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Archive for March, 2012

Congratulations, Duchesses!

Yesterday, the Romance Writers of America® announced the finalists in the Golden Heart® contest. This contest is held every year to celebrate the best unpublished romance manuscripts in a number of various categories. In fact, the Duchesses largely came together as a result of last year’s Golden Heart contest.

This year, we are proud to say that several of their graces once again number among the finalists. They are:

Elisa Beatty

Tracy Brogan

Wendy LaCapra

Jennifer McQuiston

Sharon Wray

Well done, ladies, and have fun at Nationals!

Author Interview: Meredith Duran

 I discovered the incomparable Meredith Duran when I was trolling Sherry Thomas’s website, and found it took me to a blog site where Sherry and Meredith post together.  The following words on Meredith’s website caught my attention almost immediately:  “After looking at her bookshelf, I am not only terrified, I am downright appalled.” — Random Anthropology Professor #24

Of course, I was intrigued, not only because it showed me that smart, professional women read and write romance, but because I struggle with this perception myself (in my house, sandwiched between Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” and Laurie Garrett’s “The Coming Plague” is a plethora of cover-cringing romance novels.) I am always searching for a smart historical romance, and I decided to check her out based on the promise of rave reviews. What do I mean by a smart historical? It’s an ephemeral sort of book, one that is hard to define.  It means I want writing that is accurate and engaging, writing that sweeps me to a distant time and immerses me in the cultural experience of the story, and most of all, writing that gives me incredible prose I want to linger over and dissect at my leisure.

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Interview and Giveaway with Her Grace Julie Anne Long

We are so thrilled to have Julie Anne Long as our guest today. Authoress of eleven beloved historical romance novels, Duchess Julie is known for her compelling characters and heart-stopping romance. She also possesses an intriguing (and inspiring) view on writing and life.

Leigh: Tell us a little about HOW THE MARQUESS WAS WON.

Julie Anne Long: It’s the story of Lord Ice, Marquess Dryden and Phoebe Vale, a schoolteacher and paid companion for the spoiled Lisbeth Redmond (who was first introduced in THE PERILS OF PLEASURE), a demented cat, the pitfalls of popularity, the price of wanting what you shouldn’t want, and how, in the end, sacrifices made for love don’t feel like sacrifices at all.  Here’s the back cover copy:

Ruthless, cold, precise, Julian Spenser, Marquess Dryden, tolerates only the finest—in clothes, in horseflesh, in mistresses. And now he’s found the perfect bride, the one whose dowry will restore his family’s shattered legacy and bring him peace at last: the exquisite heiress Lisbeth Redmond.

But one unforgettable encounter with Lisbeth’s paid companion, Phoebe Vale, and the Marquess is undone: this quiet girl with the wicked smile and a wit to match is the first person to see through the icy façade to the fiery man beneath. But their irresistible attraction is a torment as sweet as it is dangerous: for surrendering to their desire could mean losing everything else they ever wanted.

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Dr. John Snow: Victorian Physician and Hero

   Not all Victorian heroes were tall, dark, and brooding. Come to think of it, not all Victorian heroes were handsome. Case in point? Dr. John Snow, a Victorian doctor who arguably saved thousands of lives in the mid-nineteenth century by proving cholera was transmitted by water. Hero face? Err… not so much. But heroic heart? I think so. And while the face of the man who inspired not only my choice of career but also the period about which I write might not be swoon-worthy, his brilliant yet simple theories certainly were.

I became interested Dr. John Snow when I first set out on a career in epidemiology, which is the science that tracks the origins of diseases and develops ways to prevent and control them. Every year, “The Pump Handle Award” is given to an epidemiologist who has made important contributions to the field. Curious, I set out to research the history of this award, and discovered it traced back to Dr. John Snow.  In learning about the man who inspired an entire discipline of science, I unwittingly unleashed a love of history, especially facts centered on science and medicine in the Victorian era.

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Interview with RITA Award Winning Author Joanna Bourne

A proper duchess doesn’t fawn over anyone, but I shall break all protocol and shamelessly fawn over today’s guest – Joanna Bourne, the award-winning and much beloved author of The Black Hawk. She’s written several romance novels set in Regency/ Revolutionary/ Napoleonic France and Britain, and her series is packed with dashing heroes and intrepid heroines. And spies – everyone loves spies!

If you’ll allow me to fawn a moment longer, I must also mention that Jo won the 2009 RITA (Regency historical) for My Lord and Spymaster, and was a finalist for the 2009 RITA (historical) for The Spymaster’s Lady and for the 2011 RITA (historical) for The Forbidden Rose. She’s also made all sorts of reader/trade lists for best romances, and the accolades keep rolling in for her lastest book, The Black Hawk.

So it’s with great pleasure that we welcome Joanna Bourne to the blog! Onward, dear Reader, as Joanna answers all sorts of questions about her books and writing. And there’s a giveaway at the end – stay tuned!

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Joseph Banks, Historical Hottie

As someone who never encountered a romantic book or movie set in nineteenth century England in which she couldn’t find something to love, I find Joseph Banks to be one of the most romantic real-life figures of the period.

 

Perhaps he won’t make a lady sigh the way Darcy or Rochester will, in all their reserved or brooding glory, but when you consider that the romantic movement of the late eighteenth century was about focusing on nature and emphasizing feelings, self-expression, and imagination, he’s quite the romantic hero.

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Duchess Debut: Leigh LaValle’s THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS

I am thrilled and delighted to host the lovely Leigh LaValle, whose debut book THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS comes out tomorrow! COUNTESS has already earned great early acclaim, including:
  • 4 stars from Romantic Times: “LaValle’s debut is exciting and action packed, with a hero and heroine who play well off each other.”
  • A blurb to die for from Tessa Dare: “Leigh LaValle weaves an enthralling tale of passion and deception, laced with charm and wit…a captivating new voice in historical romance.”
  • Another blurb to die for from Courtney Milan: “an enchanting debut, full of passion, angst, danger, and the promise of true love.”
If that’s not reason enough to send a footman to preorder the book, then ring for a glass of ratafia and read on. Duchess Leigh will share all sorts of tidbits about her writing, including a scorching excerpt. And one commenter on today’s blog will win an ebook of THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS!

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Interview and Giveaway with Kris Kennedy

Kris Kennedy is here to talk about her latest release, DEFIANT. I loved this book! So did Publisher’s Weekly, who gave it a starred review, and All About Romance, who voted it as a Desert Island Keeper.

 Leave a comment and enter to to win one of two signed copies of Defiant! Winners will be announced on Sunday, March 4.

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