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).
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.
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).