer but I hear her books are great. My first romances were my grandma’s Barbara Cartland stories (mostly Regency and Victorian). Fun, fun reads!
      Thanks for stopping by-

  14. My favorite time of romance would be knights and their ladies. Also love western and historical. Congrats on your book. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Belinda,
      Thanks for the well wishes for Meet the Earl at Midnight. Good to see another reader who loves the knights in shining armor (or chain mail). I love a man with a broad sword! I love cowboys too – be they contemporary or old west.
      Thanks for coming by the blog today-

  15. I like the Victorian time period. I think the story of Kings and Queens, their struggles and triumphs are interesting. I am facinated with royalty and loved visiting the castles in France during a highschool trip. I would love one day to see more historic sites in England, Scotland and Ireland.

    • Hi Amber,
      Have you seen the movie “Young Victoria” with Emily Blunt? Great movie! I think that captures what you’re talking about with queen and king struggles. I took French in high school because I was in love with all things French. I’ve been to Scotland and Colmar region of France. I’m with you…I’d love to go back and explore more.
      Thanks for stopping by the blog-

  16. I love Historical books and reading them and going back into a time that we only get to see in books! The characters and the history of this book sound delicious! What a fun and educational read!
    And then we have the cover! I am a “cover-girl!” If I like a cover I will check the book out further!

    • Hi Kathy,
      Nice to “see” you here on the Duchess blog. Interesting about covers. I won’t buy a book if the cover is too cheesy (and that rarely happens anymore – I think covers have come a long way). Right now I think “abs” are a big hit. What do you think? Thanks for your interest in Edward and Lydia. I loved their story!!!
      Take care -Gina

  17. I think I prefer the Regecy period because the fashion calls to me more so than any other period. Of course I would have hated to live in that time, but a beautifully described gown just sets the stage for me in a historical romance!

    • Hi K,
      Funny that you mention fashion! My family knows I watch the Oscars solely for the fashion and glamour. When else do we have that? We’ve become so casual (which is nice to be comfortable), but you’re right about the glittering elegance of the clothes. I love Pinterest for the visuals on the clothes, shoes, and homes of other eras. I even follow some ardent re-enactors of certain periods.
      Thanks for stopping by and have a great day-

    • Hi Sally,
      Yay for pirates! I think you’re the first to bring up that romance sub-genre today. I miss those hot men roaming the seas. We need more pirate stories.
      Thanks for stopping by the blog today!

  18. I’m with alot of the other readers. Regency is my fav period in history. The fashions I read about are changingand seem to be more carefree. Who would have wanted to wear all those layers in other era’s. LOL It was a time of opulence for the upper class and poverty for the lower class. That’s not a part of the era that I liked, but with any era you have the same kind of thing going on. Even in todays times there is such a difference between people.

    • Hi Earlene,
      You’re so right that most any era has its beauty and at the same time has some rough edges and bleak spots. If we went back in time, most of us wouldn’t sign up for a job as a swine herder, we’d rather have an elegant position. You’re so right to point that out. And yes, Regency rules. No doubt about it! Thanks for stopping by the blog today-

  19. Congratualtions! Sounds like the earl is going to be a great read. Can’t wait.
    My favorite time would span the entire industrial revolution. From about 1760 to 1860, or as long as Michael Faraday was alive. 😀

    • Hi Sally O,
      I think you are of scientifically minded, aren’t you? :-) I love a hot hero with a science brain. We need more of them to read. Thanks so much for the congratulations and for stopping by the blog today and letting me know you like the 100 year 1760 -1860 timespan. A lot happened then!
      have a great day-

    • Hi,
      Funny that you say “anything old” since my motto is “the older and moldier, the better” when it comes to visiting historical sites. That’s why I love to read about old times too. So nice to find a kindred spirit on the love of the old eras.
      Thanks for stopping by the blog today and sharing your love of historical romance-

  20. I think I’d go with the Regency, because there was so much going on. There is such a wonderful volume of work that has been written during that period, I’ll never run out of lovely romances to read.

    • Hi Barbara,
      You’re right there are so many wonderful Regency romances to read. Take a look at the upcoming book “The Rake’s Handbook” for a new Regency author (Sally Orr). Of course you also have great choices here on the Duchess site as well. Talk about Regency heaven! :-)
      Have a great day and thanks for stopping by the blog-

  21. I seem to be drawn to the Regency/Victorian time periods lately. I also like reading stories set in Scotland with the highlanders and men in kilts.

    • Oh Sheryl, you had me at kilts!
      There’s nothing like a man in a kilt. :-) Isn’t it interesting how those highland heroes have spawned their own sub-genre in romance? Just love them! I wonder if there’s a website for highland heroes/highland romance like this website with the Dashing Duchesses?? Thanks for sharing your favorite time periods (I guess you can tell I glommed onto the Scotsmen.
      Have a great day-

  22. Hi Gina!

    Even though the majority of my books are Regency, I honestly don’t have a favorite time period. I love reading about all of them. I do have favorite locations. England, Scotland (Men in Kilts!), North America (especially the Revolution and Wild West)& the Caribbean (Pirates!).

    • Hi Glenda,
      I love it! Follow the hot men, not the time period. That’s like a great motto for a romance reader to live by. I love your choices of times and places. I’m finding a resurgence of love for the mid-late 1700s. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and have a great day-

  23. Always loved the Regency era. It was a simpler time but beautiful, extravagant and I love the dress. Also love all the Rakes and Nobility.

    • Hi Stephanie,
      Yes, you’re at the right website for Regency fandom…so many great authors with books in that time period. I think Regency has the corner on rakes, too. There certainly are rakish men in other eras, but there’s something about a Regency rake. :-)
      Thanks for stopping by the blog today!

  24. Most of the historical romance I read is regency, but I have read Edwardian, Scottish, Medieval & a couple of Wild, Wild West.

    • Hi Sharlene,
      I think I understand…Regency rules for you but you’ll dabble in other eras and places. Basically, your heart belongs to Regency. That could be why it’s such a huge sub-genre in romance. It is a sparkling, elegant era.
      Thanks for sharing a comment today and have a great day-

  25. Hello Gina! Meet the Earl sound like my kind of book–and I LOVE that your research turned up the exact weather that inspired your first glimpse of your hero. Can’t wait to read it!

    • Hi Wendy,
      Thanks you so much! It was fun to write…the whole book really flowed. Those serendipitous extras weren’t great to run across. I hope you enjoy Edward and Lydia’s story. I love them and love how the series is unfolding.
      Thanks again for stopping by the blog, Wendy!

  26. I love the medieval period, especially in highland romances. Kilted men. Need I say more? LOL

    • Hi Marcy,
      Kilts….men with broad swords…hmmmm. Such a hard decision! yes, I agree! I mean have you ever seen a bad cover with a highlander on it? Those men are automatically hot and perfect. And the brogue? Yes! LOL! Thanks for stopping by the blog today and sharing your kilted thoughts :-)

  27. I love historical romances because they create other worlds for me to escape into. Who was your most difficult character? Why?

    • Hi Patty,
      I’m glad you love all eras (I just about do). As to your question on difficult characters…in Meet the Earl at Midnight, “Lady E” was quite a woman to write. She threw unexpected wrenches into the story that gave me some challenges. One night a scene ended unexpectedly but I left the words as is but feeling like I’d written myself into a corner. How was I going to get out of it? Then, I realized it’s not how will I get out of this mess, but how will Lydia respond? The next morning she turned the tables on Lady E.’s offer. If you read the book, you’ll know it. Thanks for the great question. have a great day-

    • Hi Teresa,
      You pretty much hit my hot spots with romance. And I write Viking (before I ever wrote Georgian). There’s something about going back in time to harder days and reading those hard heroes (and then finding their soft spots).
      Have a great day-

  28. Great post and intriguing hero! I read that Stephen King is a pantser. He just lets it all flow out and write itself for the first draft. Then he goes back and structures it. That’s the only way I can write so I was glad he wrote his On Writing book. I can’t tell you why I am so attracted to the mid-late 1850’s. Women were getting more rights then and becoming more self-empowered, so I think that’s part of it. I love that you kept getting the visions and feelings to write a story in a storm and then find the weather back then was exceptionally rainy!

    • Hi Duchess Kathleen,
      Thanks! It’s great when a story flows, isn’t it? I have to confess that once I hit the half-way point, I stopped and had to circle back with plot. The first half just wrote itself. Then once I had a basic idea of plot, the rest just happened (with some nice surprises in there too). Interesting about the 1850s…that’s when I tend to think western romances (but there’s sure some great Victorian too).
      Thanks for your kind comments and for the guest spot on the Dashing Duchesses. Have a great day-

  29. Congrats Gina on the new release!!!! Your new release looks and sounds fantastic :) Ummm… ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Egypt. I blame Charleton Heston and the 10 commandments for that, even though it’s not a very accurate portrayal at all! :) Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Erin,
      Thanks so much for the congratulations on Meet the Earl at Midnight. That is very interesting about the Egyptian era. You are a first to go back that far in time. I loved the Ten Commandments (I thought Yul Brynner was hot and I was in middle school). Did you see the famous red convertible in the background? When Moses parts the red sea? :-) The movie is a classic and never gets old (we saw it on a recent Saturday afternoon).
      Thanks for sharing your favorite time period-

  30. Not an Earl…but I drove all day and night to meet a woman at 3 AM. She so wanted to meet me that I had to get there somehow HAD to meet her as well !! As the story goes we met, we married…and a few years later, I gave her my kidney, because of an illness that overcame her a few years after our marriage. This started off in 1999, and to this day we are so deeply in love, today we are 62 and 56 respectively, the fantasy story only gets better….we should write a book about it….oh maybe one day

  31. My favorite period is when Mary was Queen of Scots. One of the things I was most surprised by was that even though she was born prematurely she was 5 feet 11 inches tall.

    I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Linlithgow Palace where she was born and as you look out over the countryside you can envision the battles that took place there.

    • Hi Jeanne,
      Wow! I had no idea that Queen Mary was that tall. She must’ve towered over a lot of men then. That’s a tall woman by today’s standards. That’s great that you got to go to Linlithgow Palace. I’ve been to the ruins of St. Andrews and seen Edinburgh Castle. Scotland has unique charm. Love that place…and a man in a kilt is always wonderful. :-)
      Thanks for sharing your favorite time and place, Jeanne.

  32. Hi Gina! I like every other era except the present day. I love getting lost in history, hence the reason why Historical romance is my fav. genre. – Congrats on your new release!

    • Hi Xoun,
      Your answer made me smile. Pretty much as long as the book takes you away from modern times, you’re happy! It is nice to leave the modern day bustle for another time and place and all from the comfort of your reading spot. Thanks for your words of congratulations! Edward and Lydia’s story was fun to write. Thanks for sharing your comment.

  33. Regency… so much going on, historically speaking,… fewll in love with it thanks to Jane austen…

    • Hi Lois,
      Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer…the perennial favorites writing of an elegant era. Thanks for sharing your favorite romance time period here on the blog. Have a great day-

  34. I like any period after 1800, especially the Victorian era (I also like historical mysteries set then). I like the Regency era and sometimes read Jane Austen sequels. I’m not into earlier time periods such as Viking or medieval (those just bore me).

  35. This didn’t work before (my comment got deleted before I could post and it said the Captcha didn’t work) so I’ll try again. I like time periods after 1800, especially the Victorian era (I like mysteries set then too). I also like the Regency and Jane Austen sequels. I’m not into eras such as Viking or medieval. Those bore me.

  36. Congratulations to Karen Haas who wins Gina Conkle’s giveaway. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat with us!

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