The random—and not so random—musings of a quirky Regency romance writer.
No one with that many people in her head can possibly be normal...

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

~2013~ The Year in Review

As is often the case with bloggers, I start each year with a list of goals for the year (writing-related) and end each year with a summation of the year and which goals I managed to reach. I don't always do the end-of-year post, but I really want to get on schedule with that. 

That said, you can see my original blog post HERE. Let's see how I did... 

I've clipped my original goals post (above) and crossed off the things I accomplished. As you can see, again, I managed to complete 3 of 11 goals. I almost made 4 of 11, but I only managed part of goal #4. On the other hand, Intrigue actually made it to the "published" stage, so that goal was taken a step further than planned. 

Other projects morphed and changed through the year. Two of my Regency shorts that were meant to be in anthologies (#7 on the list) became something slightly different. As both are closely related to Heartless, I decided they should be in their own anthology and then I decided to write a third short story to kind of tie them all up. The third story is nearing completion and the cover for the anthology is done. Watch for it to be released early in 2014. 

I'm disappointed in myself for not having accomplished #9 and #11. I managed 3 critiques. I hope to do much better with that goal in 2014. :) Number 9 went fine for the first part of the year, but I let RNC2013 (August) get in the way and while that convention was fun, in so many ways it was just too much stress. I think conventions aren't really for me. 

This year held quite a few firsts for me, the best of which was meeting some awesome online friends in real life. :) I was able to meet my very best friend, fellow writer Linda Boulanger, which was the highlight of my year. Meeting the lovely, wonderful ladies of InD'tale Magazine was a very, very close second.

And the icing on the cake was this year's book sales. This was by far my best year for sales. I made My Lady Coward free at the end of August and experienced a sales spike for all my books in all the stores they're in. My Apple sales went from 14 (seriously) to almost 7,000. Granted, since all sales (including free titles) are reported to Smashwords, the majority of those, about 5,000 or so, were copies of My Lady Coward. However, those sales didn't happen until the last ten days of August through the end of November. (Apple hasn't reported my December sales to Smashwords yet.) Yeah, this was definitely my best year for sales. :)

Last, but certainly not least, I am deeply grateful to my readers, followers, friends, and supporters. You make this all worthwhile and I certainly could not do any of it without you. ♥ 

Tomorrow I will post my goals for 2014.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ The Smashing Pumpkins ~ 1979 (The year I was born. How great is that? lol)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Betrayal's Release...again & Cover Reveal...again

Again, I've allowed this poor blog to fall into neglect. That said, prepare for an onslaught of update posts over the next few days. ;)

First things first. I've finally completed the final edit/format on Betrayal and it's been sent off to my lovely formatting guru for the perfecting touches it needs. Meanwhile...

It's time for another Cover Reveal! Betrayal is getting a new cover and I really should share that, right? So here it is....

Isn't it beeee-u-tee-ful?? The design was done by An Author's Art ~ Cover Design. Yes, that's me. :) 

This book should be back on Amazon's and Smashwords' shelves by Jan 1, if not sooner. It will follow to Apple, B&N, Kobo, Diesel, and Sony soon after. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Linkin Park ~ What I've Done

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ A Gothic Cottage in 1817

Oh how I love things like this! One day, when I'm über famous and rolling in blunt, I'll build myself one of these lovely little cottages and that's where I'll disappear when I want to write or design, or just need a moment to myself. 

Ah, dreams. They're what keep us alive.


  This building is suited to a small family, and would make a very convenient parsonage-house to a living of moderate income: it consists of a parlour, dining-room, and library; a kitchen, scullery, larder, &c. on the ground floor; and of four chambers and a dressing-room on the bed-room floor. The design is picturesque in its effect; and if executed with a judicious attention to the forms of the doors, windows, ceilings, &c. it would become a very simple and neat example of domestic Gothic architecture. It is intended that the roof should be covered with tiles, but great care should be taken that they are from some other building, and have lost the offensive glare that red tiles always possess when new, for such a colour would be fatal to the pleasing effect of the building.*

*Clipped from Ackermann's Repository, October 1817. Get the Google book HERE.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Avicii ~ Wake Me Up

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ Concert of Cats

I opened up the July 1817 issue of Ackermann's Repository fully intending to find a lovely fashion plate to share with you lovely readers on this Regency Wednesday. However, when I stumbled across this.... could I POSSIBLY resist?? Here's a clipping of the little poem that goes with it:

What else is there to say, right?

*Get Ackermann's Repository on Google Books, HERE.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Lindsey Stirling ~ Anti Gravity

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ Resurrectionist

**Warning: This post contains some images that may be mildly disturbing to some. Please proceed with caution.**

Resurrectionist is not a word often heard in Regency romances. To be honest, it's a horridly unromantic word and really has no place in romances. Body-snatcher isn't much better.

That said, I decided to defy logic and write a serial Regency romance about a female resurrectionist. It's being published in monthly installments in InD'tale Magazine. (Go HERE to subscribe to InD'tale Magazine for free. You'll get no spam, ever, and your personal information remains private.)

I've announced that here already, though, haven't I? 

What was a resurrectionist?

A resurrectionist,* simply, was a body-snatcher, a thief of the dead. They would dig up the bodies of the recently interred and sell them to the medical schools in London. (This happened in other countries as well, most notably Scotland, but my focus has always been England.) They were viewed as the lowest of the low, ones who desecrated graves. And though their actions weren't technically illegal, they certainly weren't legal either. The law didn't consider the theft of the body itself as grave robbery, rather anything taken along with the body. (Hence, the reason my lovely main characters strip the bodies when procuring them for the good doctor.)

And it wasn't just the resurrectionists who were hated for this practice. Oh no. A great deal of outrage was directed at the doctors and anatomists, some viewing them in the same light as the body-snatchers themselves. (I gave my main characters an odd, unlikely outlook in Death Becomes Her, the heroine actually viewing the use of bodies for the school as far more beneficial than leaving the bodies to rot in the ground. I may get into her reasons for viewing things this way in a later installment...)

Why did they do this?

Cruelty4The problem was lack of cadavers for the medical schools and how the law chose to address this problem. The law stipulated that the bodies of murderers were to be donated to the schools, thus making it seem as though dissection was part of the punishment meted out to offenders. As a result, the thought of a resurrectionist stealing a family member's body—or one's own body, heaven forbid!—and handing it over for dissection was an abhorrent prospect. If a body-snatcher was arrested, they often had to be protected from an avenging mob intent on killing them. Ironically, or perhaps predictably, body-snatchers themselves feared the idea of ending up on the anatomist's table.

There was a religious aspect to this fear as well, something to do with the earthly body remaining intact. This would certainly add to the desire to avoid the possibility of ending up at one of these schools.

How could one prevent cadaver theft?

Mortsafes in Logierait kirkyard - - 278670
Martyn Gorman [CC-BY-SA-2.0]
In 1816, mortsafes were invented.**

(My apologies to my Death Becomes Her readers. For some reason I cannot fathom, I neglected to look up the exact date mortsafes were invented, thus I made mention of them in a previous installment of that story. Turns out, as my story takes place around 1811, mortsafes weren't around yet. Again, my apologies.)

Mortsafes in Cluny kirkyard - - 174646
Martyn Gorman [CC-BY-SA-2.0]

These extremely heavy iron or iron and stone devices were placed over the grave until such time as the body was deemed too decayed to be of use to the anatomists. The mortsafe could then be reused on another grave.

Unfortunately, these contraptions were expensive. The average person couldn't afford one, though some groups had the idea to purchase one together, making use of it as members of their group needed. If one possessed more money, an iron casket was an option. Not very encouraging.

I hope you've...enjoyed (LOL)...this edition of Regency Wednesday. If you found this post interesting, and you're not already following, please consider becoming a subscriber to this blog through networked blogs, Google, or by email. Thank you and have a lovely week!! ♥

*To read more about resurrectionists in general, check out a rather informative Wikipedia page, or download the Google book, Diary of a Resurrectionist.
**More info on mortsafes can be found on Wikipedia. Not the best resource, I know, but the basics are there.
***All images are taken from Wikimedia Commons. Each image links to its Wikimedia page.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Breaking Benjamin ~ Into the Nothing

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ Inkle Weavers

Have you missed my weekly Regency posts? I have. I need to get back into the habit. I have no more excuses for procrastinating. RNConvention is long since past and there's nothing standing in my way now. 

That said, here's a lovely little slang definition for you. Enjoy! 

Supposed to be a very brotherly set of people; 'as great as two inkle weavers' being a proverbial saying.*

*Taken verbatim from the Kindle edition of 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Get your free e-copy HERE.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Shinedown ~ The Crow and the Butterfly 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Intrigue will be FREE Sept 12-14!

Things are supposed to be slowing down since the Romance Novel Convention in Vegas. And, I think, they are. A little. Not much. Anyway....


Intrigue will be free for three whole days starting September 12th. This will be the absolute LAST TIME this title will be free so please grab a copy then, and spread the word so others can take advantage too. ♥


...and other Amazon stores!

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Sick Puppies ~ Odd One

Monday, September 2, 2013

My Lady Coward: Get It Free!

After much thought I came to a rather monumental decision. My most popular short story, My Lady Coward, is now FREE IN ALL MAJOR E-BOOK STORES

This isn't a limited time offer, though I can't guarantee that Amazon (USUK) will always price match. However, I do know it will remain free on Smashwords, B&N, Apple, Sony, Kobo, and Diesel. Please grab a copy for your particular e-reader and enjoy!! 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Oleander ~ Why I'm Here

Saturday, July 20, 2013

~Sweet Saturday Sample~ Michaella's Match

Sorry I'm a bit late posting this. I've scoured my recent work to find an excerpt I thought would entertain my readers and the one I've picked is from a short story titled Michaella's Match

This story is closely connected to my novel Heartless, taking place a few years after that story's conclusion. Lady Michaella Harcourt is the star of this short, the sister of the heroine from Heartless. Some of you may remember her as the sweet, meek, legitimate daughter of the Earl of Harwood. She developed feelings for Gabriel St. Clair but fate (aka The Evil Author) had other plans. 

(If this story was longer and wasn't destined to be part of an anthology of Regency shorts, it would be titled Melancholy, In keeping with my one-word titles for this "series," just so you know.) 

Without further ado, here is part of the opening scene of Michaella's Match. Enjoy! ♥

The Season
London 1824

The dancers swirled by, dresses billowing out with each swift turn of the waltz. Ladies smiled, content with their partners, satisfied they were pleasing their parents with their actions. Gentlemen smirked, pleased with their conquests, satisfied they held the prize of the Season. The vibrant gowns of the duennas and widows mingled with the muted tones of the débutantes, creating a shimmering rainbow in the candlelight, accented with sparkling gems.

Lady Michaella Harcourt stood off to the side, blessedly alone for the nonce. She couldn’t endure one more moment of fake smiles and condescension. She watched the dancers, bitterness tugging at her heart. She witnessed one young girl fall in love with the man who held her, his own eyes so focused on the girl in his arms that Michaella knew the rest of the world ceased to exist for them.

Tears stung the back of Michaella’s eyes. She knew that feeling, remembered the all-consuming joy to be had with a gentlemen who returned one’s regard. The press of a hand, stolen glances, and the assurance that he would speak one day, making his feelings known to all, kept one holding on. And if one found oneself alone with one’s love, for just a moment, a stolen kiss, a sweet, all-consuming embrace might be all one had to hold onto, years later.

The crack in her heart deepened, sending a shaft of pain through her body. She stumbled back, disappearing behind the shrubbery that lined the grand ballroom. Her shaking legs threatened to send her to the floor.

How could the pain remain so fresh after so many years? She’d found a man she loved, one who’d adored her, made her feel safe and secure. She may not have been allowed to marry him, spend her life with him, but she’d still had much more than most young ladies.

Years later, her pain should be nonexistent, or at least manageable. Yet she could no longer see her sister, her beloved sister, the one with whom she’d never had secrets. As time passed the pain did not lessen, as she was told it would. It only increased, bringing envy and bitterness with it.

She envied her sister’s happiness. Leandra was married to the worst man in England, yet her happiness was visible for all to see. Her duke treated everyone with contempt, but for Leandra he was a different man. He loved her and her alone. He’d changed for her. He continued to change for her.

And it was that very man who’d arranged a marriage for Michaella, the sister he’d gained through marriage. He’d found a man he approved of to be her husband. The arrangements, the details, and the final agreement were all carried out through letters, hidden from Michaella’s mother. The countess would not look kindly upon the duke for interfering.

Good manners demanded Michaella at least call on the duke, on her sister, assure them both of her good health and continued love for them. It was no fault of theirs that the one man she truly loved was gone.

A tear escaped. Brushing it angrily away, Michaella straightened. It was enough. She could no longer wallow in her misery. She had to move on, and her betrothal was just the thing. Perhaps babies would help her leave the past fully behind, allow her to grow, maybe even find the happiness she’d so briefly enjoyed with Gabriel.

Just the thought of him sent the pain coalescing through her. How could life be so unfair?

“Steady, my lady,” a voice whispered close to her ear, making her jump. “You would not want the tabbies catching sight of you in such a state.”

©2013 Laura J Miller. All Rights Reserved.

Thank you for taking the time to read my excerpt! For more Sweet Saturday Samples, please click HERE

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Joelle (FFXIII-2) ~ Village and Void

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mark Your Calendars! Intrigue Will Be FREE!

Intrigue will be FREE!? 

Yes, you read that right. Starting July 14, for two whole days Intrigue can be downloaded for free from the Amazon Kindle Store. Even better, you can download Linda Boulanger's new book, Dance With the Enemy, for FREE too! So mark your calendars, 'cause you don't want to miss this!!

~Intrigue by Jaimey Grant~
Blackmail, highway robbery, murder, and treason. What's a lady to do?

~Dance with the Enemy by Linda Boulanger~
Was his blood flowing through her veins enough to unite their hearts?

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Sarah MacLachlan ~ Don't Give Up On Us

Saturday, July 6, 2013

~Sweet Saturday Sample~ Intrigue

It is Saturday and that means it’s time for a Sweet Sample from one of my books. It’s been several months since I’ve had opportunity to do so, but I mean to get back into the habit. 

Enough of that. Let’s get to the sample.  

This is taken from Chapter Four of my newest Regency release, Intrigue. The heroine (Malvina) is engaged to a man she barely knows (Gideon), has a teenage son who is a wee bit unbalanced (Wolf), and is being blackmailed by a scoundrel (...we don't know his name at this point). Enjoy!

About a week after Wolf’s homecoming, Malvina received an unexpected, yet expected, visitor.

The weather was still balmy at the peak of the day. Malvina had taken to walking about unescorted in the woods near the house. She used the time to think and as her problems had increased of late, she had much to occupy her mind.

An insect buzzed close to her ear and she waved it away. As her arm came down, she was grabbed from behind. A hand closed over her mouth, stifling her cry of alarm and cutting off her air. Her captor dragged her backwards, into the trees, until they were hidden from the view of any casual passersby.

She struggled against the arm, desperate to escape as her air slowly dwindled, black edging her vision. Then a voice whispered close to her ear, “If you don’t scream, my lady, I will release you.”

After a brief nod she was released. She stumbled and nearly fell to the ground but her companion reached out and steadied her with a hand under her elbow.

“Where have you been?” she snapped, her eyes probing the shadows in an attempt to make out his features. “I began to think you had decided to leave me out of your plotting.”

“Hoping, more like,” scoffed the man. “Unfortunately for you, I still have need of you. I will contact you soon about your next assignment.”

“Very well,” she answered, knowing she had no other choice. What this man held over her head was enough to make her do just about anything he could think to request.

The man glanced around the wooded area with a distracted look on his face. A patch of sunlight lit his face and he stepped out of it, squinting up through the leaves overhead. His brow crinkled.

In that moment of brightness, Malvina caught ordinary features, handsome yet nothing out of the common way, dark brown hair peeking out from beneath his hat. Then he was hidden in shadow again.

“I hear you have a man staying with you. Care to explain that?” His eyes swiveled back to hers, sliding over her face and down to her bosom. He paused there, eyes narrowing. She could only assume he stared at the pendant she’d taken to wearing, the pretty little gift bestowed on her by the very man he wanted to discuss.

Malvina felt an overwhelming urge to kick him in the shin and run away. A childish desire, to be sure, but one she couldn’t help but feel. “I am engaged. You may wish me well.”

“Indeed?” he replied, his brows raised slightly. “And will he be a problem for you? I would hate to have to remove him from the scene because he put his nose where it doesn’t belong.”

“He will not be a problem,” lied Malvina. She schooled her expression into one of annoyance, trying to cover her desperate hope that Gideon would prove to be just that. But at the same time, she feared for him.

“And who is the lucky man? All I can uncover is a vague description and his abject laziness.”

“Does it matter?”

“It does if you want him to survive the night.”

She studied him for signs of an empty threat. She was used to such, having lived with a man who was quite fond of empty threats. Finding nothing but dark promise, she capitulated. “He is Gideon Mallory,” she told him, giving him the name her betrothed had given the headmaster at Wolf’s school.

A look of sheer amazement crossed the man’s face. He snorted a laugh that contained hints of genuine amusement. “Did you say Gideon Mallory?”

“Do you know him?” she asked, unable to hide her surprise.

“The question is, my dear lady, do you?”

This book is currently available on Amazon HERE. 

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my excerpt! Please take a moment and check out some other Sweet Saturday Samples by clicking HERE

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ LotR (Return of the King) Soundtrack ~ The Return of the King

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

~General Updates~ Intrigue, InD'Tale, RNC, Book Covers

Well, dang. I don't like that I'm getting into the habit of updating this blog only once a month. Not good. Things should get back to normal after August, when all the vacations and conventions and stuff are behind me.

I did it. I clicked the button.
  Intrigue (my next full-length Regency romance) is finally done and uploaded to KDP. It's currently "in review" on my KDP dashboard. Hopefully, by this time tomorrow, it will be available for purchase.

  This one takes place between Deception and Entangled*. The hero is a secondary character from Deception. His friends include the Duke of Derringer, so of course, the morbidly attired, slightly eccentric duke makes an appearance.

  *Formerly known as Spellbound.

InD'Tale Magazine and RNConvention.... 
  The lovely ladies from InD'Tale are hosting a casual gathering at the Golden Nugget Buffet in Las Vegas on August 8. It's so they (we) can get to know the lovely readers of InD'Tale Magazine. If you plan to be in Vegas for the convention, please consider gracing us with your presence. The exact time is yet to be determined.

  More info on the event can be found HERE and info on the buffet itself can be found HERE

Book Covers.... 
  I have joined forces with some seriously brilliant cover designers. Our fearless leader, Renée Barratt of The Cover Counts, started a facebook page called Cover Art Collective with the specific purpose of displaying the premade covers that many of us have available. So if you are an author in need of an affordable, quick, yet professional cover, please check out the ones listed there. ♥

  *Each designer has their own album of available covers. These are NOT template designs. Each design is sold only once. When a design is purchased, it is removed from the page. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Matchbox 20 ~ Real World

Saturday, June 1, 2013

~General Updates~ New Releases, InD'Tale, The 11th Commandment

It's now time for another catch-up post. 

New Releases...
I've revealed the cover for my upcoming release, Intrigue. This book is connected to my others in that it takes place between Deception and Entangled* and it features a rather memorable appearance by the Duke of Derringer (from Heartless). 

So here's the official... 
...for you lovely blog readers: 

Look for this new title in July 2013. The book description can be found on my website HERE.

*Formerly known as Spellbound.

InD'Tale Magazine... 
With the end of The 11th Commandment, there's now a new serial in InD'Tale Magazine, the first installment having officially made its debut in the June 2013 issue. Check your inboxes for your copy. If you haven't subscribed yet, you should do so now. It's still FREE.

The new story is a bit morbid, a bit dark, and a good bit more humorous than I'd originally intended. I knew body-snatching would be a dark subject and when the idea occurred to me for a woman to have this unlikely profession, it also occurred to me she'd need help doing it. Sisters, perhaps. Six sisters, in turns out, for a total of seven young women involved in one of the most despised activities of the time. Who knew they'd all have senses of humor, teasing each other, clearly a close-knit family, despite their very morbid job. It'll be interesting to see how it all turns out. ♥

On that note, I need to brainstorm a new idea for my next serial...

The 11th Commandment...
My previous serial Regency has been compiled and is now available for purchase. If you want the convenience of having the whole story on your e-reading device, it's only $1 USD to get it. The eBook is currently available on Amazon and Smashwords, with B&N, Kobo, Sony, Apple, and Diesel coming soon.

If you are an InD'tale subscriber, you can still read the whole story for free by accessing past issues in the magazine archive. (You must be registered and logged in to access the archive.)

I think that's the extent of my news at the moment. I am stressed, excited, overwhelmed, and a little nuts at the moment, but I think things will calm a bit after the Romance Novel Convention in August.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Sick Puppies ~ Odd One

Friday, May 3, 2013

~General Updates~ Regency Wednesday, RNC, InD'Tale, Cover Reveal

Regency Wednesday...
Before I get into the big updates I have to confess that I am deeply sorry but Regency Wednesday will be postponed for the next several weeks. I have eleventy-billion things to do before the Romance Novel Convention in August (Vegas, baby!!) and I'd rather choose to temporarily suspend my weekly Regency-themed posts than continue to feel guilty for forgetting to do them. 

Romance Novel Convention...
Click the image to find out more about the
Romance Novel Convention!
I had a recent issue and seriously considered asking for a refund for the Romance Novel Convention. Things have been [adequately] resolved now, though, so I will hold my tongue and plan, plan, plan to have the BEST time there. Perhaps I'll even get to meet some of my fabulous readers!

The First Annual 
Romance Novel Convention 
presented by international cover model 
Jimmy Thomas 
Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino 
Las Vegas, Nevada 
August 7-11, 2013 (Wednesday-Sunday) 
(registration, 5 days/4 nights hotel, all classes, events, and meals) 

In other RNConvention news, the first annual RONÉ Awards will be held Friday, August 9 at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino. InD'Tale Magazine is hosting this event. The voting is open now so click on over to to cast your votes for your favorite indie romances.* ♥♥

InD'Tale Magazine...
The 10th and FINAL installment of The 11th Commandment has officially been published! That means I can now compile the entire collection into one convenient volume and offer it up for reader consumption. This edition will be released June 1 with the help of TreasureLine Publishing.

That also means there's a new serial Regency just around the corner. I came up with something that really plays on my dark, slightly morbid tendencies, and I hope it turns out as entertaining for you to read as it does for me to write! The announcement of my new story was done with a... the May issue. Without further ado, here's the lovely threads for my next serial project:  

This new story is about a resurrectionist or body-snatcher—someone who steals bodies from graves and sells them to the various medical schools for the purpose of dissection. The really cool thing about this story is that the body-snatcher is female. And there's a doctor. And he's hot, of course.

I think that's it for now. If you have any thoughts on my new cover, my new serial, the Romance Novel Convention, InD'Tale Magazine, or love and life in general, please leave a comment.

*Voting requires website registration (free). If you'd like to vote without registering, the site has instructions on how to do that. Romance Novel Convention ad, RONÉ ad, The 11th Commandment cover, and Death Becomes Her cover/ad were designed by Laura J Miller of An Author's Art (me, lol).

As always...
♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ FFXIII-2 ~ Parallel Worlds

Thursday, April 18, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ None-Such

I missed the boat yesterday. Too much happening and no time. I think that's a common complaint amongst authors, especially indie ones. All whining aside, here's the post that should have went up yesterday. It's just a simple definition post again, from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Enjoy! 

One that is unequalled: frequently applied ironically. 

*Taken verbatim from the Kindle edition. Get your copy HERE.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen (Nashville Cast) ~ Fade Into You

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Redemption is FREE April 13-17

Have you been hoping Redemption would be free so you can add it to your e-library? Now's your chance and it will be your ONLY chance to get the revamped version FREE. I'm not enrolling this one in KDP Select so getting it from Amazon will cost $2.99. If you stop by Smashwords between April 13-17 and use code TY54M in your cart, however, you can grab the format of your choice absolutely free. Take advantage while you can! Click HERE to go to the site. 

*To take advantage of this offer, click HERE, add the book to your cart, enter code TY54M in the space provided in the cart, click apply, then checkout. Make sure it lists your cart total as $0.00 before you click checkout, or you will be charged the regular price of $2.99.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Staind ~ Safe Place

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ Hobby-Horse

I've never mentioned a hobby-horse in any of my books and I'm not sure I ever will. I'm not even sure I can recall the mention of such a contraption in the 1000+ Regency romances I've read over the years. Still, this gave me a chuckle when I stumbled across it in the 1819 edition of Ackermann's Repository. 

I'm not going to type out the description for this plate, but the clipping below should be readable. Interesting stuff. 

*To see this article in its natural setting, check out Ackermann's Repository, February 1819, p. 109. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Matchbox 20 ~ 3AM

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

~Cover Reveal~ Redemption Gets New Threads

Many of you know my older Regency romances have been picked up by TreasureLine Publishing, so I've been working on giving them new coats, as well as better formatted interiors. Heartless was the first to get that, though it took me over a year to accomplish it. I haven't taken nearly so long with Redemption, though the cover is something I've been working on for quite a while. 

Before I get to the point, let me refresh your memory....

This was the very first cover I made for Redemption, way back in 2008, when  CreateSpace's self-published books department was still pretty new and the number of Kindle books was about 40,000. My graphics program was one of the earlier versions of Microsoft's now defunct Picture It! program. The photo was one I took myself.

This is the remade cover it got a year or so later. Not much difference, though an improvement, if only a slight one. I believe at that time I was still using Picture It! for my graphic design needs and it's the same photo I used in the first version of this cover. 

And this is the new cover, one that I hope will be the last cover for this book. I've come a long way in cover design, haven't I? LOL This one was made using Corel's Paint Shop Pro and some stock photos I acquired from Dreamstime

If you'd like to read more about this book, you can visit my Redemption page on my website

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Joelle (FFXIII-2) ~ Plains of Eternity

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ Half-Mourning

Half-mourning was about halfway through the mourning period, the point when the one in mourning stopped wearing black and switched to gray or lavender with black trim or accents. Half-mourning was considered a transition to wearing colors again.

Again, this affected ladies more than gentlemen, simply because the gentlemen wore black much of the time anyway.

For details on wills, funerals, or mourning, you can check out two of my previous Regency Wednesday posts: Funerals and Wills; Mourning. Both include links to other sites for more details on these subjects.

For detailed descriptions of the fashions shown here, see the matching Google Books clipping below.

*Images and description clipped from Ackermann's Repository, Jan 1819, p. 52

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Daughtry ~ Breakdown

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ 1819 Window Draperies

How's this for a special treat? While perusing Ackermann's Repository (Dec 1819) I stumbled across this charming plate for Regency window draperies.

  AN ingenious artist will communicate to the commonest theme an inexhaustible variety of design: in doing this he must, however, give liberty to his ideas, which, if well instructed in the first instance, will never take their flight beyond the limits prescribed by fitness and true taste. The imagination so controuled is properly distinguished from fancy, which wantonly oversteps all limitations, and trespasses alike on the most sacred and on the profanest grounds of theory and practice; and hence the distinction between the works of an artist and of an amateur, as well in the higher departments of art, as in that of mere upholstery.
  The annexed subject presents features of perfect novelty, without a departure from its guiding principles. The centre draperies, in two colours, are composed for a Venetian or Palladian window: they are supported by a bow-like ornament, and by pilasters, to which the curtains are connected; the sub-curtains are also festooned by the bow, and guarded by a lateral transom, that passes from pilaster to pilaster. 
  The designs on the right and left are light and elegant: they should be composed of silk, and the sub-curtains of transparent materials richly embroidered: so executed, the delicacy of their combinations makes them suitable to a cabinet or boudoir. 
  For these designs we are indebted to Mr. Stafford of Bath.

*Image and description clipped from Ackermann's Repository, Dec 1819, p. 365. Typed description is taken verbatim from the above magazine clipping. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ FFXIII-2 ~ Endless Paradox

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ Mourning

To go along with last week's post on funerals and wills, this week's post is about mourning customs and mourning attire. 

The mourning period differed depending on which relative died. The longest period of mourning was reserved for a spouse, 12 months. Half that time (6 months) was spent mourning a parent or a parent-in-law. Half again (3 months) for a brother or sister, uncle or aunt. Six weeks of mourning was for a sister-in-law (brother-in-law too, I assume), aunt or uncle (I wonder if this was for an aunt or uncle by marriage, rather than blood; one source suggests closeness to the aunt or uncle as a possible reason for the repetition). For three weeks one would mourn the loss of an uncle or aunt (now I'm just confused), an aunt who remarried, or a first cousin. Two weeks was considered the proper length of time to mourn a first cousin (not sure on the redundancy here), and one week of mourning was acceptable for a first and second cousin, and husband or stepmother's sister.

It sounds as though the mourning periods were a bit flexible when it came to more distant relatives.

During this period of mourning, black was worn and the one grieving wouldn't attend entertainments. According to several sources, crêpe or silk bombazine were the materials of choice for their matte finish. Jet or black amber jewelry could be worn, also acceptable due to their matte finish. Dying gowns black or trimming clothing with black were common practices for mourning, especially if one couldn't afford to purchase new mourning clothes. Ladies went about in black until a period of half-mourning, or second mourning, was reached. Then grays and lavenders were acceptable.

Gentlemen typically wore black anyway so they weren't held to such strict rules when it came to mourning attire. Black gloves, cravat, shirt, or an armband were the norm.

In my Regency serial, My Lady Coward, Maria must don mourning. (She hates jet.) She would have had to mourn for six months, though her grief went much deeper than simply observing proper etiquette.

In The 11th Commandment, the serial Regency I'm writing for InD'tale Magazine, the story opens just after the death of the Duke of Jarvis. His widow returns to England for the reading of the will and she was so rushed to arrive and get the visit over with that she didn't have time to have mourning clothes made. She settled for the darkest colors in her wardrobe, though, out of respect.

My fictional character, the Duke of Derringer, wears all black all the time. More than one of his acquaintances commented on him going about in constant mourning.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Hinder ~ I Don't Wanna Know

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

In the Editing Cave

Martin Hlauka (Pescan) [Attribution],
 via Wikimedia Commons
I spent the weekend in the editing cave. It wasn't until I crawled out that I remembered just how bright the real world can be.

What was I editing, you wonder? I was working on Intrigue, another of my full-length Regencies. It is connected to the others, #5 according to the list on my website

So now you are probably wondering why I publish my books out of order. It's been a source of annoyance for some of my fans, I know. 

The answer to that is simple, really. I don't write them in order. I never have. I write them as I'm inspired to and that doesn't always happen in a chronological fashion. 

That said, I'm hoping Retribution will be the next one I complete (#10 according to my list), though I also want to get Temptation out there soon (#4 on the list). I have a ton of work ahead of me so I better get back to it. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Chicago ~ Will You Still Love Me

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ Funerals and Wills

Most of you know I've been writing a serial Regency romance for InD'tale Magazine called The 11th Commandment. The story focuses on a woman, Katherine, who committed adultery, was caught, and sent to Scotland to live alone. The first part features her return to London after her husband's death for the reading of his will. (If you didn't know about this serial and want the story, click on over to InD'tale's site and subscribe. You only get messages when the issue is delivered and subscriptions are FREE. You can find past issues in the site's archive, after you've registered and logged in.)

OK, let me get to the point of mentioning this. For this story I had to delve a bit into the death angle of the Regency world, a topic that isn't written about very often. I found some great info in regard to wills on Courtney Milan's site and a bit about funerals at Regency Reader

Later research revealed that things I'd only guessed at, such as Katherine being present at her husband's burial and whether or not she'd have made it back to London in time to see him before he was buried, I've since been able to confirm. (There are times that you just gotta wing it 'cause the deadline's looming.)

Just a few things I've learned and links to where I found the info: 
  • Katherine would not have been at the burial, as women rarely attended the burial. See the post at Regency Reader titled Regency Reader Questions: Funeral Rites.
  • Katherine would not have made it back from Scotland in time to see his body before the burial. They didn't embalm bodies then and I believe my particular characters would have wanted him in the ground fairly quickly to avoid the overpowering smell. The bit on embalming can be found in an article titled Regency Death and Burial at Historical Hussies.
  • For Katherine to become engaged within a year of her husband's death would be a huge scandal, especially since her husband was a duke. OK, I already knew that. That's kind of a "duh" when mourning for a husband was typically 12 months. 
As for the reading of the will, I assume that took place after the burial. I have not been able to confirm this but it makes sense to me that they would want to lay the deceased to rest before reading the will. I could be wrong on this bit and would love it if someone who knows better can either confirm or deny my assumption.

That's it for now. Next week's post will be about mourning attire. Such cheery subjects I've picked! 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ FFXIII-2 ~ Countless Partings

Monday, March 11, 2013

Rachel Rossano's "Duty" Blog Tour

I forgot to mention that I hosted Rachel Rossano on my book reviews blog two additional times after her original post on heroic attributes. Following on the heels of that topic was The Makings of a Strong Heroine and then we did a delightful interview where we learned some very important things about Rachel, such as how she deals with negative reviews and the importance of characters' names in her novels. 

Please stop by and give the articles a read (linked above ), and leave a comment if you are so inclined. It was great fun having Rachel and helping her get the word out about her fabulous new novel. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Alex Clare ~ Too Close


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