I am excited to present to you fellow Avon Author Elizabeth Boyle today, who is visiting the Dashing Duchesses today! Elizabeth is RITA-winning author who has penned twenty adventurous and romantic novels, with seventeen of them hitting bestseller lists. That might make her a Grand Duchess… and means we might want to offer her more than tea! Without further ado, I give you the fabulous Lady Boyle.
Everyone always asks, where do you get your ideas. Well . . . I get ideas in all sorts of ways—sometimes it is an item in the newspaper, other times it might be a pair of teens gossipy about their “BFF”, and for my new book, AND THE MISS RAN AWAY WITH THE RAKE, the idea for my correspondence match up came from two places: an article in the Jane Austen magazine about matchmaking advertisements at the time, and one of my favorite movies, Shop Around the Corner (and my less favorite remake, You’ve Got Mail).
I had just read the matchmaking article as I was beginning to write the first book in the series, ALONG CAME A DUKE. When I saw this actual advertisement from Regency times, I died—the very notion of a gentleman advertising for someone to find him a Lady of Fortune was hilarious, and wanted to work something akin to this into the story—using it eventually as a joke of sorts.
But that joke, the hero placing a matchmaking advertisement in the paper for his staid and proper uncle, Lord Henry Seldon, just kept prodding the idea hopper. What if someone actually answered such an ad? What if LOTS of women responded to his ad? What would poor Henry do with baskets and baskets of perfumed letters? The idea was just too much fun, too delicious to pass up and thus starts my latest book, AND THE MISS RAN AWAY WITH THE RAKE.
In actuality, placing ads was one way for lonely hearts to find a mate during the Regency time period, just as people go online now. And just like now, there were cautions about meeting a potential suitor that way. Several women responded to such ads and were never seen or heard from again, or arrived to find their future husband already had a wife.. . or two already.
So I have to ask—has anyone used online dating or answered a personal ad? What happened? And did you find your rake, as Miss Daphne Dale did?
Elizabeth Boyle is the author of 20 historical romances and an avid fan of all things Regency, especially quirky little bits of history like matchmaking via the newspaper. You can find a list of Elizabeth’s books at her website (http://www.elizabethboyle.com) or LIKE her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElizabethBoyle) or follow her on Twitter(https://twitter.com/ElizBoyle) , where she waxes poetic and snarky, depending on her mood.
I discovered Donna Thorland and her incredible new historical fiction novel THE TURNCOAT the old-fashioned way. I saw her book trailer.
What’s that, you say? Book trailers are old news, and don’t work to drum up interest in a book?
Oh, you poor, dear creature. Clearly you’ve been watching the wrong book trailers.
In the making of the trailer for The Turncoat, Donna brought her prior film-industry experience (and friends) to the table. The result is a lush cinematic feast that watches like a movie trailer. But the book doesn’t just deliver on the promise of the trailer… it up-ends it, shakes it out, and crafts it into something far better.
A book you can’t put down. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever wished you could have a fairy Godmother, some kind, understanding soul who could wave her magic wand and make all your dreams come true? I know it might seem like we Duchesses have it all together, but the truth is, none of us got here without amazing friends and partners, and—in most cases—professional help. Six Duchesses (including Valerie Bowman, Diana Quincy, Jennifer McQuiston, Cheryl Ann Smith, Lecia Cornwall, and Anna Randol) share one very influential, very nice, and very helpful fairy Godmother: our amazing agent, Kevan Lyon.
Kevan is one of the founders of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, a California-based powerhouse group that consistently ranks among the top agencies for romance sales. And Kevan’s widely known specialty? You guessed it: historical authors. You might say she has a soft spot for us, and loves to turn our pumpkins into coaches. And in some ways, she is the reader’s fairy Godmother too. Because the stories Kevan takes a chance on, the ones she believes in, almost always turn into the published books of tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »
I still remember the day I first started stalking… er…. learned about Sarah MacLean. I was perusing Dear Author, trying to figure out which books I wanted to read next when I came across an outstanding review for Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart. Now, an A ranking on Dear Author doesn’t come along every day of the week. In fact, the thought of actually having one of my books reviewed on Dear Author makes this Duchess want to dive into a bottle of Jim Beam.
A really big bottle of Jim Beam.
With one of those ginormous straws that McDonalds serves that you can fit 10 Wendy’s straws through. Read the rest of this entry »
Duchess Alyssa (a.k.a. The HORSE IDIOT): I must confess, horses terrify me. Big eyes, big teeth. Big hooves. Those hooves are scary. I have ridden a horse only once in my life, which resulted in significant bruises in places one should not have bruises. Therefore, I have stayed away from everything horse-related for many, many years, and don’t know a bit from a bridle from a forelock (fetlock?).
But Duchess Alyssa, you say. You write historical romance, where everyone rides a horse. Yes, indeed I do. And I have to research every single fact about horses and their various parts, saddles and their various parts, and how to ride and hold the reins. Clearly, I have no experience in that area (see above regarding bruises — I wish someone had told me what stirrups were for.) But even better than researching is asking an expert. It just so happens one of my critique partners is not only a veterinarian, but she has been riding horses for years and even recently adopted one, Mr. Beaux Regard. Isn’t he a handsome devil? Read the rest of this entry »
This English nursery rhyme always makes me smile, and not only because if you remove it from a children’s song, cock-horse is such a delicious innuendo. One imagines that the lovely lady didn’t have to go to Banbury Cross (a market town in Oxfordshire): perhaps she was bored by the usual parlor games at her country house party, and needed a breath of fresh air. Or perhaps she was going to meet a suitor: she certainly looks as if she dressed for the occasion, and even if she is very properly riding her horse side-saddle, she has daringly flashed a bit of ankle. Read the rest of this entry »
As summer winds to a close, this Duchess always breathes a sigh of relief at being excused from public viewing. It isn’t that I don’t love the beach – it is my chosen vacation spot, and I count a beautiful beach on St. John as my favorite place in the entire world. But why can’t I swim in shorts and a T-shirt, as I suspect would be not only more comfortable, but also more functional? Why must what I wear while swimming be dictated by fashion standards that reward youth and beauty over skill and experience? Because let’s face it… if given the choice, this Duchess would always rather be able to swim to shore than look cute while drowning.
Whether you are of the modest variety of sea bather or a more daring sort of sun worshiper, a glimpse at what defined “swimwear” in bygone days is an interesting topic of study. I developed an interest in historical women’s swimwear when I was researching my current work-in-progress, a Victorian-era romance set in the British seaside resort of Brighton, and I found the topic and the visual examples I uncovered both fascinating and cringe-worthy.
I am so pleased today to bring you this interview with new historical romance author Cecilia Grant. I discovered the lovely Lady Cecilia when she commented on a blog posting I had made describing my penchant for unusual plotlines. In point of fact, I was beginning to wonder if I just didn’t fit in, either as an author who tended to write romantic plotlines that revolved around such things as a “syphilis misunderstanding”, or as a reader who yearned for more than the average Regency ballroom scene. Cecilia was so enthusiastic about some of my described works in progress that I sat up and took notice. Maybe there was an audience out there for odd ducks like me. Thus, when her debut came out in January, I snatched it up to see what was skittering about Cecilia’s head.
If you missed Cecilia Grant’s incredible debut A Lady Awakened, you quite simply need to be boxed about the ears. Rectify that travesty immediately, please. Prepare yourself, though. Your expectations of romance and courtship are about to be turned upside down. The first half of the book has some of the most gut-wrenchingly awkward intercourse you are ever going to read. And it is going to make you howl with laughter, even as you cringe for the train wreck unfolding masterfully before your eyes.
I find it very interesting that recent discussions on Dear Author and Romance Writers of America (See “Rocking the Mistorical, by the lovely Duchess Valerie Bowman) have focused on the concept of the “mistorical” and whether historical romance today does due diligence to the time periods about which we write. The usual argument against the accuracy of many historical romances is that the heroines some authors create are unbelievable because “upper class women of the day didn’t do that.” That, of course, being things like refusing to marry highly eligible young men. Or defying one’s parents expectations.