Thursday, August 22, 2019

NEW VIDEO! Like vids to learn about new books, new authors? Try this one for my series THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS!

   THIS MARVELOUS VIDEO has been in the works for a long time! Promoting all the novels in my family saga of the Gilded Age, this video is a wonderful composition of concept, covers, stills and video clips.
   Where did they come from?

  • I wrote the script.
  • I purchased the video clips from wonderful PERIOD IMAGES!
  • I bought the stills from a stock art company.
  • And sent them all to my producer!
   I hope you will now want to read all the books in this series! Available on Amazon, KOBO, NOOK and iTunes, this series begins with the first generation of robber baron Killian Hanniford's family.
   Each story is different, each incorporates historical detail pertinent to the romances. The theme—money can buy anything—works in all the plots but in different ways.
   WILD LILY stars Killian's oldest daughter who sails to Europe with him for the fun of it, definitely not for a husband.
   DARING WIDOW features Killian's niece. A widow who wishes never to tie herself to any man, Marianne is a talented artist. When she meets a famous sculptor (think Rodin!), she is tempted to love him and leave him. But can she?
   SWEET SIREN features Killian himself. Older than your average romance hero, he is nonetheless a charming character. Too bad he cannot seem to charm one woman who enchants him anyway!
   SCANDALOUS HEIRESS stars Killian's youngest daughter. Ada finds herself in love with a widower who needs no wife and no complications in his life. When he falls in love with her anyway, he must choose to save her...or himself. Can he find happiness? And can she love a man whom she ruins?
   RAVISHING CAMILLE, to come out this winter, is the last of the first generation to find happiness. She's a wild child, forever in love with one man who tells himself he needs no entanglements to any woman, least of all to the one who has enchanted him for years.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

What to wear for mourning a king? George III dies in Jan. 1820!

When George III died January 29, 1820 in Windsor Castle, the Court sent out official orders two days later for members of the Court (his family, relatives, attendants et al.) and parts of the official government. This was "to begin upon Thursday, the 3rd day of February instant." 

Initially, everyone in the United Kingdom was to wear black. The mourning period, usually a full year after anyone's death, was extended in many finite ways after the death of a monarch.

In these two excerpts from a newspaper published days after his death, we see that clothing was specifically addressed. (Do enlarge the photos here so you can them.)

But I excerpt this for you:

"Ladies were to wear black bombazine, plain muslin or long lawn linens, crape hoods, shammy shoes and gloves and crape fans.

"Undress—Dark Norwich crape.

"The Gentlemen to wear back cloth, without buttons on the sleeves and pockets, plain muslin or long lawn cravats and weeps. shammy shoes, and gloves, crape headbands, and black swords and buckles.

"Undress—Dark grey frocks."

Specific instructions were issued by the Lord Chamberlain for:

Horse Guards: " crape over the ornamental part of the cap, the sword knot, and on the left arm. Officers on duty are to wear black gloves, black crape over the ornamental part of the cap...the sash covered in black crape, black gorget ribbon, and black crape scarf over the right shoulder.

The drums are to be covered with black...

Admiralty Office: " crape on their left arms, hats, and scrod-knots...except at Court, when they are also to wear black waistcoats, breeches, stockings and buckles...

In addition, theaters were closed. Many shops closed too.

For three months, the Court held no public affairs. Balls and many social events were cancelled. The new King George IV, though not yet crowned, did not attend social functions. 

Gradations of mourning in terms of events one might hold or attend were normal. Three months, six months and then one year were the usual periods of mourning. Changes in the color and types of clothing changed with the periods.

Mourning for old King George III was particularly difficult for the Court and for all in the country because six days before one of his sons, the Duke of Kent who was Princess Victoria's father, had died of pneumonia.  He was buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, February 12, 1820. For days later, February 16, 1820 was the day that George III was buried in the same chapel. 

Not until one year and half later is George III's son, the Prince Regent, crowned King George  IV.

In HIS NAUGHTY MAID, my heroine goes to the public celebrations for Coronation of George IV July 21, 1821. That official day-long event, long after mourning was ended for the previous monarch, was a lavish affair with week-long celebrations. It also cost the equivalent of MILLIONS of  British pounds!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

This Countess worries her daughter may be enchanted with (gasp!) the stable boy! Your chuckle for today!

Number 6, Dudley Crescent

July 15, 1821

Dearest Lucinda,
I write to you today to share my outrage at occurrences in Dudley Crescent. I simply cannot abide the recent changes and must have your advice.

Two years ago, a murder occurred at Number 10. The horrid matter was quickly resolved when the culprit was identified and put away from fine society.  But the greater scandal was that the widowed lady of the house had intimate relations with her butler! Then last year, a noted member of society hired a young woman as ward to his child…and later, did marry the woman! She was far below his station, though, I do understand, an heiress of considerable worth. I must tell you the man is one of our finest gentlemen with a spotless reputation and high military honors.
Yet, I worry. Another event occurring last week causes me to question my presence here!

I understand that another noble gentleman has paid attentions to one of his servants! This time, said woman is not a governess. No, indeed, she is his maid-of-all-work! Can you imagine? I’ve been inconsolable, riddled with a nervous stomach and headaches. My usual little dose of laudanum is simply not enough to calm me.

This causes me to ask you if you think I should move to a better part of town. Is there a curse on the Crescent? Must I expect more servants who will climb above their station to enthrall their masters or mistresses? Worse, will such an affliction affect my own house? I must tell you, quite confidentially, that my only daughter, Lady Mary, seems far too taken with one of our own servants. The new…dear me, I can barely write this…stable boy. Yes! He is most definitely nota boy. Not by any means. He is thirty years of age or more. Tall, taller than my dear departed husband. In strapping good health and devilishly handsome with hair the color of coal and eyes like lavender. He is quite ethereal. 
I do rattle on!
Advise me, please!
Most sincerely,
Countess of Trelawny
Cerise's Amazon series!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

HIS TEMPTING GOVERNESS! A nibble of my new cherry? YESSS! And it hit 3 bestseller lists and took BUTLER and MAID up with it! Tickled!

Thanks to all my readers who love a Regency, a good laugh, a series, and a whisper of mystery!

All of you have taken DELIGHTFUL DOINGS IN DUDLEY CRESCENT books 1, 2 and 3 and made me a very happy author!

So, on that, how about an excerpt from HIS TEMPTING GOVERNESS?
Dancing at midnight? It's what we do!

HIS TEMPTING GOVERNESS Dancing at Midnight excerpt, Copyright 2019, Cerise DeLand.

Win, the Earl of Cartwell, cannot sleep and as he emerges from his bedroom suite he sees a stirring sight! 

The mantel clock in his bedroom struck midnight as Win gave up the quest to fall asleep. He threw back his covers and reached for his banyan flung over his wing chair.
Tying his sash, he sighed ruefully and slid on his slippers. Ever since his interview of Miss Swanson this afternoon, he’d thought of nothing but the woman. She shouldn’t occupy his mind…but his satisfaction to have found her challenged his curiosity that she needed employment.
Clearly, she’d been well educated. Once, she’d been well dressed. Both indicated a background of some status. Yet she had none now and needed money. Moreover, she had the courage to ask for more than the going wage. Which begged the question: Why?
She certainly owed him no explanation. Yet his preoccupation with her led him to hope that in time, she’d tell him.
He paused at the connecting door from his suite to the library. Tonight he did not wish brandy. Hot chocolate was what he really craved.
So instead, he turned toward his sitting room and the door to the hall.
He’d taken two paces and halted at the vision swaying in the silver moonlight. In a dark robe, her feet bare upon the hall runner, Miss Isabelle Swanson executed steps from a formal country dance. Her eyes closed, her ebony hair swishing about her shoulders, her arms out, her elegant fingers brushing the air, she made her steps in silence. And to accompany her movements, she hummed.
He stepped backward, never wishing to frighten her. Nor did he wish to stop her.
How often did anyone express their happiness by dancing in the dark? Alone?
Never had he known anyone to do it. But her delight in it ignited a flaming desire in his soul to join her. 
“Oh! Oh!” She froze in mid-move. “Sir!”
“I’m so sorry, Miss Swanson.” He had one hand up. “I did not want to frighten you. Nor stop you, either.”
“Oh, sir.” She swallowed hard and crossed her arms over her bosom. She was attired in a black velvet robe, her bare toes peeking from the gold-trimmed hem. “I apologize. You must think me mad.”
“No, indeed.”
“I—I was happy. Hadn’t been happy in a— And I couldn’t sleep.”
“Happiness is a reason to dance. Here. Anywhere. At any time of night. Or day, for that matter.” He stepped toward her, overjoyed with her. “Spontaneity is a condition to be nurtured. I value it and hope you will encourage it in Daphne.”
She tipped up her lovely heart-shaped face in question. “That, sir, is most unusual.”
Laughter stole across her features. “But do you believe Daphne needs encouragement to be more spontaneous than she already is?”
“Ah, well.” He chuckled. “Good point. But yes, we all need it.”
“Even you, sir?” Immediately with a hand to her chest, she looked startled, as if she repented the question. “Oh, I didn’t mean to insult you.”
“You haven’t.” He moved closer. She was an angel in the rays of the moon, her skin so pure, her eyes so luminous, her embarrassment so endearing. “Even I, Miss Swanson, need to be more spontaneous. Children—I do remember from my own years—can be impulsive. Education often drains it. Like many, I took what was given, made the most of it. Forgot to take inspiration and run with it. In the army, one works with the possible and banks on the probable. I acquired fine horses for battles, good equipment from winnings at gambling. If I learned on my own to like French poetry, if I enjoyed Italian cantatas, I gained those pleasures from allowing myself the rapture that came from instant, illogical desires to learn of them.”
“How noble of you, sir,” she breathed.
And as her gaze absorbed each feature of his visage with careful consideration, he felt the hot flush of her admiration.
He reveled in it. Moreover, he knew not what to say that might show him as humble at her praise. But he did not wish to dismiss her approval of him. He welcomed it.
Lured by her, he nonetheless stepped backward. “I am awake and walking the house in search of hot chocolate, Miss Swanson. May I ask you to join me?”
She stared at him a long moment which told him she did consider it. “Thank you. No, sir.”
“Very well. Another night then.” He let his hope shine in his eyes that soon she might agree. “I’m going to the kitchen. And you should continue your dance.”
He took the stairs down, feeling the welcome regard of emerald eyes upon his back.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Servants run the house...and fall in love with their employers? GASP!

I’ve often delighted in touring English houses. In every nook and cranny, I’ve found little joys that I’ve tried to add in my novels.
Regency Town House
Brighton, England
In my fictitious Dudley Crescent that I invented for this series, Delightful Doings in Dudley Crescent, I take bits and pieces from a few houses I’ve visited in England. Most often, I reference floor plans for a house in Brighton that I recommend everyone visit. This house, officially dubbed Regency Town House, is currently being restored by volunteers who are specialists in home construction and Regency period lifestyles. They have formed a non-profit organization and promote their work in Brighton, offering tours, dinners and other entertainments to educate everyone. 
When I last visited, this group was involved in discovering the original paint colors on the walls, ceilings and fittings. Here I show you the intricate design on drawing room shutters. Each house in Brunswick Square originally sold in the 1820s for approximately three thousand pounds. This did not include cost of such items as chandeliers, elaborate moldings, draperies or furnishings. A buyer could expect to purchase his or her own embellishments, according to his means, to make the house a home.
Butler's Wine Cellar,
Brighton England
When completed, a townhouse would be home not only to the owners’ family but also a team of servants. In this Brighton home, for example, servants could enter the house from the front street with steps down to the basement. There the housekeeper had her spacious room, the butler his wine cellar, the servants their dining room, an exit to the center kitchen garden and the servants’ privy! From the center hall in the basement, servants waited upon their masters upstairs accessing their own staircase. This rough-hewn wooden set of steps was narrow and lit only by one window. Near this staircase is the kitchen, a wide expanse with cupboards, a glass ceiling and a huge fireplace. Maids slept in an alcove in the kitchen and footman slept on the cold stone floor. From the kitchen, one could exit to the mews.
Shutter decor
Regency Town House,
Brighton, England
While my Dudley Crescent townhouses most nearly resemble the Brunswick Square Brighton townhouses, they haves similarities to the Royal Crescent in Bath and to those in Earl’s Court in London. A few similarities also exist with architect Sir John Soanes’ house in London. Do visit this house when you are there next. Wonders abound, especially his device for hanging and displaying his precious collection of paintings. 
Door Decor
Syon House,
London, England
Townhouses showed the owners’ wealth and status. These homes often rivaled the nobles’ main country homes and their London residences in quality and appointments. Owners brought in sculptures, paintings and furnishings and even built little libraries. Whether in London or in smaller cities and towns, the different layouts and styles offer a treasure trove for a happy tourist!
Noting how Belle, my heroine in HIS TEMPTING GOVERNESS, hid her documents in secret drawers, I will tell you that the cabinetmaker acclaimed for this was George Hepplewhite. An Englishman, he crafted desks and other types of cabinetry with hidden compartments. His work, often imitated by other lesser known craftsmen, was popular. Belle’s family could have owned quite a few pieces that resembled his style.
Kentish Chronicle, August 4, 1820
I will say as an aside that the auction of Belle’s house was a usual phenomenon. Numerous advertisements appeared daily in newspapers, detailing the auction of houses and contents. Some were estates owned by titled men and women, others had been those of tradesmen or those who had gone bankrupt. Contents up to bid could include everything in the house! Auctions were a means for many families to survive financial ruin.
Be sure to pre-order HIS TEMPTING GOVERNESS now for half price! After release, it will be $3.99!  BUY HERE!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

How well were servants paid? How did they live? And why can't they fall in love with their employers?

Pre-order now for 1/2 Price!

 The Regency period imparted very strict social rules on the different classes. Mixing was not done. Social ostracism for those who reached down...or those who reached too far up, was the result. But in many cases, the relationships survived. In the case, for example of one of Victoria's uncles who married a Catholic lady. beneath his station, he survived. And with Victoria's help, the lady was finally received at court. Such reception also helped Prince Albert be received as the superior he was.

The greater problems for servants were a general lack of education and lack of training in the finite terms of etiquette and polite discourse. As Winston Churchill once said, and I paraphrase, the art of conversation is what he cultivated when he had tea with his mother. (She, by the way, was American heiress Jenny, Lady Randolph Churchill.)

Servants led very regimented lives, dictated by the hard work they did. Maids slept in cubby holes in the kitchen or upstairs in the cold rafters. Footmen could find themselves having to bed down on the hard cold kitchen tiles. Baths were sponge baths. The privy was in the central yard and often, none to private!

Book #1 Out now!

Wages were particularly poor. Why? Because general guidelines published for heads of households declared that wages and number of servants should be deterimined by general income. That does not seem out of line with our current thinking about cost control. But when you learn that they recommended a certain number of servants for a special income, you see that the rule of thumb was to hire many servants and pay as little as possible. See my list here!
I hope you will enjoy all 3 of my DELIGHTFUL DOINGS IN DUDLEY CRESCENT and learn how a few servants managed to fall in love with aristocrats...and their love survived the social rules!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

FAB Historical Romance Giveaway: 32 Free novels! Act now!

Go today to take advantage of this great giveaway from 32 Historical Romance authors!
Go here now to get them all!

Monday, February 4, 2019

WHAT A COVER! SCANDALOUS HEIRESS looks like a painting!

I am sighing over this cover!!!!





And iTunes soon as I am having troubles with mounting it there! SIGH!

Here for your pleasure is the full print cover toooooo!
THIS is the print cover!!!! I adore it...and him.
Hope you read this and please write a review for me!

ALL Available now and Book 4 on February 4!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

SCANDALOUS HEIRESS debuts Monday, Feb 4! What do American Heiresses do on their summer vacations?

What do American heiresses do on their summer vacations?

In my series THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS, they all fall in love!

In Book 4, Scandalous Heiress, Ada Hanniford accompanies her friend Esmerelda Moore to a summer house party and meets a man who never intends to marry anyone ever. Victor Cole had a hideous marriage and he means to save himself the trouble of another disaster. Until he meets Ada, and he cannot help himself from falling in love with her.

She was his ruin.  
He was her salvation.
Ada Hanniford is a spirited American heiress whom Englishmen seek to marry for her millions.
Victor Cole is a rich tai-pan with a scandalous past. Claiming Ada for himself, he rescuesd her from scandal. And destroys his own bright prospects.
Can they be happy if few can forget their pasts?

If you love swoon-worthy historical romance, starring endearing heroes, sassy heroines and a family of irresistible charmers, this book is for you!  Buy SCANDALOUS HEIRESS to begin your journey!

SCANDALOUS HEIRESS is the fourth book in THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS series but can also be read as a standalone novel.
Book 1: Wild Lily (Lily and Julian)
Book 2: Daring Widow (Marianne and Remy)
Book 3: Sweet Siren (Liv and Killian)
Book 4: Scandalous Heiress (Ada and Victor)
Book 5: Title, TBD. (Camille and her mystery lover!)





And iTunes soon as I am having troubles with mounting it there! SIGH!

Cerise’s Brief bio: Cerise DeLand loves taking readers to distant times with men who cannot undo those dastardly corset laces…and ladies who love them for fumbling!

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Cerise DeLand's Amazon Author Page:
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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Opium? A gift for your fiancee if you are a British merchant in Shanghai? No! Fu Dogs and...

From approximately 1820s until Mao Tse-tung and his communist friends took over in China in 1949, opium was a major influence on Chinese politics. British merchants—and Americans along with other foreigners—traded in the poppy and its products. Why? It was an unequal trade and financed what might have been a losing trade out of China. Complicated but true.

So in my next novel, SCANDALOUS HEIRESS, my hero is a British merchant who lives in the British canton of Shanghai. He does not deal in opium, and in fact, refuses to, understanding the disastrous effects on any human who uses it.

But he is about to get married. (Like you do in a good romance.) And he wants to give his fiancee gifts that are useful, decorative and evocative.

What does he give her?

A kimono from Japan. (Why Japan and not China? Because in the 1880s, kimonos are the rage from the newly opened and modernizing island country. He has many stocked in his factories in the East London docks.)

Fu dogs.  Why? Fu dogs are Guardians of home and hearth. You will also see them at entrances to palaces and temples. They bring good luck, peace, serenity and protection.

Chinese silk wallpaper. The Chinese were expert makers of beautiful yards of highly colored wallpaper. This picture is my own and I took it in Ham House south of London. The silk is faded and the curators of the house have darkened the room to protect the fragile fabric. Yet you can see that what once was red is now a different color.

He also gives her cultured pearls from China. These were developed since the Sung dynasty in China and are still popular today.

SCANDALOUS HEIRESS, Book 4 in popular THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS series, debuts February 4! But it is on pre-order now for 99 cents. Regular prince will be $3.99!

My AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE for all in this series!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Soap was the answer to many problems! Posters!

Cleanliness continued to be a challenge in the 19th century. Keeping the River Thames clean was the first issue many wished to address, including Prince Albert. Cholera was the result of filthy water.

But keeping bodies clean was a major challenge. Running water was not considered a public need and many poor still went to public fountains and troughs to drink and wash. Perfumes and colonies might cover the odors but soap was the solution.

Soap became a desired commodity! Commercially produced, too.
Here are a few advertisements from that era!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Medicines of yore that killed!

I've been doing research in old newspapers and many offer insights into products for sale and their ingredients. One of them that fascinates me is the category of medicines. Home remedies they were called. And many of them were dangerous.
Cough syrups for children contained cocaine. Pills for women who were "hysterical" often contained laudanum. Children and adults died of continued use and overdose.
Here are a few of the ads.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Travels with Cerise, TV, research trips and scullery maids!

Have you watched the BBC/Netflix series Bodyguard? If so, you've seen the Home Secretary pull up to the home of the Prime Minister.

Later they ID it as Chequers, the home once of Winston Churchill, now the PM's.

Well! This one in the show is not the real Chequers! No!

It's Ham House, a marvelous 17th century darkly gorgeous brick home in suburb of London along the Thames! Built for the Dysarts, this home is a wonderful example of Stuart, early Georgian architecture and a wonderful place to visit.

The interior is rich with black walnut walls and tiled floors of many colors. Done in parquet designs too. Many of the furnishings are of the period, too, including a Queen's Bedchamber done in rich reds and gold.

One aspect of touring the house and kitchen gardens was for me the informative plaques describing servants' duties. Here for you is Mary Hobley's. Mary was a scullery maid. Do read about her work, her pay and her superiors.

Monday, October 22, 2018

TRAVELS WITH CERISE a new element in my novels for you!
Inside THE VISCOUNT'S ONLY LOVE is a treat for the historical romance lover in you.
I've decided that another wonderful way to share my research with you is to include in my novels addenda about my trips abroad! Yes, I've done a few Live Chats on FB called Travels with Cerise (and do go watch them please), but I wanted to give you something more permanent to relish. 
You know that in each novel, I take great care to give you accurate history from all my research in books, monographs and travel abroad. Many times those little details that I like to put into my novels can naturally go unnoticed or undocumented. 
Now to thrill you more, I've taken advantage of the new technological ability to include my photos inside my works. So you see my great pictures like this one of Azay-le-Rideau and you can read what and why I've included those pictures in my text! 
I'm very excited about this. That means that I will first go back into all 3 of THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS, then CHRISTMAS BELLES to show you my pix and explain how those items or places are reflected in my novels. When I put those in, I will notify you here and you can go to your provider into your account and download the newest version! So tickled to share these with you!
In box set, NINE LORDS
Do write to me and let you me know what you think and what you've loved!


Thursday, September 20, 2018

A Christmas House Party with 3 spinsters, 3 war heroes, card-sharps, smugglers, Aunt Gertrude and a Shakespeare-quoting butler! October 29

                               99 cents on Amazon or Free on KU
Christmas begins October 29 when I debut 3 novellas in same series on same day! The first, THE EARL'S WAGERED BRIDE, is on pre-order now!
Second, THE VISCOUNT'S ONLY LOVE comes on same day soon to be on pre-order.  The third book, THE DUKE'S IMPETUOUS DARLING is in a boxset with 4 other authors, all Regency romances, out on October 29!
Countess of Marsden invites you to her house party! Seven nights and days of frolic, gossip, dancing…and match-making for her three nieces. 
Sad, isn’t it, that none of the Craymore sisters wishes to wed?
Exciting, isn’t it, that three war heroes arrive who know precisely what they want for Christmas? 
Wonderful, isn’t it, that each might gain the most precious Christmas gift of all?

A lady bets her future.
Miss Marjorie Craymore wants to surprise her two sisters with a wonderful gift this Christmas. A house. A home! One they can call their own. After their father gambled away their dowries and drank away the family reputation, the three young women have lived with their Aunt Gertrude. While that lady’s generosity is most kind, her charity chafes their pride. This Christmas at their aunt’s house party, Marjorie plans to employ the one talent she learned well from her notorious papa. She’ll gamble at cards and dice against every wealthy guest—and win. But she encounters one big problem. The man she’s craved all her life appears on Aunt’s threshold and challenges her. Tested by combat, he’s bolder. Dashing. A distraction. And suddenly too charming to resist.

A gentleman weighs the odds.
Griffith Harlinger, the war-weary fourth earl of Marsden, returns home from his duties in Paris with the Duke of Wellington to celebrate the joys of the Season. At urgent request of his step-mama, he must stop her niece Marjorie from creating a scandal by fleecing her house guests! Griff’s thrilled to engage the one woman who’s tormented him and beguiled him all his life. So he makes Marjorie a bet she can’t refuse: he’ll play her for enough money to buy the house she wants.
But can he let her win if he loves her too much to let her go?
And who really wins when both want what’s best for those they love?

Cerise's Website for more info on series!
If you love swoon-worthy historical romance, starring endearing heroes, sassy heroines and a house full of rogues and cardsharps, this book is for you! Buy THE EARL’s WAGERED BRIDE to attend this Christmas house party!