Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A trip to Buenos Aires

Traveling, writing, reading... The perfect life. Ah, but the downside. Traveling requires funds which my writing career does not support. But I was fortunate to have recently been in Buenos Aires - the Paris of South America.

The city is full of beautiful buildings, interesting streets, trees and gardens and a very scenic port area. I think I would love to go back and explore more thoroughly.

The city cemetery is very old and the mausoleums so interesting. The most famous of the crypts belongs to Eva "Evita" Peron, buried in the Duarte family tomb. I was singing Don't Cry For Me Argentina the rest of the day.

The news of her death, as quoted from Wiki: "The news was immediately broadcast throughout the country, and Argentina went into mourning. All activity in Argentina ceased; movies stopped playing; restaurants were closed and patrons were shown to the door." Mourning for her was deep and long lasting.

Highly recommend a historical read of her life: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Per%C3%B3n

The Argentinians are very proud that Pope Francis is one of theirs, proudly displaying the church and community where he ministered.

Interesting and cultural areas including Recoleta, Teatro Colon (Columbus Theater,) and the colorful Caminito Street. This doesn't even scratch the surface, but hey, I only had one free day.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Love and Courtship

Here is an interesting and thoughtful look at life for a young woman in England. I couldn't find a publication date, but there is an inscription from 1844. Some of this you may want to read twice because the author has a sly way of saying things.

Some of this is surprisingly real even in today's society. And some of it will cause you to raise your brows or just roll on the floor laughing.

From The Daughters of England, Their Position in Society, Character and Responsibilities by Mrs. Ellis.

Love is a subject which is ever been open to discussion, amongst persons of all classes and of every variety of mind and character, yet, after all, there are few subjects which present greater difficulties, especially to a female writer. How to compress a subject which is filled so many volumes, into the space of one chapter, is also another difficulty but I will begin by dismissing a large portion of what is commonly called by that name, as a wholly unworthy of my attention, I mean that which originates in mere fancy, without reference to the moral excellence of the object; and if my young readers imagine, that out of the remaining part they shall be able to elicit much amusement, I fear they will be disappointed; for I am one of those who think that the most serious act of a woman's whole life is to love.

What, then, I would ask, is love? that it should be the cause of some of the deepest realities in our experience, and of so much of our merriment and folly?
The reason why so many persons act foolishly, and consequently lay themselves open to ridicule, under the influence of love, I believe to originate in the grand popular mistake of dismissing this subject from our serious reading in conversation, and leaving it to the unceremonious treatment of light novels, and low jests; by which unnatural system of philosophy, that which is in reality the essence of woman's being, and the highest and holiest amongst her capabilities, bestowed for the purpose of teaching us of how much our nature is capable for the good of others, has become a thing of sly purpose and frivolous calculation.

The very expression— “falling in love” —has done incalculable amount of mischief, by conveying an idea that it is a thing which cannot be resisted, and which must be given way to, either with or without reason. Persons are said to have fallen in love, precisely as they would be said to have fallen into a fever or ague-fit; and the worst of this mode of expression is, that amongst young people, it has led to a general yielding up of the heart to the first impression, as if it possessed itself no power of resistance.

Having chosen your lover for his suitability, it is of the utmost consequence, that you should guard against that natural propensity of the youthful mind, to invest him with every ideal excellence. Endeavor to be satisfied with him as he is, rather than imagine him what he can never be. It will save you a world of disappointment in after life. Now, indeed, does this extravagant investiture of the fancy belong, as is sometimes supposed, to that meek, and true, and abiding attachment which it is woman’s highest virtue and noblest distinction to feel. I strongly suspect it is vanity, and not affection, which leads a young woman to believe her lover perfect; because it enhances her triumph, to be the choice of such a man. The part of the true-hearted woman, is to be satisfied with her lover, such as he is, and to consider him, with all his faults, as sufficiently exalted, and sufficiently perfect for her. No after-development of character can shake the faith of such a woman, no ridicule or exposure can weaken her tenderness or a single moment; while, on the other hand, she who had blindly believed her lover to be without a fault, must ever be in danger of awaking to the conviction that her love her love exists no longer.

One word before this chapter closes, to those who have arrived at years of womanhood without having known what it was to engage the attentions of a lover; and of such I must observe, that by some unaccountable law of nature, they often appear to be the most admirable of their sex. Indeed, while a sparkling countenance, an easy manner, and – to say the least of it – a willingness to be admired, attract a crowd of lovers; it not infrequently happens, that retiring merit, and un-ostentatious talent, (will) scarcely secure the homage of one. And yet, on looking around upon society, one sees so many of the vain, the illiterate, and the utterly useless, chosen and solicited as wives, that we are almost tempted to consider those who are not thus favored, as in reality the most honorably distinguished amongst their sex.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Sexy Past. Jess Michaels talks erotic historicals.

Comment on this post and win a free digital of Jess's new book, Pleasuring The Lady.

The Sexy Past
Jess Michaels

Thanks so much to Eliza for having me here today! If you don’t know me, I’m Jess Michaels and like Eliza, I write erotic historical romances. Mine are set mostly in the Regency period, but I tend to write heroines who are a little… unusual. I like women who have a bit of experience and I often write heroines who are widows or courtesans.

Since you are here, I bet you already like erotic historicals (yay you!!) but I sometimes get asked by readers who aren’t fans of the genre yet how the early 19th century could possibly be sexy. I think people have the misconception of history being stuffy and the people being so very far removed from what we are today.

But I don’t think that’s true. First off, people are people. We want a lot of the same things today that we’ve always wanted. We want to be healthy, we want to be happy, we want our families to be safe, we want to be loved. This is true of someone from 1613 or 2013. Now how healthy, happy, safe and loved LOOKS might be very different between 1613 and 2013, but the desire is the same.

Secondly, sex has existed from the beginning of time or else there would be no current time. And the way sex feels, the fact that it’s… well, FUN… is a matter of biology that has also existed in humans from the beginning. So did people in the 19th century like sex? Yup, I will guarantee you that a lot of them did. Probably about the same percentage that like it now.

Now would my 19th century heroine make out with her 19th century hero in the middle of the street? Probably not. It wouldn’t be considered appropriate for the time. But would she make out with him in a safe environment (like alone) or someplace where it was expected (like a scandalous club)… yes! So in a historical, the trick is taking those very human desires and finding ways to have the hero and heroine act on them… and not get caught.

Or get caught and see what happens in that story. Because I’ve written that story and scandal can be fun too.

What do you find sexy about historical romances, especially erotic ones? 

Free copy of Pleasuring The Lady details: Leave comment at this post along with your email addy. Comments for the contest close on November 28th! Good LUCK.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Wicked Releases

First off, thanks readers for the wonderful response to Wicked Secrets, Book Four in the Wicked Affairs series. Alizabet is one of my favorite heroines. I write a certain kind of heroine and she is one who appears to be the weaker sex but has a hidden strength. In other words, she is a lady.
Rule's restaurant, London

So the heroine I'm writing now, Viviana Love, is completely different. She was introduced in Book Three, Wicked Lord and will have her own book, with a working title of Wicked Heart, which will be the sixth book in the series. (I'll talk about Book Five shortly.)

If you'll remember, she is an opera singer. She gave birth to Redding's illegitimate son, Teddy who later died. At the end of Book Three, she is leaving Glen Arbor, escorted by the staid and proper Baron Alexander Preston. Needless to say, Viv has a way with men and Alex doesn't stand a chance.

So you know Wicked Affairs is about married couples. Viv and Alex are caught by the oldest trap of all. We call it knocked up. Viv finds herself with child and they find themselves married. Each to a complete stranger.

Viv tries to get past the baron's properness. Alex just wants to know her. But Viv is determined to be her own woman and will not allow Alex to be part of her life, other than meeting their physical demands and she refuses to give up the opera.

Drury Lane Theater, 1794

Alex falls hard. Viv finds him attractive and is slowly won over by his deep-seated kindness. The boring baron is truly a once in a lifetime man.

But Viviana Love isn't who she claims to be and Alex will go to any lengths to keep his most unconventional wife, including accepting the aid of his two least favorite people in London: The Duke of Pelham and the Earl of Redding.

What do you think?

Well, back to Book Five, Wicked Indiscretions. This book is already contracted and written and is with my Ellora's Cave editor awaiting edits. Here's a copy of the cover, completed by the lovely and talented Dar Albert.

This book is probably the most emotional one I've written.

David and Juliana Abernathy are truly in love but grief rips them apart. Five years into their marriage, they live in different countries, each determined to forget the past and forget their pain. But David wants his wife back and he wants his heir. Their only secret is that they are both still deeply in love but they don't know how to get past the hurt and betrayal.

Stay tuned. I'll let you know when there is a release date from Ellora's Cave.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Italy: Romance and History

Romance and history are probably two of my favorite things. Put them together in one place, along with a great plate of fois gras, and you have Italy.

I recently had my second trip to the great country, landing in Rome on a Saturday with my traveling partner, Shika Brown.

Those all night flights can take it out of you but we hit the ground running with a three hour tour - a three hour tour - of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. Aside from the Mona Lisa, I would say the next most important works of art are in Italy. While the Sistine Chapel isn't one work of art, the cumulative affect of the overhead and side panels is overwhelming. I noticed this trip that the crowd inside did not seem as reverent. I would have liked to be in the room alone, laying on the floor and just staring up at the ceiling.

Our tour guide was a history professor, Francesca by name, so I did learn some new and interesting facts about the paintings in the chapel. But she did go on. Hmmmmmm.

Naturally, we made the obligatory touristy stops at the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain. Yes, I threw a coin, ensuring my return to the Eternal City.

The next stop was new to me: Sorrento. From this base, we traveled along the Amalfi Coast, at the recommendation of my favorite muse David Gandy. The road through Positano, Amalfi, Ravello and Minori is hair-raising but the views were spectacular!

Our intention was to take the boat to and around Capri but, upon arrival at our hotel, the boat excursions had been cancelled due to bad weather. The waves around our side of the Sorrento coastline were tumultuous but on the other side, calm as could be. Alas, we did not get to see the lovely Faraglioni rock formations. You know the ones I'm talking about - where David Gandy seduces three different women in the D&G Light Blue commercials...

I got to see Pompeii for the first time. I could have spent three days there winding through the vacant and haunting streets of the destroyed Roman city. Next time, for sure.

The following day, we jumped in the car and headed to Florence. Have you ever driven in Italy? Well, driving and parking can be a nightmare in the central parts of the largest cities. And well, I must confess, I parked way to far from the fun sections of Florence so we walked way too far and spoiled some of our time there. From there we cut across Italy, to get our five minutes at the Leaning Tower of Pisa and then on to Milan.

Shika was a trooper, getting us to our hotel with only the help of a map. No navigation system for us. This was my mistake. I've driven in Italy before and had every confidence I could do it again. GPS would have helped, I must admit, but we made it in fine.

The next morning, we woke early and headed to the church where the Last Supper is painted on the wall. I guess I didn't know that. It's not only a painting, it is also a mural. The painting is held in an air controlled environment and, for now, the restoration work is complete.

I got teary walking into the room. It is a spiritual experience regardless of your background. Only a small crowd is allowed inside, in fifteen minute intervals. Well worth it.

Shopping and eating in Milan are rare treats and we got to do plenty of both. The Via Dante was full of shops, not only Italian design houses but many large and famous international chains. The Via della Spiga is an impressive, closed-in walkway with some of the most exclusive shops in Milan. Alas, our greatest sorrow occurred here. We missed David Gandy by one day!!!

The wildest of our adventures was the Versace show during Milan Fashion Week. I got the tickets via the Blue Steel Appeal auction last spring. Naturally, we needed new shoes and fab dresses. The best part was Shika - she was a paparazzi magnet, striking a pose as if she'd been on the runway her whole life. The show was for the Spring-Summer 2014 collection and lasted all of eleven minutes and thirty seconds. A great, once in a lifetime opportunity!

And I can't say enough about the delicious food we had the whole trip. For nearly every meal, I got out the camera and snapped a shot. So much good food, so little time.

Oh, and I mustn't forget Theater La Scala. In the words of Stendhal, La Scala is "the world's number one theater, because it is the one that gives the maximum musical enjoyment." The interior is magnificent with it's reds and golds, the extensive box seats and massive chandelier. Since the theater opened in 1778 with the opera Europa riconosciuta, La Scala has been the premier opera house in the world.

Let's see... What else? Some writing talk. Gallons of peach tea. Several miles of walking. And all the greatness of Italy.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Great Equinox Blog Hop

Welcome to the Great Equinox Blog Hop! Just in time for the release of Wicked Affairs Book Four - Wicked Secrets.

I'll be in Italy while you're all hopping through this blog but I'll chat with you when I get back.

Here's what you can win from the hop:


(One) Grand Prize: Kindle Fire (U.S.only) plus $100 Amazon Gift Card plus e-copies of all sponsored releases
(Two) First Prizes: $100 Amazon Gift Card plus e-copies of all sponsored releases
(Three) Second Prizes: One e-book from every participating author.

Sign up here!

Here's what you can win from me:

This is your chance to win e-books of all four Wicked Affairs novels: Wicked Desires, Wicked Temptation, Wicked Lord and Wicked Secrets. Just leave a comment below to be eligible for the random drawing - and I would love it if you would follow my blog, though it isn't required!
Regency, England - it's a hard place to find love especially inside the arranged marriages of the ton.

The Earl of Archer, Charles Standifer’s infatuation with his wife has turned into the cold reality of marriage misery. Vows are not so easily broken but when he gives into temptation all the secrets of the past threaten to destroy them and their marriage. He would give anything to have his wife, but she will have none of him.
The reserved and compassionate Alizabet, Lady Archer knows she will never please her husband in ways that matter to men yet she cannot deny the love she has for him in spite of the heartbreaking betrayal.

He has never doubted her affection for him, but that has done nothing to assuage his sexual need. When Charles discovers the revelation of Alizabet’s shocking past, can he be the man and husband she needs? Or will he forever be denied his rights to the alluring yet unattainable woman he calls wife?

Enter now for a chance for four e-books in the Wicked Affairs series!

Purchase links for Eliza Lloyd books:

Friday, September 6, 2013

It's release day! Wicked Secrets... Available Now!

For a writer, there are few days as wonderful as RELEASE DAY! On this day, a novel we've slaved over many months is finally born. Yes, we are psyched to get a contract. We adore getting the cover - the first visual representation of our hero and heroine. We say we dread edits but we don't really. It's just a stepping stone closer to the grand finale.

Our stomach quivers when our editor gives us a release date. Is the book as good as I dream? Is it as bad as I fear? Should I have included more back story? Is my hero too much of a jerk?

Will this be my lightning in a jar? Will it catch fire?

Who's to know... I do know that when I deliver a novel to my editor, most of the time I tell her this is my favorite novel so far.

So why is Wicked Secrets my favorite so far? Well, the start of this novel paints my hero in a very bad light so it was a challenge to redeem him. I hope you'll forgive both of us for our bad choices.

I also loved the very sweet heroine who has overcome so much but still finds a well of forgiveness and happiness that is believable and beautiful.The sex is different in this story too. It is a progression of ugly and uncomfortable giving way to unsteady yet trusting. And finally, fulfillment and understanding for both.

Buy Wicked Secrets here: http://www.ellorascave.com/wicked-secrets.html

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Beau Brummell of the 21st Century: David Gandy

The year 1795 – the first year of the Regency period in England was also the year George ‘Beau’ Brummell held the position of Lieutenant in the Prince of Wales' personal regiment. While in the regiment, he was called “the first gentleman of England.” Theirs was to be a unique friendship that lasted many years until an unfortunate incident - a single question doomed their relationship.

The Regency was a wonderful time and Beau Brummell was instrumental in transforming men’s fashions from the fussy, feminine time of the Georgian era. Wigs, heeled shoes, rouge and lace were set aside for a new look, one attributed to Beau’s sense of the impeccable. He modernized men’s suits and ties. He took great pride in his clothing, his dressing room often full of ton elites, including the Prince himself. These sessions often lasted up to five hours.

He was also noted for his particular rituals, including daily bathing, shaving and teeth cleaning.

But it was attention to dress that drew the most praise and admiration.

“Brummell put into practice the principles of harmony of shape and contrast of colors with such a pleasing result that men of superior rank sought his professional opinion on their dress.”

Brummell is number two on Esquire’s All Time Best Dressed List.

So has anyone else noticed we have a modern day Beau Brummell amongst us?

His name is David Gandy, possibly the world’s best-paid male model, certainly the best looking, most well dressed man in the world. He is routinely identified as one of the best dressed by Vogue and GQ. His fans rally around him, trouncing other famous faces and celebrities when it comes to voting for him in any number of popularity contests.
                                                                  ©John Ryder

The comparisons are easy to make.

While David is best known for his intense blue gaze, his dark, chiseled features and perfectly portioned body, it is his contribution to fashion that, I think, will be his lasting legacy.

David entered the fashion world in a time when male models were “skinny and androgynous,” such were the Dior and other models of the 90’s. Dare I say it, feminine? Sounds like the pre-Brummell Georgian era, doesn't it? David entered that world with more muscle than was popular with design fashion houses. He has continued to flex those muscles in any number of endeavors.

He is a tireless promoter of British fashion and has developed in his own fashion app to help the average man outfit himself with tasteful dress and accessories and without breaking a budget. Such an app nearly allows one to step into Gandy’s bedroom to watch his particular harmony of dress, though I would accept a personal invitation should it be extended.

The suit was Brummell’s trademark, such as it is with Gandy. David wears a suit as if it were a second skin. He espouses tailoring, preferring the bespoke over the mass produced.
©Lucky Brand shoot
And like Brummell, Gandy is versatile, his style sense appealing to mechanics with his Lucky Brand jeans and t-shirts and to businessmen with his Thom Sweeney suits. And just as Brummell wore a gold buckle on his cravat while at Eton, Gandy is all about accessories to add the final touches to complement the perfect outfit.


But as with every road, eventually there is divergence. While Brummell died penniless and insane, Gandy seems to have a much better head on his shoulders. He is certainly popular with women but he has the added drive and focus to keep Gandy, Inc. prospering for years to come.

Finally, David has made fashion relatable – he has cred and steeze. One can believe what David says. For years, fashion has been about artsy pretension. David makes one want to peer inside, to be part of the world reserved for the elite. And he does this to Brummell perfection. Gandy is the "First Gentleman of the 21st Century."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Long and Short Reviews 6th Anniversary Party COMING SOON

Heads up for LASR's 6th Anniversary Party.
Tons of authors, tons of swag.
You don't want to miss this bash.
All this is happening between August 26th and August 30th.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Whole Art of Dress

Here's a great excerpt from an1830's tome I recently purchased about men's fashion. Full of great new stuff.

The Whole Art of Dress
The Road to Elegance and Fashion.

I shall now proceed to note and comment upon a portion of dress, in the selection and method of wearing which taste and neatness is pre-eminently to be distinguished; more particularly in full costume. First I shall treat of Stocks, which, though assuming a variety of forms, and shaped for the sake of perspicuity, I have distinguished only under their three general heads, the Royal George or Full Dress, the Plain Beau, and the Military.
The origin of stock is very ancient, though for the last half century they have been worn almost exclusively by the Army, Navy, and Marines, until first revived into public notice by his late Majesty, in the year 1822, when they immediately became an universal fashion.
 Though at first viewed with a prejudiced and jealous eye by friends of the old school, after some opposition from the petits maitres tribe, they at length found their way into the opera and ballroom, and became a portion of full-dress costume. But this has only occurred since his Majesty was pleased to display one at Drury Lane theatre, composed of velvet and satin, from whence the present full-dress stock takes its name. Habit still, however, in some degree, reflects upon stocks for evening costume, and the adoption, though increasing, is by no means at present popular among the ton. I now proceed to describe three fashions I have classed them under.
 Or Full Dress. This stock, the shape of which is left in a great degree to the wearer's pleasure, is composed of the richest black Genoa velvet and satin, the latter which, sloping down each side of the velvet, terminates in the centre with a very handsome tie, representing a small gordian knot with short broad ends. From the beautiful and lively contrast, of the velvet and satin, this stock is peculiarly becoming to dark complexions, as nothing can afford a stronger relief than the deep sable of its exterior. His Majesty and his royal brothers were always remarkable for wearing them extremely high on the cheek, so that the sides came close under the ears, extending to the utmost verge of the chin. Though this certainly gives a very noble and fine effect to some countenances, the rage for it has passed away and is now deemed singular.
Is nearly straight-sided, very pliant, and composed entirely of black silk, with a common bow in front. Though of an humble aspect beside its more haughty and aristocratical contemporaries, its appearance is unassuming and businesslike. Fashion decidedly Oriental.
Is remarkable for the plain stiff elegance of its form, which is composed of corded silk, edged with kid and lined with crimson; unlike the two former fashions it has no tie. The shape or stiffner should be made of a thick whity-brown leather, which is beaten into shape upon a proper block, it should then be of so unyielding a nature that no force of the neck can bend it. A good shape ought to bear new covering at least a dozen times. The tout ensemble of this fashion expresses plainness and dignity with neatness and hauteur in an infinite degree.
Of stocks in general, it may be observed, that they are both handsome and economical, and are not attended with half the trouble of cravats, to which they become a pleasing change, more especially so in dark or gloomy weather, when light-coloured neckerchiefs have a very forlorn appearance. Of course it need scarcely be said that the military and plain beau should never be assumed for full dress. A large sable-coloured hook and eye, will be found an excellent and easy substitute for a buckle behind, the arrangement of which is frequently tiresome in the extreme.
With regard to Neckcloths, it is first indispensably necessary to premise, that previous to putting into execution the fashions here developed, the utmost attention should be paid to their washing, bleaching, and starching; the latter of which must generally be used in such proportion as to stiffen the cloth to the consistence of fine writing-paper. You may then confidently make your first folds as in the annexed plate; and then, with some slight practice and care, may execute the following ties at pleasure.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Upcoming Release for Wicked Secrets

It's here! Book Four of the Wicked Affairs series, titled Wicked Secrets. Oh, I love this story. Well, the whole series really. But this one has an added layer of emotion and heartache.

Release day is September 6th!

Here's the a little blurb - and remember I did warn you about the affair!

The Earl of Archer, Charles Standifer’s infatuation with his wife has turned into the cold reality of marriage misery. Vows are not so easily broken but when he gives into temptation all the secrets of the past threaten to destroy them and their marriage. He would give anything to have his wife, but she will have none of him.

The reserved and compassionate Alizabet, Lady Archer knows she will never please her husband in ways that matter to men yet she cannot deny the love she has for him in spite of the heartbreaking betrayal.

He has never doubted her affection for him, but that has done nothing to assuage his sexual need. When Charles discovers the revelation of Alizabet’s shocking past, can he be the man and husband she needs? Or will he forever be denied his rights to the alluring yet unattainable woman he calls wife?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Clubs of London, Vol II

I'm reading a tome from 1828 titled The Clubs of London with anecdotes of their members, sketches of character and conversations.

I never tire of the British sense of humor - subtle, dry and observational.

Here's a little ditty certain card players might appreciate:

Sir Francis Burdett one evening was speaking most affectionately of his grandfather; and, among other agreeable recollections of the days of his boyhood, he stated that his progenitor had been also in the habit of playing a game at whist every night.

“And it is curious,” he said, “that one night, just as he had said, ‘Clubs were trumps!’ and won the game, he fell back in his chair and expired!”

Curran, who had not been yet, said a good thing, instantly observed, “Baronet, you surely have made a mistake: he must have said ‘Spades were trumps,’” and pointed significantly towards the ground, as if in the act of digging.
The Reform Club, London

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The All-Seeing Eye - New Release!

After writing this story, I've decided reading other people's thoughts would not be such a great thing. Give me some other super-power please.

Here's a short excerpt from the story, which will be available tomorrow.

Isadora Chapman pretended wide-eyed innocence as she avoided the milling crowds and if someone accidentally made eye contact, she hurriedly looked away. Sometimes she feared people would look her in the eye and know

They would know she knew all of their secrets.

She had learned to control and hide her gift at a very young age, which is why she remained anonymous to the group of scholars who formed the Society for the Advancement of Science. They knew her as I, the ninth member of the secret society dedicated to the non-traditional sciences.

Few would actually call the academics within the group scientists. Most preferred terms such as charlatan, fool, demon and lunatic.

Isadora was none of those things, only a woman who remained alone because she knew things she ought not.

She knew Lord Hadley spied for the French during the Napoleonic Wars and worried still he might be exposed.

She knew Albert Finch had murdered his first wife.

She knew about ton affairs. About sexual peccadilloes. About betrayal. And heartache.

She knew her father worried about their finances. And her mother worried about her father.

She also knew Gregory Beckwith, the Earl of Lattham, was the finest man in London—honorable and with a heart full of fiery compassion. He had a unique gift for mechanical gadgetry which fascinated her, but just as he thought of one astonishing thing, he would move on to another and she never really could grasp the concepts floating around in his head.

Strange she could so easily forgive him for his ability to charm women into his bed and for his inability to see his family wanted him to marry and provide heirs.

Lattham did not know she was alive.
Here's the cover. Another winner from Reese Dante.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Ball Room

Enjoy this entry regarding the ball room and proper etiquette.

Chesterfield says, “dancing is one of those established follies, to which people of sense are sometimes obliged to conform.”

It is usual, at public balls, to appoint a master of the ceremonies, and stewards to regulate them: if you wish to dance with any lady with whom you are unacquainted, you must apply to the master of ceremonies for an introduction; and if there be no manifest difference of station, he will introduce you.

A few words respecting dress and dancing may not be here irrelevant. In addition to what has been said, you will always where white, or light-colored gloves, at a ball.

Do not dance a quadrille or contre dance unless you have some knowledge of the figure. In dancing, let your steps be few, but well and easily performed, and prefer the elegant to the ostentatious; lead your partner gracefully through the figure, lightly taking her hand. When the dance is concluded, conduct her to a seat, and pay her those attentions which will suggest themselves to ever body but the most uncultivated boor – she may require her shawl, a scarf, refreshment – these you may suggest without being improperly assiduous.

Neither in a ball-room, nor in any other public place, be too ready to take offence at imaginary slights, or even at apparent rudeness. Extreme cases may occur which demand notice; but an intentional insult is rarely given; if such should occur, the presence of ladies should make you notice so slight that none but the aggressor should be aware of it; a contrary line of conduct will not add to your reputation for courage or gallantry. A well-bred woman will not thank you for making her a spectacle in a public room, but will assuredly blame your rashness, unless the case be one of unqualified indecorum; even then, (if it be possible,) a man of true courage will disguise his resentment, and seek a proper time for explanation.

Should a lady decline dancing with you, and afterwards dance with another person, you will not be offended, if you will suffer yourself to reflect on the many reasons which may have induced the apparent rudeness. Personal preference, and the various emotions which may agitate the female, heart will furnish abundant cause for her decision, without her considering you either a fool or a boor, both of which characters she would infallibly attach to you, if, by indecorous conduct on the occasion, you thwarted her wishes; whereas, by a judicious blindness you will probably secure her respect. Recollect, the desire of imparting pleasure, especially to the fair sex, is one of the essential qualifications of a gentleman.

If a lady be engaged when you request her to dance, and you have obtained her promise for the succeeding dance, be sure to be in attendance, and avoid the appearance of neglect. No excuse can be sufficient apology for forgetfulness.

From: Pocket Book of Etiquette Gentleman's - 1840

Friday, June 7, 2013

Vacations Aren't For Amateurs

If I weren’t a writer and I didn’t have a mortgage to pay along with an EDJ that requires my attendance, I would be a professional vacationer.

Vacationing requires a certain joie de vivre. An attitude of easy come, easy go. The uptightness and stress of life must be left behind. I’m not saying you can’t go on vacation and load up your schedule with a hundred things to do like mosquito-laden boating, salt-chaffed beach faring or toe-losing mountain climbing. Go for it. Just don’t call it a vacation.
One must be a pro at relaxing, drinking and general ne’er-do-welling to be a professional vacationer. Once you arrive at your vacation destination, you must shed this need to do something. Don’t be pressured by the children. Hand them over to the resort’s activity director.
You, my friend, must find a cabana, a lounger, a poolside bar. Just don’t be pressured into anything that requires more than a jaunt from your hotel room door to the amenities outside. If you can’t get to it barefoot, don’t go. If it requires the application of make-up, don’t go. If both hands are required to carry things, don’t go.
Once you arrive at your spot, stake your claim. Move a few chairs to cordon off your area. Learn the names of the poolside help. Then. Then sit back and take a deep breath of air. Crack open your book and lay it over your chest. Close your eyes.
You are almost there. Feel it? Yep, that’s professional vacationing.
There are exceptions to the rules. If someone says David Gandy is walking along the beach alone, then you may abandon your professional vacation plans and join him for a walk and anything that follows.
The next morning, you may easily return to your professional vacationing routine.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Guy Appeal

Surely someone else feels the same way I do.

It really isn't all about looks, is it?

There is this class of men who really aren't that handsome but everything about them screams "You want me and you know it."  When you see them, you tilt your head. You ask yourself "What is it about him?"

Here's my list and why:

1) Jason Stratham

I'm going to say Jason's accent has a little something to do with his sexy. He is built very nicely too. I really can't help but like a semi-balding 40-something whose nickname in a movie is Handsome Rob. I think the screenwriters understood Jason's appeal. I'd be willing to ride in his trunk.

2) Channing Tatum

I know. I know. There is a group of women who are going to read this post and scream. They think Channing is a hot fudge sundae smothered over a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Yes, he is that yummy but not at all in the form of a classically beautiful man. Channing's appeal to me is his smoothness - from the way he can dance, to the way he can rock a suit and when I see him cuddle in front of the camera with his wife, my ovaries nearly burst.

3) Matthew Broderick

Matthew gets a higher grade then he ought because of Ferris Beuhler but that's a story for another blog. Matthew has boyish appeal and, yes, you do have to look past his too long, middle-aged hair. But admit it, you watched the Honda CR-V commercial more than once. You want him to be the friend you get into trouble with.

4) Vince Vaughn

Even as I write Vince's name, I ask myself why I'm putting him on the list. He's the good friend, the naughty storyteller, the guy who will always be there. Nope. Not in any way attractive but I have to ask, "What is it about that guy?"

5) David Gandy

Haha! I threw him in to see if you were paying attention. I could rhapsodize all day about David but I will say this: If you take away Gandy's looks you still have a super nice guy with a great sense of style. Oh, and the accent. Foreplay with David would include him reciting the phone book. The picture below was the most unattractive I've ever seen David. :)

I'm curious about who else should be on this list and why.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The All-Seeing Eye Cover Art

I feel very fortunate to have had some excellent cover art for the eight novellas and novels I have published. The latest is in and Reese Dante has done it again.

Isadora Chapman is the all-seeing eye. She is also a member of the Society for the Advancement of Science. She is I - the ninth member of the society and the only one who must remain anonymous. Such a gift could be exploited. Such a gift should not belong to an unprotected society miss.

She has sworn to never her use her abilities for her own gain but the thoughts of one man keep her awake at night.

Coming Soon!

Here's a little snippet:

Isadora Chapman had learned to control and hide her gift at a very young age, which is why she remained anonymous to the group of professionals who formed the Society for the Advancement of Science.

Few would actually call the academics within the group scientists. Most preferred terms such as charlatan, fool, demon and lunatic.

Isadora was none of those things, only a woman who remained alone because she knew things she ought not.

She knew that Lord Hadley spied for the French during the Napoleonic Wars and worried still that he might be exposed.

She knew that Albert Finch had murdered his first wife.

She knew about ton affairs. About sexual peccadilloes. About betrayal and heartache.

She knew that her father worried about their finances. And her mother worried about her father.

She also knew that Gregory Beckwith, the Earl of Lattham, was the finest man in London—honorable, a bit rakish and with a heart full of fiery compassion.

But he did not know she was alive.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

David Gandy - Memes Don't Lie

Some of the Gandy memes are hilarious and so, so true. I've collected a few for your entertainment.